How to Study for Your English Classes

It’s hard to believe that it is already week 6 in the semester, and with midterms just around the corner, its good to have a refresher on how to study for certain classes. English courses can be difficult to study for, as they are structured around discussion and text rather than PowerPoints and lectures. However, one you identify the type of assignment and its requirements, it is easy to create study guides, reading guides, and drafts that can make midterms week less stressful.


If your class includes a novel or some type of literature, such as poems and short stories, it is beneficial to create a reading guide that you can reference. In this reading guide, I would recommend including a list of the characters names, major plot points, different themes, symbols, and other notable aspects. One such notable aspect includes different quotations from the text, as these can be used as evidence to support your claims in an essay or a paper. In addition to these aspects featured exclusively in the text, you should add your class notes that discuss more topics in-depth, as these can strengthen your writing and display your knowledge on the topic.

If your course is centered around a specific type of literature, such as American or World, a study guide may be more helpful than a reading guide. These courses usually feature short stories and poems that can encompass a range of writers and themes that are easy to mix up. I recommend organizing the study guide in chronological order of when you learned this information in class. Include the writers name at the top in bold and write a small blurb about their biography under their name, as it will help you remember who they are by their distinct achievements. Then, write out all the titles by this author that you have covered in class in bold. Underneath each, include your class notes that cover different notable aspects of the text, including themes, symbols, and important quotes. Differentiating each author will create less confusion while studying and allow for you to review the information in a more organized manner.


If you are taking a writing course this semester, you most likely won’t be taking a test, but rather writing a paper instead for your midterm grade. Below I have included some tips on how to organize and pace your writing as to avoid stress while crafting your paper.

  1. Brainstorm different topics or ideas that can be further expanded upon in the body of your paper. This can be done by creating a web, with your main topic in the center and smaller branches with sub-topics coming off of it.
  2. Once you have decided what you want to write about, start researching for the information you will need. Most classes require academic sources, so I would suggest going to the library’s English resources page to find some sources and information.
  3. Once you have gathered and read through all the information, it is time to draft. Your first draft does not need to perfect at all, so write anything you want just to get it on the page.
  4. After you draft, let it sit for a few days and then look at it again with fresh eyes. Start to revise anything you feel is necessary, and make sure to keep an eye on grammatical, spelling, and structural errors. Also focus on the flow of the paper, as smooth transitions throughout will greatly enhance the readers experience.
  5. Once you have your final draft, ask a peer or classmate to look over it for you. Their eyes may pick up something that you did not notice.
  6. When you feel you paper is the best it can be, submit it and treat yourself to something for all of your hard work!