How to race through your GCSE English Literature revision with Rapid Revision Cards

By York Notes Series Consultant, Mike Gould


1. Small is beautiful! Rapid Revision cards are great for acting small, but thinking big!

The great thing about our revision cards is that they are so portable! Tuck them into your pocket, school bag or sports bag and take them wherever you go. Whether it’s waiting for the bus, waiting for your mates, or waiting outside the exam room (though you won’t be able to take them in with you – unfortunately!), a quick read of key cards can keep your brain active.


2. Love bullet points? Love lists? So do we!

One of the key features of our Rapid Revision cards is that they have loads of really useful lists. For example, ‘What does Macbeth say and do?’. How can these help? It’s so much easier learning short lists rather than long paragraphs.

A. Read any plot, character or theme list.

B. Cover it up.

C. Write down as many points as you can remember (the act of writing the list again will help your brain retain the information).

D. Check – how many did you get?


3. Flippin’ marvellous! Our cards are fit for purpose. We’ve got the crucial questions to help you revise, at the bottom of many of our key plot, character or theme cards (it’s slightly different on our poetry ones – but, hey, you’re flexible, aren’t you?).

  • Choose a character, plot, theme or language point you’re not so confident about.
  • Read the front of the card.
  • Then, try to answer the questions (in your head or jot them onto your phone).
  • Flip the card.
  • Check the answers.

How did you do?


4. Role-play revision.

Just like in our Rapid Revision books, we’ve provided the key quotations you need to know. Just look for the ‘Learn’ heading.

Try saying the quotations out loud in the voice of whoever speaks them (this could be the narrator – what might he/she sound like?).

(You could do this seriously – or with funny, exaggerated voices. Work with a friend. It’ll be fun. Really.)


5. Take a time-out!

Maybe you need to take a break from Maths or Science revision? The great thing about nearly all of our cards is that they are self-contained. Pick up your Rapid Revision cards and select a theme, character or language card you’re concerned about. It’ll take you a matter of minutes to read both sides of the card.

Now you can go back to Black Holes and Trapeziums.


6. Happy families.

Getting to know those characters* is vital. With a partner, play a super-quick version of ‘Happy Families’. Divide the character cards so you have three or four each. Then:

A. Take it in turns to read each other the questions at the bottom of the card.

B. If your partner gets at least two of the three questions right (remember, you’ve got the answers on the other side of the card, so keep it hidden!) then they get that card.

C. Continue playing until one of you wins all the cards.

(*You can play it with poem cards in our poetry set, too – although there are two cards per poem.)


7. Race the clock!

Each of our card sections (e.g. plot, language etc) ends with a ‘Quick Quiz’ (usually ten questions based on the cards you have just revised). Give yourself TWO minutes to answer the quiz questions. Can you do it?


8. Mood board your mind.

Under the ‘Quick Quiz’ questions is a ‘Think more deeply’ task. Try to visualise writing the answers in your head (visualisation is a great revision technique). You could even try handwriting with your finger in the air and then imagine different colours for different parts of your answer, like yellow bold for the quotations you use. Can you see it?


9. Find room for Exam Practice.

This section is SO IMPORTANT, these cards deserve their own space. Literally. Find a quiet spot. The dog basket. Behind the sofa. The garden shed. Take out the Exam Practice cards, and read through them carefully. Read the sample answers out loud. Yes, really – it will help you ‘get’ the different levels between an ‘ok’ answer and a top-level one.


10. Make a speech!

The great thing about the cards is they are all about convenience. No need to write stuff down (unless you want to). But try doing a practice essay as a speech. Look at the Exam Practice cards and questions at the end of the Exam Practice section. Have a think and then try to give a speech in response.

‘Today, I am going to talk to you about Macbeth’s ambition. Well, it all starts when…’

You could even use the answer cards as prompt cards for your speech!


You can buy Rapid Revision Cards for AQA GCSE English Literature from www.yorknotes.com, Amazon or your favourite bookstore.


Mike Gould is a former Head of English and Drama and author of over 150 books and other educational resources. He has worked as a lecturer in English and education at Brighton University.