English Literature

What will you do on this course?

Over the course of the two years, students will be exposed to a range of texts from around the world. One of the most attractive aspects of the AQA A syllabus is the fact that it offers flexibility to both teachers and learners. A sample of the texts studies could include: ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’, The Great Gatsby’, ‘Othello’, ‘A Streetcar Named Desire’ and a range of poetry from across time. As well as reading these texts, students will be expected to have informed opinions about them, debate  the various merits of different interpretations and develop an academic writing style.

How will you be assessed?

The course is assessed through both exams at the end of the second year and via a coursework (non-examined assessment) component. Each exam is worth 40% of the overall A Level with the non-examined assessment counting for 20% of the overall grade.

Paper 1: Love through the ages examines shifting attitudes towards love and relationships. Paper 1 is split into three sections: Shakespeare, Unseen Poetry, and a third (open book) section where students must compare two texts.

Paper 2: Texts in shared contexts takes a historical approach to three texts (prose, poetry and drama) and explores how texts are shaped by society and how Literature can be a voice of change and protest in the world. Paper 2 is an open book exam and is split into two sections. Section 1 asks students to answer a question on their core set text. Section   2 requires that students answer a question on an unseen extract and then answer a comparative question on the two other texts they have studied for this unit.

The non-examined assessment allows the students an independent study of literature across time and culminates in the student writing a 2,500 word  essay comparing two texts.

What could this course lead to?

While there is no one career that takes precedence, it is likely that students with good qualifications in English will find themselves in industries where strong analytical and communication skills are key. The Media, Publishing, Law, Teaching, Academic Research, Politics, the Charity Sector and Advertising are just a few of the employment routes open to people with a background in English Literature.

What syllabus do you follow?

AQA