It is your understanding, interpretation and opinions that are going to be tested in the final reckoning, so it is very much in your own interest to take as much of an active role as possible when studying a play.

Put yourself in the shoes of each character. Imagine what it must be like for Hamlet. How would you react to your mother marrying your uncle less than two months after he’d taken your father’s life? Try to feel the grief and understand Hamlet’s mental breakdown brought about by the surrounding circumstances.

Before you read any further, i want you to watch this video that will help you psychologically prepare for exams which is also an essential part of studies.

By working your way through the play several times, each time playing the part of a different character and trying to see their point of view, it will give you a better insight and help prepare you for the sort of questions you’re likely to receive at exam time. Once you have formed your own interpretation, compare this with others’, either in group discussion or by further reading.

If your mind works very visually, imagine key scenes being performed. Who would you cast as Hamlet? Which actor would best convey Hamlet’s character traits?


• Before committing literary material to memory, get to know the text thoroughly by:

1 taking an active role during reading
2 developing empathy with one or more of the characters
3 studying the interaction between characters.

To help identify the main plot and theme, imagine it all taking place in a familiar geographical setting, and use people you know to act as the characters portrayed.

Seek help from English literature guides, a dictionary of literary terms, critical essays and group discussions.

Learn some of the background of the author and the circumstances under which the text was written.

To memorise a section of a play, a poem or a prose text, choose a familiar walk or journey to lay down individual lines which will preserve the natural order of the text.

Use your imagination to translate key words or themes from a line into key mnemonic symbols

Then anchor these symbolic images along the various stages of your mental journey.

Use association and the link method to understand and remember the meanings of certain words or phrases that have either changed or are obsolete now.

You can reduce individual quotations into complex images and store them all in a familiar building, such as your local library or bookshop.

Above all, use the combination of association and location with your inventive imagination to lift the text from its two-dimensional linear form, and bring the words alive by animating the characters and making the scenery vivid.