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October 15, 2005



Good for you =D After receiving my A-level results I considered the possibility of sitting for the English A-level resit, but summer was too big a temptation to resist lol. I still have all my English A-level books so if you need any just give me the list ;) I don't have Much Ado About Nothing, however, since I had King Lear for my exam.

You'll get to appreciate Owen, Greene and Steinbeck as you study them, or so I hope ;) I'm not especially fond of the style Owen used, but I can still say I loved studying Owen's poems now that it's over. The same goes for Greene and Steinbeck.

Also, I don't know whether your sister's notes will be covering for linguistics, and if they will, then that's good. I just had to mention linguistics though since you didn't talk about it in your post and it does hold a useful chunk of marks which can be easily gained if you study well for it.

If you need any tips just tell me ;) and have fun! You'll surely enjoy it since you seem to have a keen interest in literature =)

As for Maths...why bother? lol


Oh, one more thing. If I were you I'd train just as much for the language part as I will for the literature. One of the things I regret doing is neglecting comprehension and summary skills - I thought I was ready for it but I wasn't.

I think that's it for now..I sound like an annoying tutor ;)


Dammit I knew there was something missing!

Aren't you supposed to be doing Tess of the d'Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy, too? Or some other novel...For instance people who had their A-levels the year before mine had The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie so it might be some other title.


I adored The Power and The Glory and of Mice and Men. As for Owen, I have the habit of quoting random verses just for the fun of it. Much Ado About Nothing is a good one, tho I prefer Macbeth, purely because I am a big fan of Lady Macbeth. Damn, I should just sit for the English A Level since I've done all the readings!

nurse pica

u didnt like of mice and men?!! that book is wonderful. however everyone has different tastes, which is why the world is so diverse and interesting.

prosit for studying more...i believe one shud constantly try to improve themselves in the learning category...one may never ever know enough.

good luck and take care!


Argh! The pain, the pain! Kenneth Branagh not Richard, and surely you can't have needed this excuse to buy Much Ado... go forth and spend your pounds, woman, there is little else you can spend them on totally guilt-free. There are many Branagh performances which are excellent but few Shakespearean characters as exquisite as Benedick (and a dick he is too!)

Incidentally, hark your memory back to your A Levels. They are notoriously more difficult than any university degree. I'm saying this not to discourage you but so that you don't underestimate the work you need to do to pass this one!


I agree with Sharon. 'A' Levels are hard! I did English and thought that it would be a piece of cake but I only ended up with a C. And English was always my best subject. But at least you don't have the other subjects to interfere with your studying so you should be fine. Good luck :)

And Steinbeck is easy really :)


Re-doing Pure Maths? Uwejjaaaa...


Loll do you seriously want A level English books? Coz I really don't need mine anymore.

Toni Sant

I must be missing something! I thought the whole point of doing A-levels was to get into a university degree course. Looking at the list of literature titles you mentioned I can't imagine a million better ways you could spend you time. Why are you doing this to yourself? If the literature list included George Orwell, Joe Orton, and Adrian Henri (or even Adrian Mitchell) then perhaps I would not be questioning all this.


Hmm I'm intrigued by Toni's comment. I enjoy Steinback as much as I enjoy Orwell. Literature is highly subjective:-)


I actually think it's a good choice of literature. They may not be the greatest works of all time (although I seriously doubt there Can exist a 'greatest work of all time') but they are of a certain literary value which, when appreciated appropriately, turn out to be Very interesting subjects.

When we first started delving into Owen's war poems last year, I wasn't very keen on his style since I thought it was too 'rough'. I can't find a more proper word, but it seemed to me as though I was reading drafts of works yet to be produced. However, I eventually came to admire his work almost as much as I admire Hardy's.


Lena and Mistoqsija - YES I'd like to buy the A-Level books! I need a copy each of: Graham Greene's "21 stories", Simon Bartolo's "The Door, The Staircase and The Bridge", Shakespeare's "Much Ado About Nothing", David Clarke's "Language of Literature", Scriha and Vassallo's "Malta - a linguistic landscape", Gude and Duckworth's "Proficiency Masterclass", Jon Stallworthy's "The poems of Wilfred Owen", Charles Caruana Carabez' "Poet of the Apocalypse", and any other books you have that you think would be helpful :-) Also would like a copy of Tess since I'm doing all this literature now! I don't mind books being dog-eared or scribbled on, because that's what I intend to do to them anyway, lol. This is why I want my own set of books, cos Little Sis likes hers to remain in decent condition ;-) So if you'd like to sell any to me, please drop me a line (maltagirl ~ at ~ gmail ~ dot ~ com) so we can arrange things.

Lena, yes I hope that the Lit will grow on me as I get into it - right now I've started learning the technical poetry terms and I have homework on imagery... Thanks A LOT for your tips, I neeeeeeed them. Good advice for the Language, thanks - I can generally guess at what the right answer is but I have no clue about grammar rules! And no I don't think we have Tess.

Athena, tithajjar? Great excuse to come to Malta in May, lol!

Nurse Pica, thanks... am desperately hoping I like Of Mice and Men this time around ;-)

Sharon, I confused Kenneth with Richard because after "Sir" my first instinct is to write "Richard Attenburgh". Incidentally, hark your memory back to your A Levels. They are notoriously more difficult than any university degree. I'm saying this not to discourage you but so that you don't underestimate the work you need to do to pass this one! Oh yes, I was forgetting that. Ack. Luckily Little Sis is very conscientious and keeps asking me if I've done my homework... so she's keeping me accountable as I wouldn't want to fall behind her. I will be eternally shamed (and eternally reminded) if my grades suck compared to hers, lol.

G, English was always my best too! Yes I'm hoping that having just the one subject will help. Also since it's not bil-fors I'm much more inclined to study :-D

Kenneth... heheheh...

Toni, yeah the point of my A-Levels was to get into university, but the point of THIS A-Level is to give English my best shot. When I was sixteen, there were only two degrees that looked interesting to me - Engineering and English, and choosing one path meant having to forsake the other. I have no intention of getting an English degree, but I'd like to have a stab at advanced English, if nothing else then to prove that I could have done it. But I'm also curious about what it actually involves.

Just because I (or you) don't like the subject matter, that doesn't mean that this is a waste of time. For instance, I am learning "critical thinking" ;-) that I can apply to any piece of literature after this; having a better understanding of the mechanics of the English language will hopefully help me improve my writing; studying by myself is an exercise in self-discipline, which is a good thing; I am exploring literature that I wouldn't otherwise touch with a barge pole and therefore being exposed to new thoughts and having to keep an open mind... and afterwards I get bragging rights about having an extra A-Level :-P

My philosophy about learning is that you should never stop stretching and challenging yourself (because that is when you grow), and that you should make an effort to occasionally learn something that is completely outside your primary sphere of interest or proficiency simply because it is alien to you. Otherwise you risk stagnation. For instance, I am a klutz - so I am learning how to juggle!

In any case, it all boils down to a fundamental part of (or flaw in!) my character... eyes see mountain, heart says "Climb!" ;-)


Oh well... you are truly amazing. Might even forgive you for the Ken/Dick bit... :) although how you could not like Graham Greene is beyond me... I have to say though that I did an English degree at university and I remember thinking that the first year choice of books sucked but I learnt to really like them... yes, even Moll Flanders (I hate 19th century realism, ie Dickens et al)


>Athena, tithajjar? Great excuse to come to Malta in May, lol!<

Do you want my supervisor to murder me? I've even put wedding plans on hold lol. Incidentally, when I started out I was torn between archy and English. Archy won out big time. Speaking of literature... Sharon pop round to my blog sometime later, Magdalene is up to some very literary things which might interest you.


I really don't recommend buying "Proficiency Masterclass". Incidentally I just sold mine a couple of weeks ago and I can assure you I don't regret it (I usually never sell important books.) I mean, unless you have money to waste on rather childish books, it's not worth buying. In fact, we rarely even used it throughout the two years (and this was English Intermediate, where the bulk of literature content is significantly less and one would expect greater emphasis on the Language aspect.)

That book will not teach you any grammar. If you're interested in that, I would highly recommend Raymond Murphy's "English Grammar in Use" (Cambridge University Press, I have the second edition printed in 1997) and Michael McCarthy and Felicity O'Dells' "English Vocabulary in Use" (also a Cambridge University Press publication.)

We used them in secondary school but I think they are excellent and still relevant, especially the grammar one which is very comprehensive and will definitely do no harm to brush up your grammar skills.

You should find both books on Amazon.com (try looking for Used & New to get them for less) or eBay.

If you want to practise on comprehensions and summaries, just buy the set of past papers and work those. I can assure you that even the comprehensions and summaries in the Intermediate level exams are more difficult than those found on "Proficiency Masterclass".


What he ^ said. Lol


Thanks Kenneth and Lena, I think you have a point. I had forgotten what the Proficiency was like since it has been *counts* six years since my English intermediate, lol. But yes, I remember that the exercises were a walk in the park.

We had "English Grammar in Use" for the O-Level too, I think our copy is around here somewhere, so that's great :-) Thanks a lot!


Sharon, my literary tastes currently run to Terry Pratchett and Michael Crichton, but you never know, I might wind up with more refined sensibilities by the time I'm through with this.

Athena, well, when you put it that way...


hi maltagirl! I think I would like to sit for may A level english again.The last time I did it, A VERY VERY VERY VERY long time ago, (more ancient then Toni Sant, I would say...tee hee)I only got a D.:(( It would be lovely to study a bit of literature again. I think you have just given me an idea. But my favorite Shakey play of all time is Macbeth.And my favorit line was'It is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing'. Good Luck!


*waves to Hsejjes* Macbeth just rocks:-)


Maltagirl, never apologise for your taste in literature. EVER. That you read is good enough for me. :)


Come to think of it, I don't think I've ever read Macbeth, I've tended to stick with the comedies till now. I guess I will read now since it comes so highly recommended ;-) Mind you, the older I get, the more I find that I'm getting into books that I disliked when I was younger.

*looks around for some wiseguy to make a crack about my age*

*remembers that most people round here are older than me*


Sharon, awwwwww, thanks... was starting to feel a bit of hick, surrounded by all these literarily-sophisticated people ;-)

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