English Literature A Level

Languages, Literature and Culture

Languages, Literature and Culture
Languages, Literature and Culture
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What will you be working towards?

Qualification Type GCE A/AS Level or Equivalent
Qualification Level Level 3
Course type Full Time


You might have considered the idea of studying literature. You might like the thought of reading “great” texts. However, you could still be wondering what the point of studying English Literature might be. English Literature teaches us about universal truths. You will be able to take part in reading and writing about texts that interest, entertain and shock, both now and in their own contemporary lifetimes. We are surrounded by the written word in our everyday lives. This course encourages you to be critical about what you read more widely than in lessons.


A Level English Literature consists of three externally examined papers and one coursework component. The qualification requires the study of five literary texts plus unseen poetry.


Unit 1: Drama (30% of total qualification)

One Shakespeare play, either ‘Othello’ or ‘King Lear’ and one other drama from the genre of tragedy: ‘Dr Faustus’ or ‘A Streetcar Named Desire’. These plays will be studied alongside a critical anthology that will enrich the study of the selected play. Students will take a written examination lasting 2 hours and 15 minutes with closed books.


Unit 2: Prose (20% of total qualification)

Students will study two prose texts from a chosen theme, at least one prose text must be pre-1900. The selected theme will be either: childhood or the supernatural. The childhood texts will be chosen from: ‘Hard Times’ by Dickens and ‘Atonement’ by Ian McEwan or the supernatural: ‘Dracula’ by Bram Stoker and ‘The Little Stranger’ by Sarah Walters. This will be examined in a one hour examination with closed books.


Unit 3: Poetry (30% of total qualification)

Students will study a selection of modern poetry from ‘Poems of the Decade: An Anthology of the Forward Books of Poetry’ 2002-2011. In addition, they will study selected poems from the Romantics or the Romantic poet, John Keats. The poetry examination is 2 hours and 15 minutes with closed texts. This examination will include an unseen element/poem for students to analyse.


Unit 4 coursework (20% of total qualification)

This is internally assessed and students have a free choice of texts to study. These texts can be linked by theme, movement, author or period. The extended essay will be between 2500 – 3000 words.

How will it be delivered?

Please refer to the course content section.

Entry requirements

Level 6 or above in English Language and Literature GCSEs are advised. You should be aware that this course is entirely assessed on your ability to write critical and comparative essays.

All applications to Gravesend Grammar School Sixth Form must be made directly via our website. Our sixth form information evening is on Wednesday 13th January at 7pm, applications open on Thursday 14th January.

Your next steps...

You could take this course to complement other A level courses or to lead onto higher education to study English Literature or Language, Media or Film Studies, or other areas of the Arts or Humanities. With further training, you could go into a job related to English such as a career in the Media, entertainment industry, publishing, personnel, and public relations or, of course, teaching.