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A Level

English Literature AS & A Level

Subject Area
Start Date
September 2023
Study Mode
2 years
Level 3

We follow the AQA English Literature B specification, and have chosen options focusing on Comedy and Political and Social Protest Writing. Within the study of Comedy in the first year students explore concepts such as the role of the hero, how language highlights comedy with wit and wordplay, and how structure leads from disorder to order, often involving marriage.

Within the study of Political and Social Protest Writing in the second year we consider issues of power and powerlessness, political and social protest issues, the pursuit of power itself, rebellion against those with power, gender politics and issues of social class. The texts chosen come from genres of drama, prose and poetry and include works from both before and after 1900.

Entry requirements

A minimum of 4 subjects at grade 5 or above at GCSE plus English Language at grade 6 or above.

What will I study?

Year One

Paper One: Literary Genres: Drama
Based on Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew and Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest.

Paper Two: Literary Genres: Prose and Poetry
Based on Jane Austen’s Emma and a selection of poetry from the AQA anthology.

Year Two

Paper One: Literary Genres
Based on The Taming of the Shrew, The Importance of Being Earnest and Emma.

Paper Two: Texts and Genres - Political and Social Protest Writing
Based on Blake’s Songs of Innocence and Experience, Jim Crace’s Harvest and Henrik Ibsen’s A Doll’s House.

Non-examined Assessment: Theory and Independence
Alongside AQA’s Critical Anthology which contains a range of texts, you will study texts including Chaucer’s The Miller’s Tale, Christina Rosetti’s The Goblin Market, Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights and George Orwell’s 1984. You will produce two essays, for example considering the role of gender or the treatment of the environment in the texts studied or in one of your own choosing.

Method of delivery

You will follow the standard A Level model of delivery with three 90-minute lessons a week. Lessons will include activities such as taking notes, class and group discussion, reading and research, essay practice and a chance to improve your own personal writing style.

How will I be assessed?

At the end of Year 12 for the AS examination assessment is 100% terminal examination, with two papers worth 50% each.

At the end of Year 13 there are two terminal examinations (each worth 40% of the final grade). The Non-examined Assessment is worth 20% of the final grade.

Good course combinations

This course combines well with most A Levels, particularly essay writing subjects such as Modern Languages, History, Psychology, Sociology, Drama & Theatre Studies and Film Studies.

Your next steps

Degree level study in areas such as English, journalism, creative and media industries, public relations, museum work, civil service, law etc. Past students have gone on to study English at Oxford, Cambridge, Newcastle, Birmingham, UEA, Manchester and other top universities.

Daisy, English Literature student

"English Literature has not only allowed me to explore a wide range of texts but also dive into feminism, Marxism and ecocriticism. I most enjoy the spontaneous class discussions, prompted by the texts, that relate to real-life situations and events. My tutors have inspired and supported me, making each lesson enjoyable and thought-provoking."

English Literature A Level
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