English Literature (A Level)


Introduction to Course

English Literature is an engaging and challenging A Level course; it is highly regarded by universities and employers as a traditional academic subject and solid foundation for a variety of pathways. In English Literature, students read and respond to texts based on WWI including Sherriff’s Journey’s End, Barker’s Life Class and a collection of poetry. Students also enjoy reading Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby and Shakespeare’s Othello as part of the ‘Love through the Ages’ unit. Students also have the exciting opportunity to explore their own literary interests through the coursework component. The variety of texts studied and the assessment styles used (passage-based questions, unseen material, single-text questions, multiple-text questions, open- and closed-book approaches) allow students to develop a wide range of skills, such as the ability to read critically, analyse, evaluate and undertake independent research which are valuable for both further study and future employment.

Exam Board/Specification

AQA Specification A


Year 12 English Literature Curriculum Map

Year 13 English Literature Curriculum Map

  • Paper 1 – Love Through the Ages: Poetry, Prose and Shakespeare
  • Paper 2 – Texts in Shared Contexts: WWl and its aftermath
  • Coursework – Independent Critical Study: Texts Across Time


Paper 1: 3 hours (40%). Open book in Sec. C only

  • Sec. A: Shakespeare One passage-based question with linked essay (25 marks)
  • Sec. B: Unseen poetry Compulsory essay question on two unseen poems (25 marks)
  • Sec. C: Comparing texts One essay question linking two texts (25 marks)

Paper 2: 2 hours 30 minutes (40%). Open book.

  • Sec. A: Set texts One essay question on set text (25 marks)
  • Sec. B: Contextual linking One question on an unseen extract (25 marks) and one essay question linking two texts (25 marks)

Coursework (20%)

One extended essay comparing two texts, at least one of which must have been written pre-1900. (2,500 words) and a bibliography.

Progression Routes

English acts as a good foundation for all further education and employment pathways given its focus on analytical and extended writing skills, however popular progression routes include Law, Education, Journalism, Creative Writing, Media and PR.