A Level Course Structure

Course Leaflet

The structure of the Course

We currently offer the OCR specification. Students complete the A Level course over two years. They sit all externally examined units at the end of the two year course.
The aims of the OCR specification are to encourage learners to develop their interest in and enjoyment of literature and literary studies as they:

  • read widely and independently both set texts and others that they have selected for themselves
  • engage critically and creatively with a substantial body of texts and ways of responding to them
  • develop and effectively apply their knowledge of literary analysis and evaluation in writing
  • explore the contexts of the texts they are reading and others’ interpretations

A Level Components

Component 1 (40% of total A Level)

  • Shakespeare – Hamlet

You will answer two questions worth 15 marks each.

  • Drama and poetry pre-1900 – Christina Rossetti poetry and The Duchess of Malfi

You will answer one question worth 30 marks from a choice of six questions.

Component 2 (40% of total A Level)

  • Close reading in chosen topic area – Women in Literature

You will answer one question worth 30 marks about how the unseen extract relates to your chosen topic.

  • Comparative and contextual study from chosen topic area

You will answer one question worth 30 marks from a choice of three on the two texts you have studied (Jane Eyre and Sense and Sensibility).

Component 3 (worth 20% of total A Level)

  • Close reading analysis (Wilfred Owen’s war poetry)

You will answer one question on the chosen text for your coursework essay.

  • Comparative essay (World War One literature)

You will answer one question on the chosen texts for your coursework essay.

English Person Specification

Our ideal English Literature students will:

  • Love reading, as often and widely as possible
  • Have creative minds
  • Be empathetic individuals
  • Enjoy working independently
  • Like taking part in discussion and be confident enough to share their ideas
  • Have a strong opinion about their set texts, which will be conveyed through their essay writing
  • Enjoy learning about various different time periods, cultures and values, and consider how they are reflected in the texts studied as part of the course
  • Be hardworking students who have excellent time-management skills, in order to juggle the extensive level of independent reading, researching and essay writing that will be set by subject teachers throughout the course
  • Want to develop their critical thinking and analytical skills

Many of our English Literature students often enter into careers in:

  • Education
  • Journalism
  • TV presenting
  • Politics
  • Advertising and Marketing
  • Film and Media Production, including script-writing
  • Publishing
  • Writing

Wider Reading List

Margaret Atwood, The Handmaid’s Tale, The Testaments

Jane Austen, Emma/Persuasion/Pride and Prejudice

Pat Barker, Regeneration/The Ghost Road

Julian Barnes, A History of the World in 10 ½ Chapters

Louis de Bernieres, Captain Corelli’s Mandolin

Emily Bronte, Wuthering Heights

Angela Carter, The Bloody Chamber

Charles Dickens/Great Expectations

Daphne Du Maurier, Rebecca

George Eliot, The Mill on the Floss/Middlemarch

Sebastian Faulks, Birdsong

F.Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby

E.M Forster, A Room with a View

Elizabeth Gaskell, North and South/Wives and Daughters

Thomas Hardy, Far from the Madding Crowd, Tess of the D’Urbervilles

Khaled Hosseini, A Thousand Splendid Suns/The Kite Runner

Kazou Ishiguro, Never Let Me Go

James Joyce, Dubliners/Ulysses

Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird

Ian McEwan, Atonement/Enduring Love

Vladimir Nobokov, Lolita

David Nicholls, One Day

Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar

Sylvia Rhys, Wide Sargasso Sea

J.D Salinger, The Catcher in the Rye

Mary Shelley, Frankenstein

Zadie Smith, White Teeth

Bram Stoker, Dracula

Leo Tolstoy, Anna Karenina/War and Peace

Alice Walker, The Colour Purple

H.G Wells, The War of the Worlds

Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Grey

Jeanette Winterson, Oranges are not the only Fruit

Mary Wollstonecraft, A Vindication of the Rights of Women

Virginia Woolf, Mrs Dalloway