English Literature (Edexcel)

Studying English Literature at A Level will give you immense pleasure, inspire your curiosity, improve your

writing skills and develop your proficiency as an informed and critical reader.

The A Level in English Literature is designed to build and go beyond the skills that you will have developed at GCSE, progressing to close textual analysis, contextual awareness and critical appreciation. Throughout your A Level study, you will explore a range of texts, all taken from the literary canon. You will also learn how to write critically about a wide range of plays, prose and poetry; you will be encouraged to question critical views, to read widely and to take part in presentations and discussions.

A Level English Literature is an academic qualification that is highly valued by universities and employers and will particularly suit students wishing to study all forms of English, humanities subjects or law at degree level. The course can lead to careers in PR and marketing, journalism, teaching, law, publishing and many others.

Component 1: Drama

For this unit students will study two plays based on the theme of tragedy, which will require an understanding of the genre and context, as well as the text itself. This is an open book exam where students will need to use critical views and theories to enhance their study and exploration of Shakespeare.

Assessment: Written exam, 2 hours 15 mins.  30% of A Level

Component 2: Prose

This is an open book examination. Students will be required to write one comparative essay based on two prose texts from the chosen theme of ‘Science and Society’, at least one must be pre-1900.

Assessment: Written exam, 1 hour, 20% of A Level

Component 3: Poetry

In this unit, students will study one named poet or poetic movement, a range of poems from a 21st Century anthology (Poems of the Decade) and a selection of unseen poems. This is an open book exam where students will compare the poems they have studied.

Assessment: Written exam, 2 hours 15 mins- 30% of A Level

Component 4: Coursework

A highlight of the A level course is that students are able to write one extended comparative essay as coursework, where they are given a choice to choose their own text to accompany a chosen text.

Assessment: An essay comprising 2500-3000 words on two texts (one of which is the student’s choice) which equates to 20% of the overall grade.

Minimum Entry Requirements: Five GCSEs at Grade 5 or above, including Grade 6 in GCSE English Language and GCSE English Literature.

Please note that the texts referenced above may change depending on teacher choice.

Updated September 2023