Why choose this subject?

English Literature enables students to study a plethora of thought-provoking materials. It gives students the opportunity to discuss themes, characters and narrative structures of texts whilst reflecting on what this reveals about human nature and the world we live in. Many of the texts studied will come from different eras of history. However, the universal concepts and ideas will capture the imagination and help students develop their own interpretations of seminal literary works.

How will this subject be delivered?

Study includes a broad range of poetry, prose and drama from various periods of time, including Shakespeare and modern fiction. Students will be expected to read a wide range of texts. Lessons will be largely discussion based and teacher led. Students are also given the opportunity to sharpen their presentation skills and oracy.

Students will be issued with an essential reading list when opting for this course.

How is it assessed?

A Level
Paper 1: Study of three texts through the lens of tragedy: one Shakespeare text; a second drama text and one further text, of which one must be written pre-1900.
• Written Exam: 2 hours 30 minutes.
• Closed Book exam.
• 40% of A Level.

Paper 2: Study of three texts, focused either on Elements of Crime Writing or Social and Political Protest Writing: one post-2000 prose text; one poetry and one further text, one of which must be written pre-1900. Examination will include an unseen passage.
• Written exam: 3 hours.
• Open Book exam.
• 40% of A Level.

Non-exam assessment: Theory and independent study of two texts – one poetry and one prose text, informed by study of the critical anthology. Two essays of 1,250–1,500 words, each responding to a different text and linking to a different aspect of the critical anthology
• 20% of A Level
• Assessed by teacher.

Subject specific entry requirements?

Ideally students will have gained a grade 6 or above in English and English Literature at GCSE.


A Level English Literature is recognised and welcomed by all universities as a facilitating subject. The study of literature could lead to careers including journalism, teaching, writing, politics, acting or marketing.

Additional costs relating to this course

Students will need to purchase their own copies of set texts.

Level: A LEVEL

Board: AQA