1. Read your books at least twice each.
In year 12, I was told that I should be reading each of my books 3-5 times, however, I didn’t find this necessary. Instead of reading through my books again and again, instead, I spent this time really analysing the books by looking at the themes, important scenes/chapters and quotes. I found this was a much more efficient way of studying for English instead of reading the books several times without fully analysing the book itself.
2. Write a large variety of practice essays.
Whilst most teachers will tell you to write as many essays as you can, I found that it was more about the quality than quantity. Simply writing an essay quickly for the sake of writing as many essays as possible isn’t the best way to get the most out of practice essays. Instead, each time you write an essay, ensure you maintain the quality of the essay through deeply analysing the book and using as many relevant quotes as possible.
3. Try to incorporate as many quotes as possible in your practice essays (within reason).
Since learning English quotes can be very challenging, I found utilising a variety of English quotes in my practice essays actually saved me time from memorising quotes. This is because writing the quotes so many times meant that they were already in my memory. This is a great way to learn quotes as you also get used to applying these quotes to particular points or arguments in your essays so that when you are writing about a similar topic in the future, you already know some quotes that could be used.
4. Divide your quotes into themes and characters.
In the lead up to the English exam, I used large poster papers to write all my quotes on them, arranging them in different themes and characters of the book. This was highly effective as it is much easier to remember several quotes for a particular theme/character than memorising a whole list of quotes with no particular order. In the exam, you will be able to think back to that theme or character and remember quotes relating to that theme/character, making it easier for you to recall specific quotes in the exam.
5. Use short, sharp quotes.
Instead of memorising whole sentences, sometimes a few words or even a single word can be more effective to quote in an essay. Shorter quotes ensure that the whole quote is relevant to the point that you are trying to make, proving to examiners that you really know what you are talking about!