Ideally, students wishing to study A-Level English Literature would have already attained a grade 6 or above in both GCSE English Language and GCSE English Literature. The minimum requirement is grade 5 in the aforementioned GCSEs but only students with a genuine passion for literature should consider this A-Level.
This specification has a distinct philosophy which centres on different ways of reading and the connections that exist between texts within a literary genre. Students gain a solid understanding of how texts can be connected and how they can be interpreted in multiple ways so that students can arrive at their own interpretations and become confident autonomous readers. Students are equipped with the knowledge and skills needed for exams, but also experience a rich, challenging and coherent approach to English literature that provides an excellent basis for further study in the subject.
The specification encourages the exploration of texts in a number of different ways:
the study of literature within a specific genre
the study of various texts, chosen from a set text list
writing about texts in a number of different ways.
Literary Genres: Aspects of Tragedy
Students study three texts (Othello, Death of a Salesman and The Great Gatsby) plus a collection of poems that have connections the tragedy genre. Students are assessed via two exams (each worth 50%):-
Exam 1: Drama texts (Othello / Death of a Salesman). A closed book exam which comprises of 2 tasks (1hr30)
Exam 2: Poetry and Prose (The Great Gatsby / Poetry). An open book exam which comprises of 2 tasks (1hr30)
Paper 1: Literary Genres
Choice of options:
1a: Aspects of Tragedy
1b: Aspects of Comedy
Students study three texts: One Shakespeare text, a second drama text and one further text, of which one must be written pre 1900.
Students are assessed via a closed book written examination which is worth 40% of A Level.
Paper 2: Texts and Genres
Choice of two options:
Option 2a: Elements of Crime Writing
Option 2b: Elements of Political Writing
Study of three texts: one post 2000 prose text, one poetry and one further text, one of which must be written pre 1900.
Students are assessed via an open book examination which is worth 40% of A Level.
Study of two texts, one poetry and one prose text, informed by study of the Critical Anthology.
Two essays of 1250-1500 words, each responding to a different text and a different aspect of the Critical Anthology.
This is worth 20% of A Level.
English Literature is a traditional, academic subject which is very well-respected by universities and employers. In the long term, a degree in the subject can lead into a diverse range of careers including journalism, politics, teaching and the performing arts.
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