English Literature

Course Information

English Literature is the study of texts from a broad context of literary tradition. Its core energies are independence of study, critical reflection and coherent expression. As an A-Level Literature student, you will develop knowledge of texts from the fifteenth to the twenty-first century and will study the moral, social, ethical and cultural thinking of the times in which those texts were created. Your principal skills will be shaped by the focus on informed insight when reading and by the need for accurate explanation when writing.

You will develop talents you are already showing in your GCSE study but you will increase the breadth and bulk of the texts you can handle reliably and you will learn to control the structure and purpose of your writing as you extend its scale to deal with the five Assessment Objectives in the new syllabus. In particular, one component, worth 20% of the total marks for A-Level, will give you the opportunity to pursue your own study of prose texts in a 2500-3500 word study. The skillset developed is academically robust and valuable in a range of university disciplines post-19, as well as being relevant to employment wherever analysis and expression are required.

The new A-level course is linear, two years in duration, and your exams will all be at the end of the course. There will be an AS examination at the end of Year 12. The AS is not 'cashed-in' to contribute to A-Level, but is a separate exam. Your Poetry and Drama texts from Year 12 are re-used for the A-level at the end of Year 13, and the techniques of studying Prose in Year 12 will enrich the unseen and the coursework elements of A-level study. English Literature is one of several subjects which have changed nationally to a new format for 2015-1017. All other subjects will follow.

The new syllabus has four components. Much of the material is familiar to our students currently taking A-level, although it is organised differently for the new end-of-course examinations. You can talk to current Year 12 and 13 students about the courses and they will recognise many of the texts you are going to study.

Component 1: Poetry – 30% of qualification. This is a two hour ‘open-book’ exam in two sections. The first section is Pre-1900 Poetry: the second section is Post-1900 Poetry. It is likely we will study Chaucer’s The Merchant’s Tale in section 1 with Philip Larkin and Carol Ann Duffy in section 2.

Component 2: Drama – 30% of qualification. This is a ‘closed-book’ examination, also in two sections. The first section is Shakespeare and the second section gives us a pair of plays from before and after 1900. It is likely that Hamlet will be studied for the Shakespeare section, while the second section involves a choice between authors such as Marlowe, Joe Orton, Harold Pinter and Lucy Prebble.

Component 3: Unseen – 20% of qualification. The first unseen section is a question on a prose passage taken from a period set for study. We will have prepared the context, but we will not know the text in advance. The two periods set for study are 1880-1910, and 1918-1939. This is a new kind of question for the A-level exam.

The second unseen section is a question on an unseen poem. This is similar to the LT4 paper in the current syllabus and is quite familiar to current students.

Component 4: Prose Study – 20% of qualification. This non-exam component gives you the chance to study independently. You will be writing about two prose texts in your 2500-3500 word study. These can be novels, short-story collections, autobiography and memoir, travel writing or essays. One prose text must be published pre-2000, and the other must be published post-2000. This is where you can pursue your own interest in modern reading to be accredited for the qualification.

Entry Requirements

This is an interesting but challenging course and is highly regarded by all universities. Students will need to have a genuine interest in literature, a love of reading, and a desire to discuss their opinions and critical ideas. A grade B in GCSE English and English Literature is required.

Career Pathway

Jobs directly related to your degree include: Editorial assistant, English as a foreign language teacher , Lexicographer, Magazine journalist , Newspaper journalist, Primary school teacher, Secondary school teacher and Writer.

Jobs where your degree would be useful include: Academic librarian, Advertising account executive, Advertising copywriter , Arts administrator, Information officer, Marketing executive, Public relations officer and Records manager.

Should you like to receive any additional information on this course please contact

Mr Darin Williams – Faculty Director and Learning Lead

Newent Community School and Sixth Form Centre, Registered in England and Wales under number 08153177. Registered Office: Watery Lane,Newent,Gloucestershire GL18 1QF
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