Clever Study Techniques for Your Literature Class

Hi, friends! This is the second post in my Clever Study Techniques series. Last week, I wrote about Clever Study Techniques for Your Math Class, which I hope made math less intimidating for you. Today, we’re going to discuss how to study for a literature class. Come back next Monday for the final post of the series. (It’s going to be a good one because it’s my favorite post of the series) 🙂

Clever Study Techniques for Your Literature Class | Here's how to succeed in your English literature class!
Hi, friends! Today, I’m wrapping up my Clever Study Techniques series by discussing how to study for a literature class. I’ve taken much more math and science classes than literature classes, so I don’t have as much to say for literature classes. Still, I hope you find these tips helpful.

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Take note of your professor’s interpretation of the text.

Literature can be full of abstract language, such as metaphors, similies, and personification. Figurative language makes the writing beautiful, but it also makes it hard to understand what the author is talking about (cue Justin Bieber’s song “What Do You Mean?”). Make note of how your professor interprets these metaphors, and the quotes he/she uses to back up these interpretations…

Use quotes from the literature to back up your own interpretations.

If you’re asked to interpret the text on your own, use quotes to back up your opinions and interpretations. Don’t be afraid to have an interpretation that’s different than your professor’s. There are no right or wrong answers when it comes to interpretation. As long as it’s backed up by quotes from the text, you’re good. It’s a good idea to mark your favorite quotes in some way (like by highlighting), so that when you’re writing, you know where to find the quotes that’ll support your ideas.

Related:  Taking Care of Your Mind and Body During Finals Week

Read the historical context.

Reading up on the historical culture of the setting of the story will help you understand the story and the characters in it much more. Knowing the historical background is especially important if the story takes place in a different time period.

Use Sparknotes as an aid, not as a replacement.

Sparknotes saves lives! However, you should consult it only when you’re extremely stuck. It’s helpful for when you have no idea where to start, or if you want to double check your ideas. Don’t rely on it to do your literature homework for you.

Literature is all about understanding the message the author conveys. Your professor may help you with this by giving you his/her own interpretations of the text. There are no right or wrong interpretations, though, as long as it’s backed up by the text, so be afraid to interpret it on your own.

Check out other posts from the Clever Study Techniques Series:

How do you study for your literature class?


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