Literature is a very interesting and easy subject. It is as easy as reading a book and discussing what you read with your friend. But there are some things that you have to know about answering questions in the literature whether in WAEC, NECO, GCE, or any test or examination you come across. Before answering literature questions you must know some Dos and Don’ts of literature in English.
DO’S AND DON’TS OF LITERATURE IN ENGLISH
Literature Is Not Cramming, you don’t have to cram verses in poems or questions in drama to qualify as a literature student, in fact, cramming disappoints when it is done under duress. So you have to be naturally familiar with the quotation in the text if you read them constantly and with interest. No teacher or lecturer will ask you to cram. How many poems or drama books will you cram? But with contain reading you get close to the events and verses and you will be able to quote them with ease to buttress your points.
1. You Can’t Choose What To Like In Literature, You Have To Like All Aspects
You must love poetry, prose, and drama and know the literary terms. You should not have an interest in only one or two of them. You need to erase the mindset of saying you hate poetry or prose or drama. If you want to pass you should be sound in all of them because in the examination you will score less of you answer questions on only two aspects.
2. Be In Direct In Answering Questions
One of the best ways to answer questions on literature in English is to write down your answer in a very direct and clear language if you want to earn a full mark on the question being asked. If you can explain your points in good English you will earn good marks, unlike a person that has an idea but decides to beat around the bush by providing unnecessary information. One very important thing to note is that your grammar is not marked in the literature.
That is why you see some students falling English but doing so well in literature. The fact remains that you need to express yourself in good English and very importantly you must be very direct in your answers. Literature examiners marks on impression and the best way to impress them are to express yourself in clear terms and good English.
3. Lastly, Literature Is Not Story Telling
It is compulsory for you to know the storyline of every text recommended but it is not right for you to start narrating the whole story each time a question is asked about the book. Note that examiners are specific in their questions and you also have to be specific in your answers. For example, the examiner gives you a question highlight and explains the themes in the story purple hibiscus. It would be wrong for you to start to explain the things that happened in the book even before going to answer the question you’re asked. Ensure you don’t start telling stories when you’re asked a direct question.
Having explained the do’s and don’ts in literature, below are few things you can do to effectively answer any literature question given to you during your WAEC examinations.
How to Effectively Answer Literature Questions
- Always ensure that you understand what the question is asking you to do and you should be able to write extensively on it. Read the question well and be sure of what it demands whilst taking note of the time allotted.
- Have a clear knowledge of the storyline and the themes of each recommended book and poem. Ensure that you have read the books and poems over and over again. After reading the books and poems. Read notes or any material that gives further explanations on them. Then you can follow your literature classes and class notes.
- Know where to pick your answers from. Some questions have their answers at the beginning of the text, some at the middle, some at the end while some even have theirs all around the text. In that sense, you have to pick your points at every stage of the events in the story. For example, if you’re asked to discuss the themes or particular themes about a poem don’t go on to discuss the mood, or when you’re asked to discuss style don’t start discussing mood.
Also, note that in poetry whatever question that Is asked you must first write something little on the theme of that poem. This will help you recollect all the aspects of the poem and also let the examiner know that you have truly read the poem.
- Ensure that you can quote to support your answers. The evidence that you read the recommended texts is your ability to use quotations to support your points. A quotation is highly essential in poetry where you have to quote examples of poetic devices; if you want to impress the examiner.
- It is also very important to know the rudiments of literature. You should be able to identify them when you see them and know their effects. It starts from the definition of literature. You should be able to identify literary terms, the dramatic elements, the poetic elements, the narrative techniques, the genres of literature, the figures of speech, and the unseen prose and poetry.
- Ensure that you are as independent as possible in the exam hall. Avoid examination malpractice as much as you can because the examiner will detect if two or more people write the same answer using the same expression. This is one of the things that can mark you down, if not even cause you to fail. Literature is not like mathematics that you all would derive at the same answer. You might have the same opinion but your expression and explanation can’t be the same.
If you follow all of these points on how to answer questions in literature, I’m very ascertained that a distinction in literature awaits you in your WAEC result.