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A Level English Literature

Head of Department: Mrs S. E. Parkin

Examination Board: OCR

Specification Code: H472

Course Entry Requirement: GCSE English Literature grade 6

Course Content:

The set texts range from those written in the 1300s to material published in the 21st century. Texts studied include: The Pardoner’s Prologue and Tale, Hamlet, Paradise Lost, Beloved, 1984 as well as many others. One delight of the course is the flexibility it offers individual students, and how it allows personal interests to be developed; there is a wonderful balance of teacher-led work and independent learning.

Any avid reader will enjoy the challenges presented by the course. Lessons involve discussion, open communication and students having their views challenged. There is a common misconception that English literature involves churning out many long essays! Of course, writing is a crucial element of the course, but only one of the skills taught and developed. Students need to be prepared to: give presentations; be involved in seminar style discussions; write clearly and effectively; read, reflect and critique and synthesise clear conclusions.

English literature is one of the 8 facilitating A-level subjects which the Russell Group of universities believes provides students access to a wide variety of degree choices.

The English literature course is wonderful for any student who has, and wishes to foster, opinions about people, culture and society. It is renowned as a subject that works with any other. There are many transferable skills taught on the course, including the construction of arguments, the development of understanding and empathy, and the ability to analyse complex information with the help of sophisticated ideas and theories.  Top universities regard English literature as a highly academic, challenging and facilitating subject.

Course assessment:

Terminal assessment takes place at the end of the second year.

Component 1: Shakespeare and Drama & Poetry pre-1900 / 2 hours 30 closed-text examination / 40% of A level

Component 2: Close reading in chosen topic area & Comparative and Contextual Study / 2 hours 30 closed-text examination / 40% of A level

Component 3: Critical Essay & Comparative Essay / 2 essay (3000 word) coursework folder / 20% of A level.

Who should study the subject?

English literature prepares students for any degree or career which requires close reading and analytical skills. The analytical and communication abilities that English A-level provides are transferable skills that are useful for almost any degree, qualification or career. Commonly literature students progress to read degrees in English, history, law, journalism and to careers in advertising, HR and management.

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