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English Literature AS/A2 Level at Alton College

Course description

If you love reading, and you enjoy talking and writing about drama, poetry and novels, this course should stimulate and engage you. At AS, you are encouraged to become an informed, more independent reader, able to explore a range of opinions and clearly express your own ideas and interpretations of literary texts. You will develop analytical skills so that you can understand and explain how the language an author uses shapes meaning.

In your AS year you will study a poet such as Robert Browning or Edward Thomas, together with Frankenstein by Mary Shelley. For your coursework module (worth 40%), you can study any three texts written after 1900. One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Kesey is often a popular choice and A Street Car Named Desire by Tennessee Williams is a play that stimulates excellent debate and discussion from students. One of these three texts must be contemporary, written after 1990, so you could find yourself studying a recent Booker Prize Winner novel such as Atonement, or the script of a recent film such as American Beauty.

Your A2 studies build upon the skills developed at AS. This second year syllabus provides plenty of opportunity for being stretched and challenged with epics like Milton's Paradise Lost and Shakespeare, and poets such as Andrew Marvell and William Blake.

Course content

Lesson activities are wide ranging: from debates to drama-based interpretations to detailed analysis and feedback; to student-based presentations on extracts and context, through to creative responses like painting, collage, writing an additional scene or episode to a studied text, or "found-poetry‟. We also organise a huge range of trips to see performances and to develop understanding of context.

Entry requirements

Students should normally have achieved an average GCSE point score of 5.5 or above and at least a grade 5 in English. Students with a point score between 4.5 – 5.5 will normally take a mixture of Subsidiary Diplomas and A levels.

You must be someone who enjoys reading, will prepare for lessons and will work hard on finding the best way of expressing your opinion on paper. You are likely to be most successful if you contribute to discussions in class and use these discussions to work towards your own considered opinion.


Coursework: 20% overall taken in the second year.

Examinations: Three exam papers and coursework 

Financial information

All students will be expected to provide their own copies of the studied texts, stationery, and memory sticks.

Essential: You will need to buy you own texts. This means you can annotate your text and make it your own – a big advantage when revising. Books cost between £1.99 and £9.00 each. You will need to buy four texts in the first year at a total cost of around £25.

Optional: A number of trips run during the year, and we ask you to pay for your ticket and for travel. Theatre trips cost approximately £20.

If the costs of equipment, materials and trips may cause you financial hardship, you may wish to read through details of our financial support scheme on our website.

Future opportunities

English Literature is a highly prized qualification and the skills you acquire will not only enable you to read with increased pleasure for the rest of your life, they will also enable you to express yourself precisely and logically, supporting your views with evidence. You may find yourself inspired to study English Literature at university, at the very least you should find yourself referring back to English Literature study for years to come.

How to apply

If you want to apply for this course, you will need to contact Alton College directly.

Last updated date: 05 August 2016

Key information

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