Wednesday, 4 December 2019


Prepping for lectures and seminars, especially when you’re in first year, can be tricky. As a second year student I have a simple method that works for me and hopefully will for you, too.

Read the Set Text

This sounds like an obvious step, but it’s surprising how many English Literature students don’t read the books they are set to read every week. Starting your reading before term starts and ensuring that you’re at least two weeks ahead sets you up nicely. Sometimes things pop up in life, (we’re all human), that means you might struggle to finish reading a book in a week; if that happens, it’s a good idea to read as much as you can, but read a detailed summary and look up quotes for any chapters or acts you haven’t had a chance to read yet. I would also strive to finish a text so when you choose one to write about for an assignment, you’re giving yourself the best selection possible.

Make Notes 

As I’m reading a set text, I’ll make a note of the page numbers of any interesting quotes and my thoughts on them. If they aren’t short quotes I’ll write enough of the quote so I’m able to locate it in the text, so I can get more done. Therefore, if you want to use them in your seminar discussions, you’ve got the notes easy to hand. I type up my quotes on my iPad, so if they’re discussed in the seminar I can quickly extend my notes on them. Doing some prepping before your seminar can result in some ground work to prepare you for essays and to get you thinking. Some weeks these notes might be more detailed than other weeks, but any extra work you do will benefit you hugely. I also do exactly the same with themes; I try and group my quotes into themes and do some research before my seminar on any less obvious themes I might have missed whilst reading the text.

Read Around the Set Text 

Reading around the text, especially when you’re in second and third year is so important. It is so beneficial to do this as you start to form your own opinions on a text as you can agree or disagree with a literary critic. This means you have more to contribute to your seminar discussions as you’ve extended your knowledge and you’ve built on your groundwork you’ve started by making basic notes on the text.

Monday, 9 September 2019


Dog and Scone Cafe

22 Pudding Chare,

Opening Hours:
Tuesday to Friday - 11am - 7pm
Saturday and Sunday - 10am - 7pm

The Dog and Scone cafe, tucked away in the heart of Newcastle, is truly a blissful place. At £5.20 per hour, per person, which also includes a hot or cold drink, on Tuesday’s to Friday’s, is money well spent. The cafe itself is decorated beautifully has a relaxing atmosphere as soon as you walk in the door and you are quickly greeted by some lovely and friendly dogs. There are areas where you can play with the dogs and their toys, but the staff do also make an effort to ‘rotate’ any lap dogs around the tables, so you do get cuddles with a lot of dogs. The dogs are very relaxed, but they are quite happy to jump off your laps and go and play. It’s nice, as you don’t feel like they are forced to sit on your laps. The staff are also extremely friendly and the selection of hot and cold drinks included in your ‘entry’ fee are also fantastic. The cafe does also serve food. You can book your visit online up to 30 days in advance; you pay a £1.20 deposit online and pay £4, along with any extra drinks or food if you’ve bought them, at the end of your time in the cafe. If you want to change or cancel your booking you can do this up to 24 hours before.

Here are some points to read before you making your booking, taken from the Dog and Scone website ( Also, do follow them on Instagram @dogandscone, to see some seriously cute snaps of the dogs!

1. There is a £1.20 deposit per person which will be subtracted from your bill at the end of your visit (you will pay £4 entry in person).

2. For safety and insurance policy reasons our cafe is not suitable for children under 135cm height (from Jun).

3. For safety and insurance policy reasons, visiting dogs are not allowed in the cafe.

4. If you wish to cancel, you must give us a 24 hour notice in order to get a full refund. You can do it yourself online or we can do it for you via phone only – no email or facebook messages.

5. If you want to change date or time for your booking please call us 0191 366 0025. Each child should be accompanied by an adult.

The Great British Cupcakery

15 Queen Street
NE31 3UG

Opening Hours: 
Monday to Friday - 10am to 5pm
Saturday - 10am to 6pm
Sunday - 10am to 5pm

If you love cupcakes and sweet treats this boutique bakehouse and parlour is the place for you. It is the perfect place to stop on the way down to the Quayside, tucked down a side street by the Tyne Bridge. Their malteaser cupcakes are to die for! From flower walls to cherry blossom, it is decorated so beautifully. It is open daily, also serving sandwiches, teas and coffees; afternoon tea is also available to book. The staff are very friendly; I couldn't recommend the place enough.

Tyne Bank Brewery

Tyne Bank Brewery Ltd
375 Walker Road

Tap Room/Shop Opening Hours:
Thursday - 4pm - 11pm
Friday - Saturday 12pm -12am
Sunday - 10am - 8pm

Private Hire Available Monday to Wednesday

Tyne Bank Brewery is a city centre microbrewery with tap room and event space. Stop by for a pint, tour or go along to one of the planned events, such as beer festivals, artisan markets or live music/DJ’s.

Look out for monthly events like chill out Sundays, live music, baby socials, nowt special events, brew and bake workshops and buskers evenings.

From the Gateshead Millennium Bridge follow the footpath signposted to North Shields called Hadrian’s Wall Path which runs parallel alongside the river. Turn left just before the end up towards Ouseburn joining the Quayside road again for a short while. Go up the steps towards the ‘Free Trade Inn’ which has two lovely beer gardens and amazing views over the Tyne. Turn left until you reach Walker Road turning right. Carry walking on Walker Road following blue signposts for ‘Hoults Yard’. Once past Hoults Yard Tyne Bank Brewery is on the left hand side. As well as the varied selection of local craft beers, the Tynemouth coffee that they serve is a lovely non-alcoholic alternative.


Sunday, 28 July 2019


Surprisingly, I found the first year of my English Literature degree easier than my whole two years of A-levels. I only had one exam at the end of first year that didn’t count towards my overall degree, whereas one thing I particularly despised about English Literature A-level specifically was how your entire grade rested on an exam at the end of the two years that was worth 80%. There was also a huge number and variety of books studied on each module; I really enjoyed studying plays and novels I wouldn’t have normally picked up. Studying the same poetry, prose and plays at A-level wasn’t necessarily a bad thing, as by the end of the course you knew the texts inside out. However, being introduced to new genres meant that any I was particularly interested in I could read into further and extend my knowledge of them.

I also think that the stigma attached around an English Literature degree is that you are constantly reading, which is true, but some weeks are lighter than others. Some weeks I was reading a 200 page novel and an 120 page play along with some critical theory passages, but other weeks it would have been two poems and a short story. Even concerning the heavier reading weeks, it was quicker to get used to them than I thought, especially if you do have a genuine passion for literature. I also didn’t realise how much I would enjoy lectures and seminars with lecturers who are extremely knowledgeable in their field. They made my love of literature increase even more, which I didn’t think was possible.

One thing I did find difficult about the degree was the clustering of essays at Christmas and in May. It was quite overwhelming to have 3 or 4 essays due in within a few days of each other, as at A-level I was used to being able to focus on two or three pieces of coursework for months on end. However, after the experience of essay writing in December, I knew that I needed to start preparing earlier for the assessment period in May and I felt a lot more relaxed and confident in submitting essays by this point. I’m hoping that this will continue throughout second year. However, I would choose this any day over multiple, long exams.

If you’re hoping to start an English Literature degree in September, don’t worry about whether you will struggle with the jump between A-levels and University, as I honestly think that is unnecessarily exaggerated. The one huge tip I would give is to make sure you give yourself time to prepare for assessments from the offset, as although first year marks don’t count towards your final degree, it is beneficial to obtain the most useful feedback possible, which you will do if you know you have tried your best in every single essay.

Sunday, 26 May 2019


It gives you an experience of writing at university level.

I cannot explain the extent of how much the EPQ aided me when I got to university. The EPQ is 5000 words, which means 2000 word essays at university seemed easy. Moreover, I gained experience in referencing, which is extremely important at university to right; they encourage accuracy of referencing in first year where your mark doesn’t count towards your final degree. This also meant that from my first assignment, I didn’t find referencing hard at all, due to my familiarity with it. Also, you have a lot of freedom in terms of how you write your EPQ; it certainly emphasised to me that at university, I wouldn’t have to write in an elevated style to achieve high marks.

It gives you confidence in presenting.

The presentation component of the EPQ is extremely helpful in allowing you to gain an awareness of how the process of the EPQ helped to shape your work. The presentation is advised to be 10 minutes long, which is roughly the length of presentations that you do certainly in your first year at university. The questions that are asked at the end of your presentation are another element that gives you a full experience of presenting. You come out of the presentation feeling confident in yourself and the detailed feedback that you will receive is vital to allow you to reflect on how you may improve if you have to do presentations as part of your university course.

It is completely different from A levels.

A levels can be extremely restrictive, with tight coursework word counts and exam timings. Also, in terms of marking criteria to achieve, it can sometimes seem mundane and ‘tick box’ like. With the EPQ, you can explore a multitude of topics; often people pick a topic that is closely linked to what they will be studying at university: this could potentially aid you in deciding or even ruling out topics that you may want to explore in your dissertation at university.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
Blog Design Created by pipdig