The course focuses on developing critical and creative literary skills through engagement with a range of prose, poetry and drama texts from Chaucer to the present day. The Advanced GCE is made up of four mandatory components: Component 1 is drama, worth 30% of the overall mark. This features the study of a Shakespeare play (such as King Lear) and one further drama text (last year, students studied the twentieth century play, A Streetcar Named Desire. Component 2 (20%) is prose, the comparison of two novels, such as Frankenstein and War of the Worlds, or The Handmaids Tale and Frankenstein. Component 3 is poetry, worth 30%. Here students will study a collection of post-2000 poems and the poetry of an earlier period. Component 4 is coursework, worth 20%, and is a 2,500-3,000 word essay comparing two texts.
Sometimes, texts are covered by directed close analysis with note-taking and highlighting of key passages. Seminar sessions provide a great opportunity to debate issues in stimulating ways. Selected scenes may be dramatized in small groups. Essays are set regularly and ICT skills developed as you draft and polish coursework assignments. You are expected to read beyond the specification for evidence of how cultural and contextual factors and different interpretations illuminate your own reading of literature. There is an increased emphasis on exploring comparisons and contrasts between texts, establishing links to historical context and considering critical opinions. The subject extends in a natural way into a wide range of related courses in Higher Education. You will be able to use the skills developed in a variety of careers such as Law, General Management, the Media, or Education.
To study this course, you should have at least a Grade 6 in both English Language and English Literature at GCSE. Also, at least Grade 5 in GCSE Maths.
You could take this course to complement other Advanced Level courses, which could lead onto Higher Education in English related studies, or more general Higher Education courses. With further training, you could go into a job related to English Literature such as a Teacher, Journalist, Author or Poet. It will help you to develop the skills, understanding and knowledge that many employers across lots of industries are looking for.