In an ever-increasingly competitive job market, a prerequisite of getting into a top university and therefore being able to attain your career aspirations, begins with your GCSE and A level results.

So many English students demonstrate very good creative and analytical skills, but struggle to break into the top bands when taking exams.  However, a good percentage of these students could easily increase their possibility of higher academic success, by being more comprehensive in their reading.

How can wider reading improve my knowledge and skills?

One of your GCSE Language papers will ask you to analyse and/or write pieces of non-literary copy, such as newspapers, blogs and articles.

You will also be asked to compare and contrast two ‘cold’ pieces of print, i.e. extracts you haven’t read before and know nothing about.

This is exactly where your wider reading skills will become beneficial.  Having read a cross-section of media articles, you will be able to apply this wide and general knowledge, which you have acquired in your own time, to examination tasks set.

Not having these skills will hamper your chances of getting a higher grade and will also impact on your academic future, later down the line.

Literature students also need to appreciate the enormous advantages of wider reading, as this will affect their chances of success in a positive way too.

You may ask, ‘How is this possible, when I know I’m already predicted to get a B?’

It’s true that reading set texts and learning by rote can result in a student cramming the knowledge they need into their heads and using it in a mechanical (yet somewhat successful) way in an exam.  True, this could result in a B grade, but reading widely and expanding their knowledge of the world and the issues around them will undoubtedly help them to appreciate the contexts of their studied texts, in a much more profound and enriching way.  Examiners will sense this added perspective of maturity and deeper appreciation when marking and this, of course, may ultimately surpass the individual’s expectations of a B, and result in an A, or A*.

In essence, read broadsheet newspapers, read for pleasure on a daily basis, watch television news and listen to both local and National news on the radio.

All of these factors will greatly increase your chances of higher success in your English subjects, and widen your intellectual opportunities later in life!

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