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English Literature AS / A Level

Studying English literature invites you to enjoy and read in depth some significant works in the three major genres of plays, poems and novels and to learn how to write well focused academic essays on them. There will be particular concern with the contexts within which these works were written and the different interpretations to which they are open. A strong feature of the subject lies in bringing texts together through comparison.

Exam Board: Edexcel

STARTS IN SEPTEMBER

  • What will I study and learn?

    You will engage critically and creatively with a range of exciting texts and develop your knowledge of literary analysis. You will explore the connections and relationships between texts, the attitudes and values of writers and deepen your understanding of the changing traditions of English. You will study three components: drama, poetry and prose, as well as having the opportunity to create an original extended essay on two coursework texts.


    At AS Level you will study two units:

    • Component 1: Drama and Poetry You will study a selection of poems from a published poetry text. You will develop your understanding of poetic form, content and meaning and your ability to make links and connections within your studied collection. You will also study aspects of the form of drama via one play. You will need to explore the use of literary and dramatic devices and the shaping of meanings in your chosen play.

    • Component 2: Prose You will study aspects of prose via two thematically linked texts, at least one of which must be pre-1900. Literary study of both texts selected for this component should incorporate the links and connections between them, and the contexts in which they were written and received.

    For the full A Level, you will build on the skills learnt at AS over Four Components, extending your reading of some first year texts and analysing new texts.

      Component 1: Drama 

    • You will study aspects of the form of drama via two plays. The central focus of the drama study is the literary text. You will need to explore the use of literary and dramatic devices and the shaping of meanings in their chosen plays. You study a tragedy or comedy drama by Shakespeare and another tragedy or comedy drama.

    • Component 2: Prose

    • You will study aspects of prose via two thematically linked texts, at least one of which must be pre-1900. Literary study of both texts selected for this component should incorporate the links and connections between them, and the contexts in which they were written and received.

    • Component 3: PoetryYou will study a selection of poems from two published poetry texts. You will consider the concerns and choices of modern-day poets in a selection of contemporary poems. Your will apply your knowledge of poetic form, content and meaning, and develop your skills in comparing an unseen poem with an example of studied poetry.

      Coursework

    • Coursework will be assessed via two texts which may be drawn for poetry, drama, prose or non-fiction. There are no prescribed texts for this component and you are encouraged to develop your own questions which should ideally reflect interests and preferences that have arisen as a result of the prescribed course and wider independent reading.
  • How is the course assessed?

    Full A Level Exams (80%) and coursework (20%). AS Level 100% exams.
    Exam board:EdExcel

  • What courses would combine well with this course?

    It is not misleading to say that AS/A Level English literature combines well with any subject. It teaches the ability to read and write closely, intelligently and sensitively - skills that are very widely needed! Studying literature complements other discursive and essay writing subjects in the humanities, such as history or sociology AS/A Levels, and the focus on language makes it an obvious choice alongside modern languages. Equally, the imaginative and expressive quality of literature can provide an enjoyable contrast to science and maths subjects for a balanced programme. In various ways, the study of literature would support but not overlap with AS/A Level Media or Drama and Theatre Studies.

  • What skills will I need for the course?

    You need two main skills. The first is the ability and the willingness to enjoy reading different sorts of literature from different periods; you need to have the openness and the curiosity to see in what ways something written ten years ago and something written four hundred years ago can both speak to you significantly. The second is an ability to write clear and accurate English and a desire to extend the scope of your writing to explore and analyse how other people have written.

  • What formal entry requirements will I need?

    You will need an average GCSE points score of 5 including GCSE Englishat grade 5.

    Points calculation

    The average points score for entry to an A Level programme will be calculated using your 8 best GCSEs OR 6 GCSEs plus 1 technical qualification (equivalent to a maximum of 2 GCSEs and 10 points).

    From 2017 English Language, English Literature and Mathematics GCSE will be graded numerically (1 – 9. Grade 5 = a good grade C, grade 6 = grade B and grade 7 = grade A).

    To work out your average and find out more information, please see our Entry Requirements page.

  • What could the course lead to in higher education or careers?

    A Level English Literature combines well with any subject. You will learn how to read and write closely, intelligently and sensitively - skills that are very widely needed! This is a prestigious A Level to support entry to university study. It provides a secure basis for direct employment in many industries including journalism and the creative arts.

  • Are there any costs involved?

    £20-£25 per year should cover the cost for exam and coursework texts. You will need to pay for conferences and theatre visits and there will be £10 photocopying charge.

To Apply or Enquire

If you are interested in applying please fill out an application form. If you require more information please do not hesitate in sending us your queries via our enquiry form. We will endeavour to get back to you as soon as possible.

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A Level English Language

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“We have some really enjoyable class discussions in English Language which helps increase your confidence as well as your understanding of the subject. It’s nice to be able to share your opinions with classmates and not feel as though you’re being ignored. Drama is also great fun as my teachers make the lessons different and exciting.”

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