A-Level English: Unseen Poetry Comparison

One of the things I’ve found most difficult when moving from GCSE to A-level within the subject of English Literature is how to advance essays accordingly – particularly unseen poetry essays. There’s no opportunity to prepare which means that you need to practise beforehand. Assessing whether or not you feel able to do this can really help you to decide if English Literature A-level is a good option. Therefore,  I’ve included a sample essay below focusing on “The Furthest Distances I’ve Travelled” by Leontia Flynn (from the Forward Anthology) and “The Cheapjack” by Jacob Polley (a sample unseen poem from his anthology Jackself). The question follows the standard structure of an Edexcel poetry paper; it includes a poem from the anthology and another which is unseen. The question itself is general enough that many perspectives can be given.

Compare the methods the poets use to present outsiders and those on the periphery of life.

Both “The Furthest Distances I’ve Travelled” by Leontia Flynn and “The Cheapjack” by Jacob Polley convey the sense of desperation and the desire to connect felt by those on the periphery of life.  Additionally, they suggest the missed opportunities and limitations they have experienced due to being an outsider. However, while “The Furthest Distances I’ve Travelled” has a slightly more optimistic tone – perhaps suggesting that the small impact that the narrator has been able to make on the lives of others is still worthwhile – “The Cheapjack” finishes with no sense of resolution (which may suggest the narrator’s inability to act, despite their frustrations), which could convey the differing attitudes towards being an outsider.

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Reflecting on My GCSE Re-Mark Experience: What You Need to Know

My GCSE Results Day was, on the whole, happy. I felt very proud of myself but something kept playing on my mind – I hadn’t achieved the grade I expected in English Literature. For me, this was a big deal. Eventually, my grade went up – but it caused a lot of unnecessary stress.

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YouTubers for GCSE Students

YouTube is a vastly underrated resource for students. Students and teachers post videos covering the specification, going through mark schemes in detail and sharing their exam technique tips and tricks. It gets better – YouTube is free and it’s easy to comment and ask questions or share your ideas. Here I’ve collected some of my personal favourite YouTubers for academics.

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How I Study as a Chronically Ill Student

Studying is tough. Studying while dealing with chronic illness is even tougher. Here, I’m sharing some tips which have helped me deal with some of my symptoms:

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I Can’t Let POTS Beat Me

Being diagnosed with Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome just over a year ago was a shock. I entered assuming I was being silly; I left with a diagnosis, a help-sheet, and so many questions. I remember frantically searching the internet for the life expectancy of someone with POTS (spoiler alert: it’s the same as, or even higher than, the typical average – depending on which articles you use). Hours were spent trawling through scientific journals and charity resources – as well as some “fake news” – to discover what caused POTS and how I could fix myself. Unfortunately, it seems I can’t.

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Twelfth Night: An Irreverently Defiant Celebration

‘Twelfth Night’ serves as Emma Rice’s farewell to the Globe; it is clear that she was never going to leave quietly. Her ‘Season of Love’ began with Daniel Kramer’s controversial ‘Romeo and Juliet’ involving a gender-flipped Mercutio, an inflatable dinosaur costume and the titular characters meeting during a rendition of the YMCA. This all-singing, all-dancing production features similar irreverence with a lively spirit.

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RuPaul’s Drag Race – Shantay, You Stay

“RuPaul’s Drag Race” finished its ninth season last week in a hurricane of reveals: rose petals were unleashed, wigs were tossed, and masks were cracked open. Sasha Velour, a politically engaged oddball from Brooklyn, slaughtered the competition to be crowned America’s Next Drag Superstar. As she urged the audience to change the world, I was reminded of all that I love about the show.

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