Board:  OCR

Course Aims

The specification aims to encourage and to extend an enjoyment and appreciation of English Literature based on an informed personal response to a wide range of texts.

Course Details

A Levels from 2015 – linear assessment

The new A Level will be fully linear so assessment of a student’s knowledge and understanding will take place at the end of two years of study.

Proposed changes to AS Levels

The new AS Level qualification, for first teaching in September 2015, will not count towards the final grade of an A Level, but will be a separate, standalone qualification in its own right.

Course Content (A Level)

  • A minimum of 8 texts studied
  • An unseen element
  • Unseen text preparation is not included in the 8 texts studied
  • 3 texts pre-1900 inc. Shakespeare
  • A Post-2000 text
  • Component 1: Shakespeare, and Drama and Poetry pre-1900
  • Component 2: Close Reading, Comparative and Contextual Study
  • Component 3: Comparative Essay Coursework (20%)

Course Content (AS Level)

  • A minimum of 4 texts studied
  • No coursework
  • Component 1: Shakespeare and Poetry pre-1900
  • Component 2: Drama post-1900 and Prose post-1900

English Literature Requirements

  • An A Grade in both English Language and English Literature
  • An interest in reading 
  • A student should enjoy exploring the issues inherent in the texts such as characterisation, the language and the social, historical and cultural contexts of the text
  • Writing - a fluent, accurate style is essential

Student Profile

  • Independent minded
  • Will challenge opinions and ideas
  • Good at shaping and creating written arguments
  • Enjoys all aspects of culture, popular and otherwise: cinema, television, theatre, music
  • Is hardworking

Teaching Approaches

  • Shared 50/50 between 2 senior members of the English Department
  • Group work/individual preparation for seminar
  • Written, reading and research/preparation homework

English Literature beyond A Level

English Literature is widely regarded as one of the most rigorous of academic disciplines and is accepted in higher education as an indication of a student who is fascinated by and able to assimilate new ideas, and one who is able to communicate articulately both orally and in writing.

Science degree courses, including those at Oxbridge, will accept an AS or A2 in English Literature as an indication of a well-rounded student.

Careers and Support Subjects

The list is endless. An English Literature A level is widely-regarded as an academically rigorous course and all universities offer a huge range of courses which comprise modules of English Literature, ranging from single honours in the subject to such courses as English Literature with Drama/Theatre Studies/Film/a modern foreign language/Business Studies and many others.  The choice is extensive.  Career opportunities are many but include teaching, law, politics, journalism, television and radio, film, business administration, management, advertising, sales, tourism and leisure.  A degree with English Literature opens hundreds of doors.