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English Literature A Level at Woodbridge School

Course description

1. Drama and poetry pre-1900

a. Shakespeare (30)

b. Drama and poetry pre-1900 (30)

For Shakespeare you might study Hamlet or Measure for Measure, answering one question on a passage and one on the play as a whole. For the drama and poetry, you might work on Webster’s The Duchess of Malfi and Chaucer’s The Merchant’s Tale, or Ibsen’s A Doll’s House and Rossetti’s Selected Poetry. These paired texts will be written about together, providing scope for interesting comparisons

2. Comparative and contextual study

a. Close reading in chosen topic area (30)

b. Comparative and contextual study from chosen topic area (30)

For comparative and contextual study you will study two texts from a topic or distinct genre. This might be a study of the gothic genre reading Stoker’s Dracula and Carter’s The Bloody Chamber. Alternative genres are dystopia, women in literature, the immigrant experience, American Literature 1880-1940. Half of this unit will comprise a wider study of the chosen genre using extracts and samples to prepare students for work on an unseen passage in the examination

3. Literature post-1900

a. Critical piece OR re-creative piece with commentary (15)

b. Linked texts essay (25)

For the course work, students produce two pieces of work, the first a 1000-word essay or re-creative piece plus commentary on one text, the second, a 2000-word essay exploring comparisons and contrasts between two texts. All three texts must have been published after 1900 and include a poetry, a prose and a drama text, one of which must have been published after the year 2000. For example, you might study three texts on the theme of War Through Time or Irish Literature or Young Women

Entry requirements

GCSE or IGCSE grade B in English language and English literature


Units 1

  • Examination
    • Written paper
    • Closed text, 2 hours 30 minutes
    • 60 marks or 40% of the A Level

Unit 2

  • Examination
    • Written paper
    • Closed text, 2 hours 30 minutes
    • 60 marks or 40% of the A Level

Unit 3

  • Course work
    • Internally assessed
    • 40 marks or 20% of the A Level

Future opportunities

An Advanced GCE in English literature is welcomed as a qualification for many careers, and provides a very wide range of opportunities for courses in the arts, humanities, media and communications at degree level. English literature can also be a valuable contrast to scientific, technological and economics-based subjects, opening up greater breadth of interest, range of reference and facility with ideas and language.

Further information

The course enables students to enjoy reading and discussing English literature, and to increase their understanding of what the study of literature involves. The emphasis is on developing the confidence to respond independently to a wide range of texts in depth, both through close reading, a variety of critical approaches, and an appreciation of the contexts in which literary texts are written and understood. As the students develop an understanding of modern critical theory, for example, they will also be helped to improve their writing in order to capture the depth and complexity of the ideas raised in discussion and through reading and analysis.

The A Level course is delivered by two A Level teachers per class, offering students specialist knowledge and variety in teaching style and delivery.

How to apply

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

Last updated date: 03 April 2017
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