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How to study for L&L paper 1?

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Hello

I'm really stuck on studying for L&L paper 1 right now. I just don't know what I could possibly do to get a good mark on it. I don't know how to study for it and our teacher is terrible to put it frankly. How is everyone preparing for the English Language and Literature paper 1 exam? What resources would be helpful? 

Thank you in advance. Any input is appreciated considering I have my exams in a week. 

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Hope this helps, I've found it pretty effective as just some general things to look for in the two texts when you're given them. 

  1. Audience / purpose - Who does the text target? What does the author wish to achieve through the text?

  2. Content / theme - What is literally ‘happening’ in the text? What is it about? What are the main ideas of the text?

  3. Tone / mood - How does the text make you and/or the target audience feel? Describe the atmosphere of the text.

  4. Stylistic devices - How does the author use language to convey a sentiment or message? What kinds of linguistic tools does he/she employ?

  5. Structure - How is the text organized, literally (i.e. layout/formatting)? What kinds of structural elements of a particular text type do you see?

Edited by James Bond
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I think the most important thing is to be able to understand how the stylistic features help in the purpose and how audience and context are shown. The only way I have found to practice this is to do past papers. 

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I'm a teacher of this subject and would agree with all of the above.

 

OP, if you look at the list given by James Bond above, which aspect would you say troubles you most?

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I also +1 on what has been mentioned above.

Though, some struggles I think a lot of other people undergo, including myself, are along the lines of a lack of depth in the use and effect of Literary Elements from a given text.
Any thoughts on how one could be more prepared to analyse these elements and their place and effect on the whole text? Would help a lot for P1 and P2 

There are so many devices I'm just hoping we don't need to memorise all of them..

Edited by BMW
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Do you mean a lack of depth in the teaching?

Or that rather you perceive a lack of depth in the text itself (i.e. you don't think there is much to say when you see the text in an exam situation!)?

You need to imagine that the examiners have put these texts in the exam because they are full of devices/implications/things to say about them - all you have to do is find them. Think of it as being like a treasure hunt :D

This will to a certain extent involve memorising as many devices as you can. But as you correctly identify, it's not enough to just technique-spot: you need to consider why the creator of the text may have used that device in that particular situation. That's why before you even begin it's important to ascertain the main message/point of the text. Then it will be much easier to work out how the techniques support this.

I'm afraid analysis is one of those things that you need to do little and often - not just in class, but also in terms of any text you encounter (e.g. advertisement in the metro...newspaper article...label on a water bottle...). So you need to not only read widely but also walk around with your eyes open and run some elements of such a commentary in your head whenever you see something interesting, just whenever you are out and about.

I have lots of practice materials here, so if you like we can run through a text today by way of a P1 practice. 

In terms of how this applies to P2, you again need to treat the text as a treasure hunt while you reread it: it wouldn't be on the syllabus if the examiners thought it had insufficient depth to it in terms of technique. Ask yourself on every page what technique a writer might have used, and why. Remember that the quotations you consider important may not be all that important to other people (your own personal interpretation is important), and that examiners don't have a checklist by them in the hope that you'll mention a particular quotation at a certain moment in your essay (equally, they're not going to take marks off if you don't mention a certain quote!). Anecdote: I didn't actually do the IB, but A Levels, way back in 2004, including A Level Literature. One of our closed-book texts was The Handmaid's Tale, upon which we had to write an essay about freedom in the exam. When we came out of the exam, everyone was talking about the quotes they'd used, including what you might consider the obvious quote for such an essay: "freedom to and freedom from". I hadn't used it, and panicked. I still got full marks, however!

I hope this helps a bit. I know what a nerve-wracking time this is.

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33 minutes ago, Angelil said:

You need to imagine that the examiners have put these texts in the exam because they are full of devices/implications/things to say about them - all you have to do is find them. Think of it as being like a treasure hunt :D

This will to a certain extent involve memorising as many devices as you can. But as you correctly identify, it's not enough to just technique-spot: you need to consider why the creator of the text may have used that device in that particular situation. That's why before you even begin it's important to ascertain the main message/point of the text. Then it will be much easier to work out how the techniques support this.

 

Thank you for your prompt response! This is truly very helpful. 

Sorry, I meant to say a struggle with the lack of understanding of literary elements that are used (their respective causes and effects). 


I suppose that there will be a good part of memorising of the devices indeed, but surely there are more common literary devices that should probably receive a little more focus (such as irony, exaggeration, analogies, metaphors, et cetera). I'd say what's quoted above is so on point, it directly addresses this 'struggle' perfectly. But to clarify, by technique you also mean (literary) device right? Like those of ironies, personifications, metaphors...?



 

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I think part of the problem here stems from the notion that the use of a technique leads automatically to a particular effect. If only it were that simple! You need to focus on the imagery evoked in each example used.

If we take for example two very different similes:

"her face flushed as pink as a rose"

"her face flooded red, like blood"

The comparison with a rose is going to evoke a far more delicate, perhaps ephemeral effect than the comparison with blood, which calls to mind far more a situation where life or death hangs in the balance. It is more vital. Furthermore, flood gives the impression of a vast amount of emotion (whether anger, embarrassment...) arriving all at once, whereas 'flushed' could connote something more gradual. You also have the rhyme of 'flood' and 'blood' in the latter example, which is nice :) It's quite a heavy sound, which again emphasises the greater stakes/importance involved. It's serious.

So even though they are both similes, both have quite different effects.

By 'technique' I do also mean literary devices, yes.

A lack of understanding of this aspect of analysing text, to my mind, can come from several sources, of which some are easier to remedy than others:

 

1) Poor teaching

2) Inaptitude/lack of natural intuition for the subject

3) Unwillingness to apply oneself to the task

4) Lack of exposure to a sufficient range of texts to increase one's skills, experience, and intuition in this area

 

In most students' cases it is probably down to 1) and/or 4), and these are arguably the easiest two to remedy. 3) can be remedied more easily but relies on the student's mindset altering of their own free will. A possible fifth reason could come down to insufficient time to acquire the skills concerned, which is more complex to fix as it depends on where the student started from in the first place - some will need a great deal of time to acquire these skills (possibly due to 2) ) while for others it is simply a matter of brushing up on them. It's a broad spectrum :P

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