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English Literature A Level at Aylesbury Grammar School

Course description

In addition to telling stories, literature through the ages has sought to comment on societies, encapsulate philosophies and examine the human condition. The study of literature, therefore, gives an insight into our cultural development and the thinking of others. It provides the opportunity to examine a range of experiences outside our own and encourages us to think critically about the world around us.

The A Level course is designed to develop skills of analysis, evaluation and comparison and considers texts in their social, historical and literary contexts. Students' abilities to structure argument and communicate effectively in speech and writing are emphasised and they are encouraged to read widely, critically and independently.

The course aims to promote original thought and self-expression, while at the same time fostering in each student the discipline of rooting ideas in the text. As 20% of your final mark is based on coursework, you will need to work efficiently on your own and meet deadlines.

Course content

See above.

Entry requirements



Paper 1 – literary genres (40% of A level) Either aspects of tragedy or aspects of comedy. In this unit you will study three texts from either the comedy or tragedy genre. One of these will be a Shakespeare text. This is assessed with a 2 hour 30 minute exam on three equally weighted questions.

Paper 2 – texts and genres (40% of A level) Either elements of crime writing, or elements of political and social protest writing. In this unit you will study one post-2000 novel, one poetry collection, and another text. This is assessed with a 3 hour exam, with three equally weighted questions.

Coursework – theory and independence (20% of A level) Study of two texts informed by the study of a critical anthology. Two essays of between 1250 and 1500 words. Students here have the opportunity to explore texts of their own choosing.

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. It will also serve you well for a variety of careers such as in business, the law, education and journalism among many others.

How to apply

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

Last updated date: 15 June 2015

Key information

  • Start date: Next September
  • Duration: 1 - 2 Years