A Level English Literature

Exam board: OCR (H472)

Qualifications needed to start the course

 

Course Specification

A Level English Literature builds on the knowledge, understanding and skills established at GCSE, introducing learners to the discipline of advanced literary studies.

 

Type of learning required and skills involved

  • Students will need to show knowledge and understanding of the ways in which writers shape meanings in texts; the different ways texts are interpreted by different readers, including over time; the ways in which texts relate to literary traditions and the significance of contextual influences on readers and writers.

 

Assessment and Examination

A level

Students must study a minimum of eight texts, including at least two examples of each of the genres of prose, poetry and drama. These must include:

  • at least three texts published before 1900, including at least one text by Shakespeare
  • at least one work first published or performed after 2000
  • at least one unseen text.

All students are required to complete the following:

The Component 1 exam requires students to write an essay on a Shakespeare play and an essay comparing a play and poetry from pre-1900. The exam is worth 60 marks (40 per cent of the total A Level) and is 2 hours 30 minutes long.

The Component 2 exam consists of a close reading of an unseen passage from one of the following chosen topic areas: American Literature 1880-1940, The Gothic, Dystopia, Women in Literature, The Immigrant Experience, and an essay comparing two texts from this chosen topic area. The exam is worth 60 marks (40 per cent of the total A Level) and is 2 hours 30 minutes long.

Both the above exams are closed text (where books are not allowed).

Component 3 is a coursework element on Literature post-1900. Students must submit a close reading or re-creative writing piece with commentary and a comparative essay of two texts.  This component is worth 40 marks (20 per cent of the total A Level).

AS Level

Students are required to study a minimum of four texts at AS Level including at least one example of each of the genres of prose, poetry and drama. These must include at least one text published before 1900.

The Component 1 exam requires students to write an essay on a Shakespeare play and an essay on poetry pre-1900. The exam is worth 60 marks (50 per cent of the total AS Level) and is 1 hour 30 minutes long.

The Component 2 exam requires students to write an essay on the play they have studied and an essay on one post-1900 novel making connections with a thematically-linked unseen prose extract. The exam is worth 60 marks (50 per cent of the total AS Level) and is 1 hour 45 minutes long.

Both the above exams are closed text (where books are not allowed).

Future Prospects

English Literature A Level is one of the Russell Group of universities ‘facilitating’ subjects. Students who study English Literature A Level go on to a wide range of careers including journalism, teaching, advertising and public relations, the arts and the civil service.