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Inspiring Young People

English Literature

Course Overview

Students of English Literature at A Level will explore the relationships between texts and the contexts within which they are written and understood. This specification privileges the power of the reader to make meaning, encouraging students to challenge the interpretations of other readers.

Entry Requirements

A minimum of a grade 6 at GCSE for English and English Literature is required for A Level English Literature.

A Level Topics and Assessment

‘Love through the Ages’ – Students will explore the theme of love as seen over time by reading four set texts, including one Shakespeare play, an anthology of love poetry and one prose text.

‘Texts in Shared Contexts’ – Students will explore three set texts from a specific period of time, including one prose, one poetry and one drama text.

AQA Exam

Paper 1: Love through the ages

Paper 2: Texts in shared  contexts

NEA:Independent Critical Study


Written Exam:

3 Hours

Written Exam:

2 Hours 30 Minutes

One  extended essay


75 marks in total

40% of A Level

75 marks in total

40% of A Level

50 marks in total

20% of A Level

Beyond the Classroom and Future Prospects

Students of A Level English Literature have the opportunity to take part in extra-curricular activities, such as debating and writing competitions and primary school liaison projects.

Trips to the theatre are offered, to venues such as ‘The Lowry’, 'Picturehouse at Fact’ and ‘The Everyman’. Trips to explore an author’s biographical background in their hometown may also be on offer.

An English Literature A Level can lead to a career in many professions, including Teaching, the Performing Arts, Law, Social Work and Human Resources.

Student Experience

I would recommend English Literature A Level to anyone who loves to read. It gives you opportunities for theatre trips, and discussion of interesting new themes in poetry, novels and plays.