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English Literature AS Level at William Howard School

Course description

AQA Specification A (7711)

ONE YEAR COURSE ONLY - Please note that this course DOES NOT covert to a full A Level course, it is completed at the end of Year 12. If you wish to take the full A Level English Literature, you will need to take the TWO YEAR COURSE

Course content

The AQA AS Specification A's approach to the study of literature rests upon reading texts within a shared context. Working from the belief that no text exists in isolation but is the product of the time in which it was produced, English Literature A encourages students to explore the relationships that exist between texts and the contexts within which they are written, received and understood.

Studying texts within a shared context enables students to investigate and connect them, drawing out patterns of similarity and difference using a variety of reading strategies and perspectives. English Literature A privileges the process of making autonomous meaning, encouraging students to debate and challenge the interpretations of other readers as they develop their own informed personal responses.

Entry requirements

You must like reading!

You are strongly advised to have achieved at least a grade ‘C’ in GCSE English/English Language or Literature. You should have a genuine interest in a range of literacy texts and genres, for example, poetry, prose and drama.


100% Examination

Paper 1: Love through the ages: Shakespeare and poetry

Study of two texts: one Shakespeare play and one AQA Anthology of love poetry through the ages (pre-1900 or post- 1900)


  • written exam: 1 hour 30 minutes
  • closed book
  • 50 marks, 50% of AS level

Questions: Section A: Shakespeare. One passage-based question with linked essay (25 marks). Othello; The Taming of the Shrew; Measure for Measure; The Winter’s Tale.

Section B: Poetry. One question on printed poem (25 marks)

AQA Anthology of love poetry through the ages (pre-1900 or post-1900).


Paper 2: Love through the ages: prose

Study of two prose texts from the following:

  • Jane Austen, Persuasion
  • Charlotte Brontë, Jane Eyre
  • Emily Brontë, Wuthering Heights
  • Kate Chopin, The Awakening
  • Jonathan Coe, The Rotters’ Club
  • George Eliot, The Mill on the Floss
  • Thomas Hardy, Tess of the D’Urbervilles
  • F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby
  • E.M. Forster, A Room with a View
  • L.P. Hartley, The Go-Between
  • Daphne Du Maurier, Rebecca
  • Ian McEwan, Atonement

The exam will include an unseen prose extract.


  • written exam: 1 hour 30 minutes
  • open book
  • 50 marks, 50% of AS level


Section A: Unseen prose. One compulsory question on unseen prose extract (25 marks).

Section B: Comparing prose texts. One comparative question on two prose texts (25 marks).

Future opportunities

You will learn a wide range of transferable skills. Many students who have studied English Literature A Level progress to careers in Teaching, Law, Media (especially Publishing, Journalism, Advertising, Marketing), Librarianship, Archives, Events Management…even Banking and Accountancy!

English Literature is a subject that will open many doors for you.

How to apply

If you want to apply for this course, you will need to contact William Howard School directly.

Last updated date: 04 October 2016
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