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English Literature at The Sixth Form College Solihull

Course description

English Literature has long been acknowledged as a highly valuable and prestigious A Level. It still ranks today as one of the top subjects to study in preparation for University and is formally listed as a Facilitating Subject for Russell Group Universities. Along with English Language, Literature is perennially popular as a subject for A Level study at The Sixth Form College, Solihull and is an excellent companion subject for History, Law and many other A Level subjects which require analysis of texts and data sources in order to create arguments and present interpretations supported by evidence. It is also a great subject to do just because you love it and love reading quality literature, of course.

Course content

There are two exams for which students will prepare when following the AQA B specification. They constitute 80% of the possible marks which may be awarded.

The first will be two and a half hours long and require students to answer questions on texts which illustrate EITHER  Aspects of Comedy OR Aspects of Tragedy. One of the three texts for examination in Paper 1 will be a Shakespeare text. In addition, there will be questions on a further drama text and EITHER a poetry OR prose text.

The second examination will be three hours long and for this students will study EITHER Elements of Crime Writing OR Elements of Political and Social Protest Writing. Again, three texts will be examined; one prose text, one poetry text and one drama text. One of these texts must have been written post-2000 and one pre-1900. This paper will also require students to respond analytically to an unseen text. Examples of ‘Crime’ texts likely to be studied are: The Rime of the Ancient Mariner by ST Coleridge, Hamlet by Shakespeare, Brighton Rock by Graham Green and Atonement by Ian McEwan. For Political and Social Protest, students might study: A Doll’s House by Henrik Ibsen, Poetry by Tony Harrison or The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini.

Thecoursework is worth 20% of the total A Level and is entitled ‘Theory and Independence’. There will be two tasks, each 1,250 – 1,500 words in length. Both are likely to be formal essays requiring students to respond analytically to a Prose text – perhaps a novel or series of short stories. The second piece of coursework will be a formal essay in response to poetry. Both essays will require that students evaluate their texts in the light of a specific critical theory, eg, Feminism, Marxism or Narrative theory to name just three. These theories are explained in an AQA Anthology given free of charge to each student and will be taught as part of the Non-Examined component.

Students are expected to purchase their examination texts and will be guided on whether they may annotate them. Paper 1, Aspects of Tragedy or Aspects of Comedy, is a closed book examination, so texts may be annotated but not brought into the examination. Paper 2, Elements of Crime or Elements of Political and Social Protest, is an Open Book examination, so texts must be unannotated and taken into the examination.

Entry requirements

3 A level Programme:
The majority of our students will choose to study 3 A level courses and will commit to these subjects for the full 2 years. Entry requirements for this programme are:

• At least two grade 6s or B grades at GCSE
• At least a further three grade 4s or C grades at GCSE
• You should have at least a grade 4 or C grade in GCSE English Language AND Mathematics.

Please note that there may be additional entry requirements specific to particular courses – please check each course listing on our website carefully to ensure you understand these entry requirements.

4 A level Programme:
Some very able students may choose to study 4 A level subjects. This will include all students who choose to study A level Further Mathematics, who will pick Mathematics, Further Mathematics and two other subjects. These students must commit to these 4 subjects for the full 2 years. Entry requirements for this programme are:

• At least five grade 7s or A/A* grades at GCSE
• You should have at least a grade 6 or B grade in GCSE English Language AND Mathematics.
• Students picking Mathematics and Further Mathematics will need to get at least a grade 7 in GCSE Mathematics.

GCSE English Literature at grade 5 or above is essential. In addition, standard A level entry requirements apply.


Coursework (20%)
Examination (80%)
Examining Board – AQA.

How to apply

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

Last updated date: 20 September 2017
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