SmileTutor Blog Students Advice For Students Pros and Cons Guide: Literature Edition

Pros and Cons Guide: Literature Edition

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For many people, the idea of taking English Literature as a subject is intimidating. 

The way it’s marked isn’t as concrete as Geography or History, and marks are awarded based on whether the person marking it understands you or not. 

With that uncertainty in mind, it’s understandable that some people would choose not to take it. 

However, before you finalise your subject combination, consider your choices carefully. Every subject has its own pros and cons, so here are those for English Literature. 

Common Studying Methods

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Studying English Literature involves a lot of memorisation and practice. You not only have to memorise book quotes, you have to memorise all the different literary devices you can identify and bring up in texts. 

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As a result, the subject is quite content-heavy. You also have to write essays frequently as a part of homework and revision. 

Pros of Taking English Literature in Upper Sec

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Taking English Literature helps you appreciate the arts more than the other more concrete humanities. It helps you delve into human emotions and learn how they are expressed. 

You also learn to deal with a lot of metaphors and what they mean, which certainly can aid in your creative writing. When you know why certain phrases mean certain things and get used to metaphors, it’s easier to construct your own metaphors. There’s a lot to remember, but it’s easy to cope if memory is one of your strengths. 

In addition to these, you learn about different cultures around the world and sometimes even the history of certain countries. The books and poems you’ll study will come from all around the world. 

When moving up to tertiary education, you will be better at analysing the English language and if you want to do something literature-related, you’ll already have a foundation in it. 

Cons of Taking English Literature in Upper Sec

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Studying Literature takes a lot of work. If you take Pure Literature, you will be studying two books and you need to memorise quotes from both of them to insert as evidence in your essays

Your teacher will go through these two books with you over the course of two years. In Half Literature, you will be studying one book across the span of two years, which significantly lessens the amount of content you have to study

You also need to practise analysing texts and writing essays a lot, since there’s a section where you’re given a text that you have never seen before and you have to analyse it on the spot. 

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It can be tedious and even boring to look through the same books over and over again. The book you have to study is assigned to you, so it may end up being a book that you’re not interested in. 


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English Literature is a good subject to take if you want to continue your practice of English and develop your understanding of it to a higher degree. 

It’s also a good choice if you prefer to see open-ended questions where you have the freedom to analyse the text on your own without worrying too much about getting answers right. As long as you can convince the marker that you’re right, things work out. 

If you’re worried about your grades but still want to take English Literature, why not hire a tutor?

In the end, it’s important to choose what you want to study. So go with your heart. 

Rum Tan

Rum Tan is the founder of SmileTutor and he believes that every child deserves a smile. Motivated by this belief and passion, he works hard day & night with his team to maintain the most trustworthy source of home tutors in Singapore. In his free time, he writes articles hoping to educate, enlighten, and empower parents, students, and tutors. You may try out his free home tutoring services via or by calling 6266 4475 directly today.