English Literature

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English Literature

English Literature A Level is highly regarded by universities because it demonstrates that you can organise sound arguments that are relevant and logically presented, and that you have highly developed critical and analytical skills. English Literature explores those texts that are generally thought of as ‘art’ – poems, plays and novels. It is a course well suited to individuals who read for pleasure and who enjoy discussing what they read.

English Literature is regarded as a ‘facilitating subject’ by universities – that is, it is of sufficient quality to count for applications in any subject to Russell Group universities. Students have gone on to study a very wide range of subjects at university. In addition to English and related subjects, you can read for degrees in such subjects as Anthropology and Archaeology, Biology, Chemistry, Criminology, Law, Mathematics, Modern Languages, Physics, Psychology, Theatre, Film and Television to name just a few. English Literature is an interesting and highly valued course that will open up a wide range of possibilities for the future.

Entry requirements

The general entry requirements for studying at Advanced Level apply, and must include a minimum of grade 6 in English Literature GCSE.

Course structure

This is a two year programme of study leading to A level.  

Course content

Course Content

AQA English Literature Spec B

There are three components.

Component 1 is called "Aspects of Comedy". Here students will explore the comedic genre and will focus on three texts including a Shakespearean comedy and Oscar Wilde's 'The Importance of Being Earnest'. This component is worth 40% of the A level.

Component 2 is called "Elements of Crime Writing". Here students will explore the crime genre and will focus on three texts including "Atonement" by Ian McEwan and "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner" by Coleridge. This component is worth 40% of the A-level.

Component 3 is the non-exam assessment. Here students will write two essays of 1250–1500 words, each responding to a different text (one poetry text and one prose text). One of the essays can be a piece of re-creative writing. The re-creative piece will be accompanied by a commentary. This component is worth 20% of the A-level.

How is the course is taught?

You will be taught by a team of two teachers and much of the work in class is done in discussion groups - both large and small - with topics sometimes being presented by students themselves or through the use of a variety of media. Reading and some writing of essays take place out of class, and, in addition, you are offered individual support workshops, background lectures, theatre visits and other extra-curricular opportunities.


AQA English Literature Spec B - Two written examinations (80%) and two pieces of coursework (20%). 

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