How To Study For An English Literature Degree

An English Literature degree provides a wide platform for independent thought and approach, as well as improving your writing skills.

Studying for an English major can open doors to a wide range of careers. Boasting endless archives of books and critical essays to read and research. But where do you start, and what’s the best way to study for an English Literature degree?

In this guide, you will find the ways in how to study for an English Literature degree, and how to find the best creative and critical approaches to enrich your interests. This will be particularly beneficial to those studying English Literature at school and university, but the tips listed can also apply to other arts and humanities-related degrees.

Start your reading well in advance 

This is especially important if your English literature course includes big and difficult reads. One way to get ahead of your reading is to start it in the holidays before the start of term. Starting early in the summer holidays will give you plenty of time to take in the course content, and prepare you for the work ahead. You don’t have to read all of the books, but just making a start will give you more time during the term to sift through them.

Don’t rush your reading, leave lots of time 

It’s an easy habit to fall into. But an English Literature degree can be demanding, so you need to stay on top of everything. If you leave no time for reading or research, you’ll miss out on learning the critical theories and analysis. And that’s the most interesting bit!

Prepare by making notes before and after each seminar 

This is very useful for discovering new approaches and tackling difficult aspects of a text. Making notes before your English classes will show what you’ve picked up from your own readings. And by revisiting these notes afterwards, you can look at what you have understood or perhaps misunderstood. This will help you to form your own original thoughts, which is useful when it comes to essay-writing.

Make the most of your tutors and their office hours  

Your tutors and their office hours are available for a reason, and if you want to make the most of your degree, then it’s essential you take advantage of these resources. Visiting your tutor can be beneficial in numerous ways; you may want to go over a few points you didn’t understand in a seminar or lecture, or perhaps you need help in structuring an argument for your essay.  

Get to know other people on your course 

Meeting other English Literature students will be highly beneficial to your degree. By talking to other people, you’ll gain a wider perspective of what you’re studying. It will also give you the chance to share your opinions with others, which could contribute to your essays. One of the best ways to study for your English Literature degree is to form a study group with other students. This involves meeting up with other classmates outside of your seminars and lectures to discuss your learning. Having a support network in place for exam time is particularly useful too.

Editor’s Note: As an English Literature student myself, I can honestly say that I wish I had read this article before starting my degree – it may have saved me a lot of catching up and hard work! The main lesson from this article is that preparation is key; not just for English Literature but for any subject.

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