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English Literature AS/A-Level at Ravens Wood School

Course description

AS and A-Level English Literature are a natural progression from GCSE English Literature. The reading and writing skills developed in Years 10 and 11 are refined further through studying a wide range of challenging texts from Shakespeare to contemporary novel. Much greater emphasis, however, is placed on students reading independently and developing their own responses to texts. Students are expected to take an active role in all aspects of their own learning, from leading class discussion to devising their own essay titles in the A-level coursework. Visits are made throughout the year to theatres, lectures and other cultural events and students are encouraged to develop and pursue their own cultural interests such as cinema and music. A-level English Literature is an academically rigorous subject that is held in high regard by employers and universities as evidence of a student’s ability to think critically, analytically construct complex and coherent arguments, and express themselves with clarity and conviction.

Course content

The course consists of two modules:

Component 1,‘Poetry and Drama’, forms 60% of the AS and comprises the study of A Streetcar Named Desire, as a drama text and post-2000 poetry.

Component 2, ‘Prose’, forms 40% of the AS and is the opportunity to examine the theme of ‘Science and Society’ through a comparative study of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein and Kashuo Ishiguro’s Never Let Me Go. During the course, students will be expected to complete personalised learning checklists, reading logs and to read around the texts studied in class in order to establish a firm understanding of contextual factors.

At A-level (Year 13), the specification covers the AS content in more depth and introduces students to additional material. Students will build on their AS understanding of Frankenstein and Never Let Me Go; they will examine Othello and A Streetcar Named Desire through the conceptual lens of tragedy; metaphysical poetry will be studied alongside the post-2000 poetry; and candidates will complete a 3000-word piece of comparative coursework.

Entry requirements

B or above in English Language and English Literature.


Component 1 is assessed through a 2 hour, open book examination comprised of two sections. Section 1 offers the choice of two comparative questions – from which students choose one – about a named poem from the anthology and a free choice of a second poem. Students will draw on their knowledge of poetic form, language, and conventions. Section B will offer students the choice of two questions – from which they will choose one – about an aspect (it could be a theme or dramatic form) of A Streetcar Named Desire.

Component 2 is examined through a one hour, open book examination in which students will answer one comparative essay question from a choice of two on the theme of ‘Science and Society’ in Frankenstein and Never Let Me Go.

Future opportunities

Students on this course will learn to develop a mature personal response to a range of challenging texts, demonstrating their ability to create detailed and systematic arguments. Students will also develop the ability to evaluate the views of others and create a sense of debate – skills much needed in higher education.

How to apply

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

Last updated date: 19 September 2016
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Key information

  • Start date: Next September