A Finals survival guide for Literature students

Finals are every student’s worst nightmare, from pulling all-nighters to watching lecture videos at 2x speed. In addition, literature assignments and exams require extensive knowledge of the course materials. Thus, we have to spend hours reading and understanding our assigned texts. However, throughout my studies as a Literature student, I found specific study tips and applications that made revision less painful than it usually is.

Read more to learn about helpful tips and apps I recommend for every Literature student.

3 Applications commonly used by Literature students:

1. Grammarly

Grammarly is widely adopted by university students worldwide. It is an automated proofreading application that corrects your grammar and spelling errors. In addition, subscribing to their premium membership can suggest sentences based on your writing goals.

As literature students, churning out essays is a norm. Even when preparing for my finals, I write my notes on Google Docs. However, sometimes we may make a few pesky spelling errors that need to be noticed along the way. Therefore, I use Grammarly for all my assignments and essays to maintain my clarity and avoid careless spelling mistakes.

Did you know that Grammarly has a plagiarism checker?

This is a lifesaver when I can tweak my writing and avoid plagiarism all in one site. It’s a must-have tool that I bookmark in my browser to proofread my essays and ensure they are concise and effective in presenting my arguments.

2. Purdue Online Writing Lab

Purdue Online Writing Lab (OWL) is a comprehensive guide every student needs to use in their university years. It has a detailed guide and instructions on different citation styles, for example, the Modern Language Association (MLA) and American Psychological Association (APA) formatting. The website offers resources for anyone looking to improve their general writing skills, brush up on how to avoid plagiarism and even have subject-related writing guides for students from all courses! I utilise the MLA citation for all of my essays. Thus, I have saved this page for easy reference for future articles and assignments.

For literature students, you can check out OWL’s writing guide for Writing in Literature to access resources for writing about literature across various genres and contexts. This is handy for breaking down lofty literature jargon and understanding literary context outside classroom resources.

3. Project Gutenberg

Project Gutenberg is an online library database of over 60,000 free ebooks. Available to browse on tablets, kindles and most mobile devices, you can gain access to course readings and even storybooks without spending money! Available in different formats, with options to show or hide illustrations, it is every literature student’s best friend (and their wallet too).

Extra tip:

When revising for finals, CTRL + F keywords in Project Gutenberg to save hours of flipping those hardcopies when revising! However, always check for the citation guidelines if you use an ebook as a reference.

Two exam preparation tips every Literature student should know!

1. Mind maps and Summary Sheets

Mind maps are a standard studying method across different faculties of study. Surprisingly, it effectively remembers significant literary events and connects different themes with shared ideas. As literature students, we must understand and memorise key historical moments and their important literary context.

For example, the 19th Century Victorian education imposed an Elementary Education Act in 1870 (historical context), reflected in Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland (literary significance). Listing down all historical periods required for exams and taking note of the academic importance of a particular period is easy to memorise and understand complex historical contexts.

Summary sheets are also a crowd favourite of many literature students. It is impossible to read and memorise 90+ slides of materials for an exam. Therefore, a concise and effective way is to summarise all the key points that require more attention. This is helpful when we start worrying that all information has been deleted from our brains. Whipping out your summary sheets for a quick revision before the exam is a refresher for your mind and calming your nerves before entering the exam hall.

2. Mock Thesis Statements

Literature students are often tested on their ability to craft detailed and argumentative thesis statements within time constraints. When writing essays, we don’t usually feel the pressure to create a perfectly succinct thesis statement within a time limit; however, this isn’t the case during examinations. It is hard to develop a contestable thesis statement with clear argumentative points within a time limit. However, it is not impossible with some practice.

Always check if you have access to past exam materials and time yourself to create mock thesis statements to facilitate the flow and build confidence for your thesis skills in examinations.

These are all the tips I have learnt so far in my two years as a literature undergraduate. Exam season is very taxing on both our physical and mental bodies, do ensure you are taking sufficient breaks in between!

All the best for your examinations


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