English Resources – Great for GCSE and A-level
Whether you want some comprehensive guidance on texts or maybe just some tips on how to improve your writing, check out our list of resources below. There should be resources here which will be useful for every exam board: AQA, CCEA, Edexcel, Eduqas, OCR, WJEC and more!
Don’t forget that the Tavistock Tutors Blog also has plenty of helpful resources which can help you to achieve the grade that you deserve. Have a look at our English Language Revision tips, how to get a 9 and our English Analysis toolkit.
A revision guide can be a handy tool which will outline the whole syllabus for you and walk you through each element of the exam.
They will often break down every part of the exam and cover each individual section in detail.
– CGP guides have won numerous awards, for their outstanding revision guides. They have many which cover the various different English specifications, but they also have different guides for each subject.
They provide guides which give specialised advice for each exam board, and they also have specialist revision guides for specific texts, as well as work books which provide helpful practice opportunities to improve your standard of writing!
You can buy the guides from popular retailers, as well as online. Visit their website here: https://www.cgpbooks.co.uk/secondary-books/gcse/english
– Collins are another great brand which provide specialist revision guides to aid you in achieving a top grade!
They have a variety of resources which can be found online, and their books can also be bought through their website or in major retailers. They have revision guides covering different subjects, and as well as comprehensive guides which plenty of detail, they have a series of SNAP guides.
Their snap guides are more concise than other revision guidesand have a set focus to help you improve on a specific skill. For example, they have SNAP guides covering individual texts, as well as some to help you practice unseen texts.
Their website has a list of all of the guides they offer, as well as many online resources which are available for free! Find their website here: https://collins.co.uk/pages/revision-gcse-ages-14-16
– York Notes are a series of English literature study guides. They are sold as revision material for GCSE and A-level exams particularly as literary guides to introduce students to sophisticated analysis and perspectives of the specific title. They have plenty of books which cover specific texts and can be very helpful resources to aid your understanding of a set text.
Have a look throught their range here: https://www.yorknotes.com
School guides –
Some schools even provide their own revision guides, which they often make publicly available to download for free. These may not be useful for everyone, as they are often designed for a specific examination board in mind.
A great example of a school’s English revision guide can be found here: https://www.ktemplar.herts.sch.uk/Learning/English/GCSE_English_Language_Papers_1_and_2_Revision_Guide.pdf
Hodder Education Magazines
– Hodder magazines are available in both print and online versions, and provide subject-specific publications aimed at A level, IB and GCSE students.
They have a wealth of helpful resources within the magazines, such as topical articles, cutting-edge research and brand new case studies will deepen students’ subject knowledge and help them develop independent learning skills, while revision support and expert exam advice will make sure they know how to perform when it really matters.
This is a paid subscription service, but they do provide some online resources for free, and you could maybe ask your school to start a subscription!
General online revision resources
– A truly first-class revision resource from the one of the world’s very best media organisation.
BBC Bitesize is a website which covers a vast range of subjects from primary level to A-levels and has syllabus-specific material which is always kept up to date.
They have plenty of material to help boost your grade, with special advice on different areas of the exam.
They also have a section called ‘Bitesize Writers’ which is a great resource to help inspire budding young writers – if you enjoy creative writing this is the place for you.
Visit their website: https://www.bbc.co.uk/bitesize
– This is a useful and quite comprehensive revision site that offers help with a wide variety of aspects of English and English Literature, including several study guides to novels and poems. It’s advice is geared more to students capable of a high grade.
SparkNotes is an American website which has many free study guides for a diverse range of novels, plays and poems. They have pretty much most books that are studied, and there’s always plenty of new ideas to be found.
It can be a life saver if you need a quick summary of a chapter, or to pick out the key themes of a text. They even have useful guides such as example analyses! This may be aimed at students who are aiming to achieve higher grades for their GCSE, and is a resource better suited to A-level students – but is helpful for both nevertheless!
Visit their website here: https://www.sparknotes.com/lit/
– This is similar to SparkNotes in that it is also an American website with multiple free study tools. It is a paid service, but many schools have signed up to their service, and they also offer many free resources. Often it is not as detailed and well-written as SparkNotes, but they have plenty of novel ideas, and can provide useful insights to texts that you may not have considered!
Similarly to Sparknotes, it is probably most appropriate for A-level students, but can also be useful for GCSE candidates: https://www.shmoop.com
– This online resource has various different forms of revision help for multiple GCSE and A level subjects. Sometimes it can relatively sparse in coverage and hard to navigate, but they do have some great in-depth help on specific topics, especially for themes for A-level texts. https://revisionworld.com
Make your own online resources
this app is a great tool to make your revision resources into online and virtual resources. It allows you to access your notes online and share them with your friends.
– As featured in our ‘English Revision Tools’, Memrise is an amazing website which can be used for a variety of subjects. It is typically used as a language-learning tool by enabling you to learn vocabulary on a short-term and long-term basis.
You can create your own vocabulary sets to suit your needs – whether you need to learn themes or quotes. You can even download it on the app and play offline, so that you keep learning anywhere and any time!
– This is also an amazing tool which enables you to memorise different terms. It is a website which allows you to make virtual flash cards.
You can create your own set of flash cards or use one of thousands of sets published online. You can then learn them through playing a series of interactive games and exercises is a website that allows you to make flashcards and test yourself on them through memory games and exercises.It means you can make learning quotes and different literary techniques a more enjoyable exercise. https://quizlet.com/en-gb
–This website also enables you to make flash cards online, as well as a variety of other kinds of resources – you can make mindmaps, notes and slide sets and access them all at the click of a button!
– Linked to the Student Room forum website, Get Revising is a great online resource used by thousands of students across the UK. It covers a vast range of subjects, from GCSE to University Level.
The website allows you to upload your own revision resources, in whatever format best suits you. You can also access other students’ revision tools. They are often rated by students, and some are even approved by teachers – so you can make sure you only choose the best quality resources!
Shakespeare and specific periods
– This site was originally designed to provide materials for Harvard University’s Chaucer classes as part of their English Department. It provides a whole world of resources on Chaucer’s works and can be an essential tool for any student studying the writer!
It provides a wide range of glossed Middle English texts and translations of analogues relevant to Chaucer’s works, critical articles from a variety of perspectives, graphics, and general information on life in the Middle Ages. It predominantly focuses on The Canterbury Tales, but is expanding to focus on his other works.
Because the website is aimed at University students, it is perhaps too advanced for GCSE students (and it is also unlikely that GCSE students will be studying Chaucer), but it could be useful for A-level and beyond!
– this website opens into areas concerning Victorian culture. There is a vast range of content on authors, texts, society, history and technology, it can be a great resource to learn more about the context of different texts you’re likely to be studying for GCSE and A-level. Context can be a vital piece of content for reaching assessment objectives, and gaining some extra information from sites such as this could help your work stand out to the examiners!
– This is an amazing online resource which specialises in English Literature from a variety of periods. It is a large online anthology of texts covering Medieval, Renaissance, Restoration and and 17Th Century Literature. It is quite advanced so will be most useful for A-level students studying authors from the Renaissance.
No Fear Shakespeare
– This amazing tool by SparkNotes is a translation facility for Shakespeare that puts his plays into modern English. This will help save loads of time and avoid much confusion when reading Shakespeare’s works!
: The Tempest iPad app has a transformation of the play with its lines spoken by Ian McKellen and supporting literature around the play.
Videos and Youtube
If you know that you’re more of a visual or auditory learner (which means you learn best when watching something) then you find video resources to be more useful in helping to prepare you for your English exams.
There are plenty of different video resources online, but they vary in quality a lot. Some videos are produced by teachers and students which can provide honest and helpful advice, but others may be less useful.
–With over 35 Million Views, you could say that Mr Bruff is somewhat of a household name! He makes videos to help students with both GCSE and A-level English Literature.
He has so many resources covering a vast array of texts, as well as focusing on different skills needed for the exams and providing some exemplar answers. He also has a series of videos called ‘Mailbox Mondays’ in which he answers student’s questions and offers specialist advice for different papers and texts.
He also has recently released print publications of his advice which can be bought online. Visit his youtube channel through this link: https://www.youtube.com/user/mrbruff/videos
Other teachers and Studytubers
Overall, Youtube is a vast place and there are thousands of videos out there which could be of use. Many teachers have their own channels in a similar way to Mr Bruff, such as Mr Salles or Mrs Whelan. You could also watch videos by ‘studytubers’. These are students who post videos of their own experiences with GCSE and A-level subjects – they offer advice and insider knowledge which could be super helpful in preparing for your exams, hence why they’ve become incredibly popular in recent years.