Accessibility links

English Literature: A level linear, NO AS qualification at St Richard Reynolds Catholic College

Course description

What is it about?

This A level is an ideal choice for anyone who loves reading and books. Literature is interested in the big questions affecting human existence. It is also a highly respected A level that can be instrumental in helping students gain university places in a variety of subjects.  

Students will also gain a great deal of academic prowess through a subject that promotes the development of transferable skills. English students are taught to think analytically, consider different interpretations and listen and respond to one another sensitively in preparation for the seminar style environment they are likely to find at university.

One of the most important skills they learn is how to write coherently and critically. This is an essential skill that will aid them in their other subjects and is invaluable in higher education and the world of employment.

Course content

In the first year you will study:

A range of literature based around the thematic title of "Love through the Ages". This will include the study of two texts: one Shakespeare play and one AQA anthology of love poetry through the ages (pre 1900 or post 1900).  You will also study two additional novels linked to this theme.

In the second year you will study:

Texts in shared contexts - focussing on either "World War 1 and it's Aftermath" or "Modern Times: Literature from 1945 to the Present Day".  You will also complete an independent critical study of two texts which will feature in a non-exam unit called "Texts Across Time".

In addition to timetabled lessons, this subject requires 4 hours of private study per week.

Entry requirements

Minimum of 5 GCSE grade 4 - 9 including English Language and Mathematics

Subject specific:
Grade 6 GCSE English Language and GCSE English Literature minimum


Module1: Shakespeare and Poetry
What's assessed?

Students study one of the following Shakespeare plays:
Othello / The Taming of the Shrew / Measure for Measure / The Winter's Tale

Students study of the following anthologies:
AQA Anthology of Love Poetry through the Ages pre 1900
AQA Anthology of Love Poetry through the Ages post 1900

1.5 hours

% of A level?
25% of A level

Module 2: Prose Study
What's assessed?

Students study two texts from a set list and answer a comparative question exploring links and connections between their chosen texts. Pupils will also analyse an unseen text in this examination.

1.5 hours (open text)

% of A level?
25% of A level

Module 3: Love Through the Ages
What's assessed?

Students study three texts: one poetry and one prose text, of which one must be written pre 1900, and one Shakespeare play. The examination will include two unseen poems.

3 hours

% of A level?
20% of A level

Module 4: Texts in shared contexts
What's assessed?

The aim of this topic area is to encourage students to explore aspects of literature connected through a period of time. Students will choose one of the following options:
Option 2A: World War 1 and its Aftermath
Option 2B: Modern Times: Literature from 1945 to the Present Day

Option A explores literature arising out of World War 1, but extends this period to allow reflection on the full impact of the war that reverberates up to the present day.
Option B takes the end of World War 2 as its historical starting point and explores both modern and contemporary literature's engagement with some of the social, political, personal and literary issues which have helped to shape the latter half of the 20th century and the early decades fo the 21st century.

2.5 hours (open book)

% of A level?
20% of A level

Non-exam assessment: Independent Critical Study - Texts across Time
What's assessed?

Comparative critical study of two texts, at least one of which must have been written pre 1900. One extended essay (2500 words) and a bibliography.

% of A level?
10% of A level, assessed by teachers and moderated by the exam board



Future opportunities

A level English Literature combines well with any subject. You will learn how to read and write closely, intelligently and sensitively - skills that are very widely needed. This is a prestigious A level to support entry to university study.

It provides a secure basis for direct employment in many industries including media and journalism, publishing, teaching and academic careers, creative arts, advertising, marketing and PR careers, event planning, careers in the public sector, law.

Further information

Students will be encouraged to regularly attend theatre trips. There will also be extra-curricular visits to various museums and potentially a trip to Belgium to take part in a World War 1 trench experience.

How to apply

You can apply for this course through UCAS Progress. Add this course to your favourites so you can start making an application.

Last updated date: 19 September 2018
Provider logo

Key information

  • Start date: Next September
  • Duration: 2 years

Contact details

    • Contact name:
    • Ms Gemma Conway
    • Contact telephone number:
    • 020 8325 4630
    • Email address: