If you are a student about to take your GCSE’s or a parent who has son/daughter currently revising for their GCSEs, as an English teacher I have read all the revision guides that are out there for the literature GCSE examinations. Unfortunately, there is a wide range of quality amongst revision guides. I would like to recommend to you the best revision guides for each literature GCSE module. I personally used all of the revision guides below to gain an A (would now be a grade 8) in my literature GCSE (AQA). Of course all of the revision guides have been revised and updated since I took my exams but having read the recent updates, they are still of an outstanding quality.
The best revision guides for ANY Shakespeare play are the York Notes revision guides. The York notes guides are better than any other guide for the following reasons: they give you the most important quotes, they explain context, they explain in depth each act of the play, they add in drama production notes (which examiners like to see you mention), they compare the play to other Shakespeare plays (again another thing examiners love to see you mention).
Whether you are doing power and conflict poetry, unseen poetry or love and relationships poetry the best poetic guides are the CGP guides for each anthology. These guides have a detailed analysis of each of the poems in the anthology, allowing you to re-cap the deeper meanings and nuances of each poem before you go into the exam.
I see a lot of students buy the CGP revision guides for their novel studies. Yes CGP guides for poetic analysis are good. However, a novel study needs way more depth and as a result, the CGP guides fall short with offering the bare minimum of analysis. The York notes guides, are far more rich with interpretations and meaning, the kind of analysis that an examiner would be looking for in order to aware Grades 5-9.
Another great detail is that York Notes company also offers practice test books that enable a student to practice questions that are likely to come up on the test. It also offers work books that students can complete in order to revise in a structured way.
If there are any revision guides that I haven’t covered and you would like a professional opinion on, feel free to comment below and I would be happy to advise you.
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