Highlight Me

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This requested post provides a few suggestions on how to annotate your Paper 3 set texts. They are by no means exhaustive; in fact, I have also struggled to map out the key concerns and ideas in a way that allows us to compare them easily next year.

Do not panic if you have already highlighted and annotated your text in your own way. You can just refer to the suggestions below and see if you have missed any key ideas out, however unlikely the case.

Here are a few broad reminders and revision tips before we dive into the specifics:

  • Annotate your set texts either at the start or at the end of your revision process. Doing so at the start will help you revise your knowledge of the text. You can transfer the annotations from your lecture notes, tutorial notes and presentations (where applicable) into your exam copy. Some of you may find this a little risky, in which case…
  • Annotating your exam copy at the end of your revision cycle will help you discern what is relevant, what is crucial and certainly, what are the key words you would want to close-analyse as you write your exam answer.
  • You may highlight the same lines in different colours. Yes, this is allowed! We’ve heard from students that one institution in particular recommends using two exam copies to highlight different concerns and ideas — you can take this interesting idea up if you want… probably from next year onwards. 😉
  • And yes, please do underline key words for close analysis. This is useful for both Paper 1 (especially the PBQ where you can ‘spot’ passages beforehand) and Paper 3. Develop your own code for this if you want (e.g. double underline for superlative / absolute terms, underline punctuation for sentence types).
  • Practise referring to your exam copy while practising question analysis, writing an essay outline or writing an actual essay. The goal is to make retrieving relevant episodes, quotations and key words as easily as possible, so only practising this will put this to the test!

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Timetables for Term 2

Hey Eunoia Lit students! At our first lecture, we talked about dedicating ODD WEEKS to one Paper 1 lecture, two Paper 3 tutorials, and a Paper 1 tutorial, and EVEN WEEKS to one Paper 3 lecture, two Paper 1 tutorials, and a Paper 3 tutorial. From Term 2, we will be following this guideline so that we can cover both Measure for Measure for Paper 1 and Woman in Mind for Paper 3 concurrently.

You can access the Literature lecture and tutorial timetable below, which denotes the sequence of lectures and tutorials across both papers more clearly:

Timetable 2017 Term 2

Remember to bring the right text for the relevant tutorial!

To explain things a bit, covering texts concurrently gives you more lead time to read and re-read them, and familiarise yourself with the texts. We’d rather spend about 10 weeks per Paper 3 text and about 15 weeks per Paper 1 text, rather than dive deep into 5-6 weeks of one text and one text only.

Measure for Measure: Starter Guide

Welcome! You have arrived here because you are intrigued by (and perhaps inspired too) the study of Literature in English at ‘A’ Level in Eunoia Junior College. As part of our JC1 syllabus, we will be undertaking Measure for Measure by William Shakespeare in Paper 1 (the core paper), and Alan Ayckbourn’s Woman in Mind together with Edward Albee’s seminal Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? in Paper 3 (the elective paper).

We are in the midst of purchasing the physical copies of the above texts for our first cohort, and we ask you to be patient. The Heinemann [Book Depository link] edition of Measure for Measure is available only upon order from the UK. Shipping takes time, but we think it’s worth the time: the Heinemann edition provides a very detailed translation of Shakespeare’s Early Modern English to contemporary English on every facing page, and clues the reader in further with probing questions and short insights into the theatrical / performative aspects of the text. For ease of reference during our seminars and tutorials (i.e. ‘let’s flip to page 104, class’), we recommend you purchase the Heinemann edition as your study copy and exam copy.

measure-heinemannExhibit A: the currently elusive Heinemann edition, whose presence we ceaselessly yearn.

We sense from your emails and phone calls (or that from your parents :P) great eagerness to read ahead of time and get to grips with this challenging yet rewarding text. What can you do in the meantime then? Here are some suggestions:

  • Read the soft copies available online, linked below, to save your money for the Heinemann edition. We will try to make the latter available through other means as soon as we can:- Download the PDF of the Folger edition
    – Refer to the online MIT e-text
  • Purchase the following ‘alternative’ editions from stores or anywhere you can find it. They are ranked in descending order of recommendation:- New Cambridge Shakespeare: comprehensive footnotes, annotation-friendly
    Penguin: reasonably priced, available at Kinokuniya, not much space for annotation
    Oxford Shakespeare: reasonably priced, should be available at Kinokuniya
    Norton: the most scholarly and most expensive edition; very unfriendly thoughWe do not recommend the Signet, Classics Library or Folger editions, which may be cheaper and are worth only the pennies you pay (i.e. not very much value at all).Also, a word of caution! Assessment for Literature in English at ‘A’ Level, whether at H1 or H2 levels, takes an ‘open-book format‘, which means you may bring in your set texts. Some of you may want to purchase two copies of each text, one for exam use and one for study use. Regardless, you cannot write any notes in your exam text — more information on annotation of exam texts can be found here.

     

  • Read up the ‘basic’ guides on the text, before progressing to more academic criticism. Many a Literature tutor would frown upon students making use of the ‘popular’, American high school-focused study guides, but we do too. You should not need them by the middle of the year (partly because our notes will be pretty awesome). You should not be paraphrasing, adapting, or borrowing from them in your work because they exist on a mostly superficial, ‘unliterary level’ that covers plot, character and a hint of concerns (without the required analysis and personal response at ‘A’ Level).With the long, long disclaimer out of the way, they do have a place in your understanding of Measure for Measure. They can ease you into the events, characters and literal meaning of the play, so that you can encounter the text itself ready, and ready to pick apart its complexities.- The teachers will be making use of Penguin Teacher’s Guide, which we think is pegged closer to ‘A’ Level. The long commentary by Peter Cash also deserves mention.- The most ‘accessible’ guide on the play’s themes is on LitCharts. The CliffNotes site does have a decent character analysis section that lays on the table the various perspectives of Isabella, Angelo, Duke, Claudio, et al. We figure you’ll visit the above two sites on your own anyway…

    – Once you think you’re equipped to go deeper into the text’s methods and concerns, you should head over to our very rich Articles page for secondary literature (i.e. criticism, commentary) on Measure for Measure. Ask us personally for the password, which should be easy to remember once you remember who your Lit tutors will be (hint hint).

OK, this has been a long enough post! Enjoy reading up in the meantime!

Annotating Your Set Texts for the ‘A’ Level Exam

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On the cover page of every Singapore-Cambridge Literature in English examination paper, whether H1 or H2, are these instructions:

Set texts may be taken into the examination room. They may bear underlining or highlighting. Any kind of folding or flagging of pages in text (e.g. use of post-its, tape flags or paper clips) is not permitted.

The chief invigilator is issued a more detailed brief on what is not allowed in the set texts (e.g. no squares or brackets). We have adopted these instructions and included some of our own in the following guidelines on the use of set texts in all Literature examinations at Eunoia Junior College:

  •  Set texts may be taken into the examination room.
    No photocopied texts are allowed.
    – There are no restrictions on particular editions; you are encouraged to use the same edition for both your ‘study text’ and ‘examination text’. Approach your tutor for advice on which edition(s) to procure.
    Extra copies of set texts are technically allowed; you are not encouraged to do so, for ease of reference (i.e. to avoid table clutter).
  • Set texts may bear underlining.
    – Underlining in pencil or pen is allowed. You are encouraged to underline key words in the text for the purpose of close analysis.
    – Drawn lines should be kept strictly horizontal or vertical.
    No boxes, squares, brackets, circles, diagonal or jagged lines are allowed.
    No unauthorised writing (other than your name on the first few pages) is allowed. Ensure that no stray markings or faint pencil markings are visible.
  • Set texts may bear highlighting.
    Highlighting in multiple colours is allowed. There are no restrictions on the number of colours; you may highlight one line in yellow and blue, for instance. You are encouraged to colour code your text by concerns or characters, depending on the nature of the text and your own preference.
  • Any type of folding or flagging of pages in text is not permitted.
    No post-its, tape flags, paper clips or bookmarks are permitted. Ensure that your text is free of these before entering the examination venue.
    No underlining or highlighting of page numbers or headers is allowed, to avoid the appearance of flagging.
    – No writing on or highlighting of page edges / borders is allowed, to avoid the appearance of flagging.
    Vertical lines should be kept close to the body text and away from the margins, to avoid the appearance of flagging.

Also see our visual Annotation Guide.

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Here are some frequently asked questions by students… and several attempts to answer them. Disclaimer: we are not going to give you very specific instructions!

  • What happens if my text is confiscated by the invigilator?
    If available, an unmarked copy of the text will be provided by your school for your use. Your school may not provide this at internal examinations (i.e. Mid Year, Promo, Prelim) as a deterrent measure. Under SEAB guidelines, no further action will be taken by the examiners. An irregularity report will only be filed against you at the ‘A’ Level Examination if you choose to retain your ‘unauthorised’ text.
  • I have a text that may not pass inspection (e.g. faint pencil markings, applied correction tape or fluid over writing, highlighted page numbers on a few pages). I am worried that the invigilator will confiscate my text. What should I do?
    In all cases, you should buy a new or used copy, or borrow one from a senior. Underlining and highlighting your text again is a useful revision process. If time does not allow you to re-annotate your text, you may want to bring in more than one copy. If the invigilator confiscates your text, you will at least have ready access to the text, whether annotated or not.
  • How should I annotate my text? What colours should I use? When should I start?
    For Paper 1 texts, we recommend you prepare for the passage-based question by identifying key passages, highlighting them for selected concerns and underlining key words for the purpose of close analysis. The objective of this is to “remind” yourself about key ideas and methods.For the essay question (both Paper 1 and Elective paper texts), you should highlight your text by concerns and/or characters. The objective here is to retrieve key parts of the text quickly:- Dominant themes / concerns obviously deserve their own colours. As mentioned, you can highlight certain lines in more than one colour if it helps you. Lectures and revision material should already raise relevant material.
    Minor characters can be given specific colours, so that you can identify relevant lines or chapters easily.
    – You may want to highlight outstanding methods (e.g. the use of setting in a novel, particular words / images) in the text for ease of reference.
    – You choose the colour that gels with your understanding of the concern, character or method. For instance, the American Dream as a theme can appear in blue (or red!), a deceptive character can be given purple, while setting can be assigned green. Whatever works for you works best! Some students find it more useful to commit to highlighting and underlining the text at the end of the course (i.e. before JC2 Prelim). Indeed, annotation is a means of revising your text as you decide what is useful, or start ‘indexing’ your text. You can use a faint yellow highlighter to highlight your texts if you do not feel wholly confident in JC1. We nevertheless recommend starting once you have an overall sense of the concerns, characters and methods in your text (e.g. June holidays in JC1). Your tutor may provide you a suggested framework for highlighting your text; again, it is down to your own preference. You will know how you remember the text than any generic model given to you.
  • Uhhh your post is coming to an end and you haven’t answered my question.
    Well, just drop a comment and we’ll respond to your question! 😉