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English Literature A Level at Longsands Academy

Course description

English Literature is about …

  • life! Life in other cultures, in the past, lives of the writers themselves, and ways their opinions and ideas are presented;

  • discussions: reading, thinking about, then responding to the ways in which writers organise and explore ideas in narratives, drama and poetry;

  • developing the skill of interpreting texts for yourself, and with others; improving your reading, writing and analytical skills.


Paper 1: Literary Genres - Aspects of Tragedy (40% of final grade)


Study of three texts: one Shakespeare text; a second drama text and one further text (one must be written pre-1900)


Assessed by a written exam: 2 hours 30 minutes, closed book


  • Section A: One passage-based question on set Shakespeare text (25 marks) – King Lear or Othello

  • Section B: One essay question on that set Shakespeare text (25 marks)

  • Section C: One essay question linking two texts from the genre of tragedy (25 marks)


Paper 2: Texts and Genres - Elements of Protest Writing OR Elements of Crime Writing (40% of final grade)


Study of three texts: one post-2000 prose text; one poetry and one further text, one of which must be written pre-1900 from either of the units above.


Assessed by written exam: 3 hours open book.


  • Section A: One compulsory question on an unseen passage (25 marks)

  • Section B: One essay question on set text (25 marks)

  • Section C: One essay question which connects two texts (25 marks)


Non-Exam Assessment: Theory and Independence (20% of your final grade)


Study of two texts: one poetry and one prose text of your choosing*, informed by study of various literary theories in the Critical Anthology. Formerly referred to as ‘coursework’


Assessed by two written essays: assessed by your teacher, moderated by exam board.


  • 1,250 – 1500 words each (50 marks)

  • Each responds to a different chosen text and link to a different aspect of the Critical Anthology

  • One essay can be re-creative. The re-creative piece will be accompanied by a commentary.

Course content

This course builds on the knowledge, understanding and skills established when analysing novels, drama and poetry at GCSE level. As well as developing your analytical reading skills, and interpretations of writers’ ideas, you will also explore the wider context of the writer’s life and views, and how this influences his or her writing. You will develop independence in analysing and commenting on a range of texts. You need to be able to communicate clearly and accurately – both orally and in your written work.

Entry requirements

Essential: Level 5 or above in GCSE English Language.

Desirable: Level 6 or above in both GCSE English Language and English Literature.

APS: 5.5

Future opportunities

This course develops the reading, writing and communication skills used in other A Level courses, which could lead onto Higher Education in English Literature, or more general Higher Education courses. With further training, you could go into a job related to English such as a teacher, journalist, lawyer or author. This course will enable you to develop the communication skills which employers prefer across a range of careers.

Further information

To find out more about this qualification, contact Miss Edwards, Head of English at St. Neots Sixth Form Centre, via

How to apply

If you want to apply for this course, you will need to contact Longsands Academy directly.

Last updated date: 21 November 2017
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Key information

  • Start date: Next September
  • Duration: 2 years