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English Literature A Level at Hitchin Boys' School

Course description

Working from the belief that no text exists in isolation but is the product of the time in which it was produced, this course encourages you 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 you to investigate and connect them, drawing out patterns of similarity and difference using a variety of reading strategies and perspectives.

Across the course, you will study texts both diachronically (produced across a very broad time period) and synchronically (produced within a clearly defined time period). In each task, you will be required to argue and to show personal responses and critical preferences, supported by the terminology relevant to the topics and contexts with which you are engaging.

AS level:

  • You will sit two examinations.
  • Paper 1 will involve the study of two texts: one Shakespeare play and one AQA Anthology of Love Poetry through the Ages (Pre-1900 or Post-1900).
  • Paper 2 will involve the study of two prose texts and the examination will include an unseen prose extract.

A level

You will sit two examinations and complete one extended essay at the end of your two year course of study.

Paper 1: Love through the Ages

Study of 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.

Paper 2: Texts in Shared Contexts

Modern Times: Literature from 1945 to the Present Day. The study of three texts: one prose, one poetry, and one drama, of which one must be written post- 2000. The examination will include an unseen extract.


The coursework component will take the form of a comparative critical study of two texts, at least one of which must have been written pre-1900 in the form of an extended essay.

The English Literature specifications have not been accredited by Ofqual and have recently been returned to exam boards for further review. They will be subject to further change and schools will decide the course or courses to be offered once final specifications are available.

The existing AQA specification is being studied by current Year 12 & 13 students. The above details have been extracted from the AQA proposed new qualification specification to give you a broad understanding of the likely course content.

Entry requirements

Minimum entry requirements to our Consortium are 5 A*-C at GCSE or equivalent, including Maths and English, for an advanced level or Level 3 course.

How to apply

If you want to apply for this course, you will need to contact Hitchin Boys' School directly.

Last updated date: 23 March 2015
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Key information

  • Start date: Next September
  • Duration: 1-2 years