With study guides and test prep for many popular classic novels, SparkNotes.com is often a student’s go-to studying source when it comes to navigating high-school English courses. For students struggling through Salinger or muddling through Macbeth, the hundreds of study guides available in SparkNotes’ library can help to better students’ understanding of literature when lessons and teachers just don’t make sense.
McNicholas students rely on Sparknotes for multiple reasons. While some use it to genuinely try to understand the novel, others may just use the resource to cram last- minute for a test. Sparknotes can be used for both positive and negative reasons.
Senior Emily Fortin uses SparkNotes to help strengthen her learning. “Sparknotes is a helpful studying resource,” Fortin said. “It helps me understand my English literature and study vocabulary words for every class.”
Although Sparknotes can be helpful, it can also have negative effects on students. Senior Sarah Emig uses Sparknotes and understands the negative effects.
“A lot of teachers don’t like it because then they don’t read the book,” Emig said. “I like Sparknotes because it provides a different level of understanding.”
English teacher Meloney Feldkamp prefers her students to read the assignment instead of using Sparknotes. “Teachers don’t like students using Sparknotes because they fear the students will read the notes instead of reading the assignment.”
However, Feldkamp added that the information provided by SparkNotes doesn’t always stay true to the stories. “I have seen several mistakes in Sparknotes,” Feldkamp said. “The mistakes I remember give incorrect information about characters.”