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English Literature at Queen Mary's High School

Course description

The A-Level encourages the independent study of a range of texts linked thematically or through time. This approach facilitates the inclusion of a range of wider reading, thus extending students’ experience and appreciation of literature.

Offering clear progression from GCSE, this course allows students to build on the skills and knowledge already gained and prepare for their next steps.

The variety of assessment styles used, such as passage-based questions, unseen material, single text questions, multiple- text questions, open and closed book approaches allows students to develop a wide range of skills, such as the ability to read critically, analyse, evaluate and undertake independent research which are valuable f or both further study and future employment.

Course content

Paper 1: Love through the Ages
Students will explore aspects of love as a literary theme through time using unseen
material and set texts. They will study a Shakespeare play, an anthology of
love poetry to encounter a range of different types of poem and a complete prose text. Either the poetry or the prose will be a pre -1900 text. In the examination they will have to analyse extracts closely, approach two unseen poems and make comparisons between texts.

Paper 2: Texts in Shared Contexts
Students will explore aspects of literature connected through a period of time, either
Word War I and its aftermath or Literature from 1945 to the present day. Students will
study a prose, poetry and drama text, at least one of which must be written post-2000. In the examination, they will also have to respond to an unseen extract.

Both examinations encourage the students’ independent wider reading to support their understanding of the set texts.

Non -Exam Assessment (coursework): Texts across Time In Texts across Time, students write a comparative critical study of two texts by different authors, one of which must have been written pre-1900. Students are able to develop their own interests from their own wider and independent reading in selecting the focus
for their study, but they will be writing about similarities and differences and considering a range of critical views and interpretations. This is an independent critical study, highlighting the important idea that, within a literature course, students should have the opportunity to work independently and at least one of the texts will be studied independently.


A’Level: One 180 minute written examination and one 150 minute written examination,
each worth 40% of A’ Level, and one Non-Exam Assessment (coursework) comparative
task of 2,500 words, worth 20% of A’ Level.

Future opportunities

The skills developed in the English Literature course are marketable in most career areas. Jobs related to the course may include teaching (in primary or secondary schools, or teaching English abroad as a foreign language), journalism, publishing,
marketing, advertising, government, public relations, library and information services work: there are few jobs in which the critical skills developed in analytical and comparative approaches would not be helpful!

How to apply

If you want to apply for this course, you will need to contact Queen Mary's High School directly.

Last updated date: 13 September 2016
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