Curriculum Leader

Mrs F Marshall

Awarding Body

AQA Course Specification

Entry Requirements

Level 5 or above in English Language and Level 5 or above in English Literature at GCSE level.

Why choose English Literature?

Do you enjoy reading literature: fiction, poetry and drama? Do you enjoy reading the classics as well as modern literature? Do you enjoy exploring your own interests in reading, and discussing your ideas about literary texts with others? Do you want to study an English A Level using skills that are familiar from your GCSE studies?

Skills like reading with a critical eye, writing essay responses and developing your own views on literary texts. If so, English Literature would be a great choice.

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What will I learn in Year 12 and how will it be assessed?

Paper One - Love Through The Ages
40% of A Level

Three questions: one question on a passage of Shakespeare, a comparative question on two unseen poems, and an essay question linking two prose texts.

During this component, you will have the opportunity to study a wide range of aspects of love through the ages including: romantic love of many kinds; love and loss; social conventions and taboos; jealousy and guilt; truth and deception; proximity and distance; marriage; approval and disapproval. A range of ideas will be explored in each of the set texts for this unit.

Non- exam assessment: Independent Critical Study: Texts Across Time
20% of A Level

A 2500 word coursework essay comparing two texts, one of which must have been written pre-1900.

In texts across time, you will write a comparative critical study of two texts on a theme of your own choice. These themes could include, but are not limited to:

  • the struggle for identity
  • crime and punishment
  • minds under stress
  • the gothic
  • satire and dystopia
  • war and conflict
  • representations of sexuality
  • representations of gender
  • representations of social class and culture.

At the end of Y12 there will be internal end of year exams testing the full range of taught texts, concepts and ideas, as well as your application of literary terminology.

This is a new specification subject. The school’s policy is that students enrolling onto new specification courses will not be entered for external AS examinations at the end of Year 12. Please visit the FAQs for more information on new specifications, their UCAS tariff points and the ‘decoupling’ of AS/A2 grades.

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What will I learn in Year 13 English Literature and how will it be assessed?

Paper Two: Texts in Shared Contexts: Modern Times: Literature from 1945 to the Present Day
40% of A Level

Study of three texts: one poetry, one prose, one drama.
Section A will involve an essay question on a set text.
Section B involves a response to an unseen extract, and one essay question linking two texts.

You will have the opportunity to study many aspects of Modern Literature including: wars and the legacy of wars; personal and social identity; changing morality and social structures; gender, class, race and ethnicity; political upheaval and change; resistance and rebellion. In addition to these, you will be encouraged to engage with the social, political, personal and literary issues, which have helped to shape the latter half of the 20th century, and the early decades of the 21st century.

This is a ‘new specification’ subject. The overall result for each student completing this course to full A level standard will be based on the final Year 13 A level examinations only. Please visit the FAQs for more information on new specifications, their UCAS tariff points and their ‘decoupling’ of AS/A2 grades.

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How will I learn?

You will learn through opportunities to:

  • Discuss texts in pairs, groups and as a class
  • Independently research relevant topics and then present your findings to the group
  • Place texts in their context in order to better understand the reasons why the writers felt they had to express themselves in literature
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Students wishing to go on to study English subjects at university would find it valuable to take both English Language and English Literature as separate subjects, though English Literature alone is accepted by all universities.

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In common with all non-vocational A Levels, English Literature is suitable academic preparation for a wide variety of careers and particularly, those in which effective written communication is important. Publishing, marketing, journalism, teaching, law, information services and creative writing are all careers possible with strong grades in English Literature.

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Further Course Information

The course has a lot of reading involved across all three text types, prose, poetry and drama. Students should be willing and motivated to read widely across the course, including independent wider reading.

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