Summer Reading Advice
For those of you that are coming up to Warwick to start an English degree in a couple of month’s time (once the dreaded results day has come and gone in a couple of days!), I expect a lot of you will already be thinking about how much reading you need to do in preparation before you start. I know that I was panicking about this as soon as my place at Warwick was confirmed last August!
The basic advice I would give about preparatory reading is simply not to stress too much. Whatever you do, the rest of your coursemates will have done something different and there will be people who have read less than you and people that have read more, no matter what you do.
You should start by reading through the first year module pages which will give you an idea of what you will be studying over the coming year. All of them have the reading lists uploaded so you will see exactly which books you will need. DON’T panic-buy all of your books for the whole year before you move to university: it’s a lot of unneccessary extra weight to lug there in the car; you won’t need a lot of them for months; and it’s worth giving yourself a bit of extra time to look around and find the best prices so that you can save some money too.
Several module convenors give you advice on what to read before beginning the course. For example, the module page for the first year module Epic Traditions currently says: "," so there’s some advice you’ll probably want to follow. The method I used was to read the first book I needed for each module during the summer, and then worry about what happened after that once I got there, and that was completely fine, but everyone works differently so the most important thing is just to do what you’re comfortable with. I wouldn’t recommend going to Warwick having read nothing from the reading list, but don’t go overboard and forget to have a summer either!
I would also suggest that you shouldn’t worry at all about secondary reading until you’re at university. Many module webpages provide bibliographies or lists of suggested background reading. I didn’t read any of these during the summer and I don’t think that disadvantaged me at all. Remember that these readings are not compulsory so you should prioritise the primary readings first! If having a bit of background knowledge helps you to feel more comfortable then by all means have a browse through some of the suggested reading, but don’t stress about this too much as, with everything else going on, the chances of you remembering the information you read is probably pretty slim!
In a nutshell – I would recommend reading the first book for each module before starting the university term so that you’re prepared for the first couple of weeks, but don’t buy them all at once and, overall, don’t let it all stress you out too much! (I feel like I have said that far too many times in this post so I hope you get the message!) The beginning of first year is a complete whirlwind and there is an awful lot going on at once (in a good way!) so stay calm about it all and don’t pointlessly worry about things like reading – you will have plenty of time for that during the rest of the year…!
Good luck to everyone on A Level Results Day this Thursday – or on whichever days you get your results if you took different examinations – and enjoy the rest of your summer!