English Literature is a complex subject, and many students end up having to study it at some point. With so many things to keep track of, it can feel overwhelming to even decide where to start. Whether you’re studying for a test, an AP exam, or a college course, you can take some steps to help you achieve your goals.
Start early
Don’t wait to study until the night before a big exam! Particularly with a subject such as English literature, where you will probably be asked analytical questions as well as content questions, you must have time to familiarize yourself with some of the complexities of your material. Being able to summarize the plot or name some characters is unlikely to be all you’ll need to do.
Examine what you already know
Write out all the details you can remember from your first reading of the text, as well as anything you remember from your course lectures. Don’t “cheat” by looking at your notes or your text — just write down what you are confident you remember. This will be your starting base and will reveal any gaps in your knowledge.
Consider whether there are literary terms you’re unfamiliar with
Many tests and exams in English literature want you to be familiar with some key terms, such as stanza, irony, alliteration, speaker, and figurative language. While you’re not likely to be expected to have comprehensive knowledge of literary terminology, understanding some of these key concepts will be important to your success. There are many guides available that can help you find definitions for important literary concepts
Look at sample questions, if you can
If you were given a study guide or sample questions, see how much of this material you are already familiar with. This will help you zone in on what needs more work and make a study plan.
Re-read your text
You should have already read the text for class, but if you’re studying for an exam, make sure you go back and re-read it to catch things you missed out on the first time.
Look for figurative language
Many authors use techniques such as metaphors, similes, and personification to emphasize their points. These may be crucial to understanding the literary work you’re reading. —Source: WikiHow