Study option                                   Exam board                         Specification code

A Level two-year course                  Edexcel                                              9ETO

Why choose English literature?

This course is designed to enable you to read, understand and enjoy texts of different kinds from different periods of history.

We look at texts in their literary, cultural and historical context as well as studying individual works of prose, poetry and drama in considerable detail. Throughout the course you will develop the skills of close reading and learn how to express your ideas clearly and logically in essays and written analyses. Lessons include discussion and debate, making the subject a lively and interactive experience at this level. In literary interpretation there is often no right or wrong answer!

Where can it lead?

English literature goes well with any other arts subject at A Level. It develops the skills of writing clearly and accurately, researching and analysing evidence, expressing views and opinions and evaluating the views of others – all relevant to university study and to careers such as law, journalism, marketing or management.

What will I study and how will I be assessed?

The structure of this A Level is based on a linear two-year course with all assessments in the second year of the course.

 The Edexcel course has four units of study; three examined components based on literary genres and a fourth coursework component.

 Component 1: Drama

  • One Shakespeare play (either comedy or tragedy)
  • One other play (comedy or tragedy) from a list of set texts
  • Two questions, one on each play – 2 hours 15 minutes, 30% weighting

 Component 2: Prose

  • Two prose texts from a chosen theme, including at least one pre-1900 text
  • The current theme chosen is ‘Women in Society’ and the texts studied are ‘Tess of the D’Urbervilles’ by Thomas Hardy and ‘Mrs Dalloway’ by Virginia Woolf.
  • Themes and texts may change from year to year.
  • One comparative essay question on the texts studied – one hour, 20% weighting

 Component 3: Poetry

  • A selection of poetry from a post-2000 collection
  • A range of poetry from a literary period OR
  • A range of poetry by a named poet from within a literary period
  • Two questions, one on each text – 2 hours 15 minutes, 30% weighting

 Component 4: Coursework

  • One extended comparative essay on two linked texts, from a free choice across all literary genres and periods
  • 2500 – 3000 words, 20% weighting

Are there any specific entry requirements?

You should have at least a B grade in IGCSE (or GCSE) English literature.