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English Literature B AS at King Edward VI Handsworth School for Girls

Course description

Why should I study English Literature

The English Literature course aims to develop a relevant, engaging and up-to-date approach to the reading and study of literature through the lens of genre and theory, encouraging independent study of a range of texts within a shared context, giving meaning to the way that texts are grouped. This unifying 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 for both further study and future employment.

Course content

What will I learn about?

In Literary Genres, the texts are connected through a mainstream literary genre. We have selected Aspects of Comedy. Comedy has a long tradition in literature, with its origins in the Ancient World and with a specific emphasis on drama. Texts have been selected and grouped together because they share some of the common features of traditional tragic and comic drama while also offering some interesting variations. We will study four texts: one Shakespeare play, one further drama text, one poetry text and one prose text.

How will I be taught?

Your teachers will encourage you to explore a wide range of literature and study texts through a range of methods. You will research and present your findings to the class; you will have stimulating and interesting whole-class and small group discussion. Drafting of coursework and practice of timed examination questions will also be important aspects of both courses. The key to success in English Literature is an open mind, wider reading, being able to apply critical perspectives and not being afraid to defend your opinion.

Entry requirements

  • Enthusiasm to read widely and critically and to write fluently.
  • G.C.S.E. grades (A* or A) in both English Language and English Literature.
  • A sense of humour is also desirable, as some of our best writers can be a little eccentric and ‘leftfield’ at times!


Examination Board: AQA
Specification: Advanced Subsidiary GCE 7716

Paper 1:

  • Literary genres: drama
  • Shakespeare, The Taming of the Shrew; Oscar Wilde, The Importance of Being Earnest.
  • 1 hr 30 mins
  • Closed book
  • Year 12
  • 50 marks
  • 50% of AS

Paper 2:

  • Literary genres: prose and poetry
  • Jane Austen, Emma. The poems of John Betjeman.
  • 1 hr 30 mins
  • Open book
  • Year 12
  • 50 marks
  • 50% of AS

Future opportunities

A good grade at English Literature is a passport to all university courses but is especially suited for those intending to pursue careers in Law, Modern Languages, History, Journalism, Media & Communication Studies, Philosophy and the Civil Service. Additionally, many university faculties such as Medicine and Dentistry like to admit students with another ‘string to their bow’, as well as the usual science and mathematics A level subjects.

How to apply

If you want to apply for this course, you will need to contact King Edward VI Handsworth School for Girls directly.

Last updated date: 31 October 2017
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