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English Literature A Level at Beaminster School

Course description

English Literature is a rich and rewarding subject which gives you the opportunity to study a wide range of exhilarating and important texts.  A love of reading is vital, as well as a desire to explore challenging language, different interpretations, complex theories and to discuss ideas.  This qualification is linear.  This means you will sit all the AS exams at the end of the AS course (if applicable) and all the A-level exams (including AS units) at the end of the A-level course. 

Attainment at AS does not contribute to your terminal grade at A level.

You will be expected to read at least 8 texts in detail during the two year course.  You will also be expected to read widely around the texts, exploring contexts, theories and different interpretations. Texts offered include:

Course content

Year 1 (AS and A Level)

PAPER 1 – Closed Book Examination – Literary Genres: Drama (50%, 90 minutes)

Two options, tragedy or comedy.  One passage-based question on Shakespeare and another question on a set drama text.  

PAPER 2 – Open Book Examination – Literary Genres: Prose and Poetry (50%, 90 minutes

Again, based on the options above, one question on set poetry and another on prose.

NB: if an AS is taken at the end of Year 1 some additional, independent work will be required.  This will be discussed at your Sixth Form interview.


Year 2 (A Level)

PAPER 1 – Closed book – Literary Genres (40%, 2 hr 30 minutes)

Tragedy / comedy options.   One passage-based question on Shakespeare, one essay based question on Shakespeare and one essay linking two texts (three questions, each 25 marks)

PAPER 2 – Open book – Texts and Genres (40%, 3 hrs)

Option of Elements of Crime and Elements of political and social protest. Three questions, one compulsory unseen passage; one essay question on set text and essay connecting texts

Non-exam assessment (coursework, 20%): Theory and independence

Study of two texts (one poetry and one prose) informed by study of the AQA Critical Anthology.  Two essays of 1,250-1,500 words, each responding to a different text and linking to a different aspect of the Critical anthology. One essay can be re-creative.  The re-creative piece will be accompanied by a commentary.

Entry requirements

Student are required to have achieved B grades at English GCSE

Students who have not gained this grade May be considered at the discretion of the Head of 6th Form.


You will be assessed through classwork and homework.  You will be set assessment tasks linked to the Assessment Objectives periodically during the academic year.

Coursework deadlines: March / April (available for A2 only).

Exam date: June (both AS and A2).

How to apply

If you want to apply for this course, you will need to contact Beaminster School directly.

Last updated date: 06 September 2016
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