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English Literature A-Level at Queen Elizabeth Sixth Form College

Course description

English Literature is an exciting and rigorous course that allows you to access a wide range of texts in their different forms. Your personal response to what you have read is constantly encouraged as you learn how to analyse writers’ linguistic choices and understand how the contexts in which texts are written influence their production.

Lessons offer students a variety of ways in which to access texts from discussion to drama and the more traditional form of essay writing. The texts on offer range from the sixteenth century to the modern day. Coursework at AS gives students the opportunity to produce a creative writing response.

Outside of lessons English Literature offers a variety of theatre trips and, where relevant, trips abroad that enhance your understanding of what you are reading. For example in the past we have travelled to the battlefields of Ypres and the Somme in connection with poetry from World War One.

Course content

Unit 1: Poetry & Prose 1800-1945

  • Poetry 1800-1945 – critical analysis of poetry – William Butler Yeats
  • Prose 1800-1945 – analytical essay on a set prose text focusing on narrative
    methods and effects, and linking to other readers’ interpretations – ‘Jane
    Eyre’ by Charlotte Bronte

Unit 2: Literature post-1900

  • Close critical analysis of a poem from Carol Ann Duffy’s ‘The World’s Wife’.


  • Re-creative writing based on Carol Ann Duffy’s ‘The World’s Wife’


  • An essay exploring connections between the play ‘Our Country’s Good’ by
    Wertenbaker and ’1984′ by Orwell

Unit 3: Drama & Poetry pre-1800

  • Shakespeare – King Lear: an essay requiring critical analysis of structure, form and meaning, and consideration of others’ interpretations
  • Drama and Poetry pre-1800: an essay exploring contrasts and comparisons between one play text and one poetry text, Chaucer’s ‘The Wife of Bath’ and Jonson’s ‘Volpone’.

Unit 4: Texts in Time

  • A study of texts across at least two genres within the same or different time period: an essay exploring connections and comparisons between Elliot’s poetry, and two other texts chosen in consultation with the class teacher.

How it is taught

The study of English Literature at advanced level can seem very different from that of GCSE with many students remarking that it feels like a different subject altogether. Lessons are incredibly varied, in a typical week you will discuss texts in pairs and small groups, research a text on the internet, debate a key issue surrounding a text or dramatise a key section. Independent learning is at the heart of the course and there is the clear expectation that you will be a committed and enthusiastic reader both in and outside of lessons.

Entry requirements

The usual entry requirement to QE is 5 GCSE grades at C or above including Maths or English. A good number of students study four AS Levels in their first year and to do this we require at least 3B grades and 3C grades at GCSE including Maths and English Language. Students who do not achieve these GCSE grades take fewer subjects at A Level and will be required to do resits in GCSE Maths and English if they have not already achieved a grade C in these core subjects. The College is large enough to have a very flexible timetable that allows students to take almost any combination of subjects at A Level. The advantage of this system is that we can tailor your programme to suit your needs and abilities. We give lots of advice if you decide to apply to the College.

Subject Specific

Grade C or above in English Language and/or English Literature.


Unit 1

AS Poetry & Prose 1800 – 1945 - 2 hour exam - 1st Year May

Unit 2

AS AS Literature post-1900 - Coursework - 1st Year

Unit 3

A2 A2 Drama & Poetry pre-1800 - 2 hour exam - 2nd Year June

Unit 4

A2 A2 Texts in Time - Coursework - 2nd Year


How to apply

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

Last updated date: 17 April 2015
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