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English Literature A Level at St John's Marlborough

Course description

This new AQA linear course focuses upon reading texts within a shared context. It encourages students to explore the relationships that exist between texts and the contexts within which they are written, received and understood.

Students are encouraged to develop their interest in, and enjoyment of, English Literature, through reading widely, critically and independently, across centuries, genre and gender.

There will hopefully be opportunities to participate in study days and theatre visits during the two years.

Course content

A Level - Love Through the Ages Exam

Paper 1 

This involves the study of poetry, Shakespeare and prose texts linked by the broad theme of ‘Love Through the Ages’. Texts studied include ‘Othello’ and ‘The Great Gatsby’, as well as an AQA Anthology of Poetry (pre-1900).

A Level - Texts in Shared Contexts Exam; WW1 and its Aftermath

Paper 2:

This exam option allows students to explore literature arising out of WW1, but extends this period to allow reflection on the full impact of the war that reverberates up to the present day. It involves the study of three texts: one prose, one poetry, and one drama. Texts studied will include: a novel, ‘All Quiet on the Western Front’, a poetry anthology, ‘Up the Line to Death’ and a play, ‘My Boy Jack’.

A Level - Non-exam Assessment; Independent Critical Study – Texts Across Time

Students write a comparative critical study of two texts (one of which must be a pre-1900 text) on a theme of their choice. This aspect of the course provides a challenging and wide-ranging opportunity for independent study.

Entry requirements

Students require at least a grade 6 in GCSE English Language and English Literature, together with a love of reading.


The two year A Level course is composed of two exam papers, one focused on ‘Love Through the Ages’ and one on ‘WW1 and its Aftermath’, plus one non-exam Assessment.

Future opportunities

For any career that requires good oral and written skills, an understanding of others and a sensitivity to people's needs, English Literature is a valuable qualification.

Such careers would include:

  • Advertising
  • Broadcasting
  • Civil Service
  • Journalism
  • Local Government
  • Librarianship
  • Management and Administration
  • Personnel Work
  • Teaching
  • Secretarial Work
  • Social Work 

but most employers are likely to value the skills required to achieve an English A/AS Level.

Many former students have gone on to study English Literature and English Language at University, and many more have found the A Level course a valuable preparation for a huge range of other courses.

How to apply

If you want to apply for this course, you will need to contact St John's Marlborough directly.

Last updated date: 03 November 2016

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