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English Literature A Level at Birkenhead Sixth Form College

Course description

Literature is language at its most expressive and insightful.  It has been suggested that through studying English Literature, “You develop the insight of an artist, the analytical precision of a scientist, and the persuasiveness of a lawyer” (Prof Moran, Brunel University). 

This course allows you address questions such as:

·         What can literature tells us about ourselves and our world?

·         How do texts written long ago continue to speak to us today?

·         What is distinctive about the way authors use language?

Is English Literature for you?
  • You must enjoy reading a wide range of literature including novels, plays and poetry. There will be an emphasis on independent reading as part of the course as you will study six texts each year and will be encouraged to read more widely.
  • You like linking books to their context – for instance what was happening in the world at the time?
  • You enjoy exploring how different readers have interpreted texts in different ways.
  • You want to be encouraged to think for yourself about the ideas and attitudes you will be reading about.
  • You want to improve your written communication skills.

Course content

AS Year

Prose: Pre-1900

You will study prose fiction pre-1900 and answer questions based on a text from a prescribed list.

Poetry & Drama

You will investigate poetry and drama and answer questions based on the reading of a poetry text and a play from a prescribed list.


A Level


You will explore pre-1900 poetry and answer questions based on the reading of a text from a prescribed list.


You will study the works of Shakespeare and investigate Drama indepth. You will answer questions based on the readings of one
Shakespeare play and the reading of one pre-1900 play and one post-1900 play from a prescribed list.

Unseen Text: Poetry & Prose

You will analyse a passage of prose and one poem or poetry extract from one of two prescribed texts.

Prose Study

You will explore two prose texts from different periods - one pre-2000 and one post-2000 and produce a word assignment based on these readings.


Entry requirements

You must have achieved at least 5 GCSEs at grade C or above, including at least a grade C in both English Language and English Literature GCSE.


AS Year - This is 100% exam based. You will be assessed through terminal exams (Two 2 hour papers).

A Level Year - You will be assessed both through terminal exams (80%) and coursework (20%).

Future opportunities

Some students may choose to go on to study English courses at University and may be interested in a career in the media, performing arts, teaching or journalism. English Literature is also a subject that will complement a variety of other University courses within the Arts, Humanities, Social Sciences and Law. This is because it develops the ability to read, reflect, and critique – and then state your conclusions clearly, which is essential to many kinds of work – as is the ability to construct and defend an argument.

How to apply

If you want to apply for this course, you will need to contact Birkenhead Sixth Form College directly.

Last updated date: 25 October 2016
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