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English Language and Literature AS/A Level at Reigate College

Course description

On the combined English Language and Literature course, at both AS and A Level, students will study a range of writing from a variety of genres, including the main literary types: novels, poetry and drama. Students will also study a wide selection of non-fiction texts, ranging from newspaper journalism to autobiographies and travel writing.
Texts are studied from both literary and linguistic viewpoints. The language of speech and conversation will also form part of this course and students will examine the way speech is used in everyday life and in literary dialogue. 
Overall, the course aims to foster a deeper understanding of English Language and Literature and to prepare students to study a range of English-related courses in higher education.
The AS course comprises two exam papers with no coursework.
The A Level course comprises two exam papers and a coursework assignment.
It should be noted that AS (examined at the end of one year) and A Level (examined at the end of two years) are now two distinct courses. The mark or grade achieved for AS will not contribute in any way to the mark or grade achieved at A Level.

Course content

On both the AS and A Level course, students will learn how to use an ‘integrated’ analytical approach to spoken and written texts, using both literary and linguistic concepts and terminology.
Basic concepts from a linguistic approach will be taught, enabling students to be more precise in their interpretation of texts. These ‘frameworks’ include: 
• phonology and prosodics (the sounds of real speech and the patterns of sound in literature)
• lexis and semantics (the connotations of word choices and imagery)
• grammar (the role of specific words, such as pronouns and verbs, in a sentence)
• pragmatics (how different contexts and situations affect meaning)
At AS Level, students will study an Anthology of spoken and written texts entitled Voices in Speech and Writing, which contains a wide variety of texts, such as newspaper articles and reports; extracts from autobiographies, diaries, travel writing and digital texts (such as ‘blogs’); book and television reviews. Other examples of these types of text will be studied to develop the skills of writing comparatively.
Students will study one compulsory prose fiction ‘anchor’ text, F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby and Shakespeare's Othello. This ‘text pairing’ will be following the theme: Society and the Individual.
At A Level, all of the AS content and texts will be revised for the second year examination. A new drama text will also be studied: Translations by Brian Friel.  
At A Level, there is also a coursework component, worth 20% which requires the production of creative writing in response to the study of two stimulus texts. 

Entry requirements

Students will need 5 GCSEs at grade C or above, including grade C in GCSE English Language (Grade 5 or above) and grade B in GCSE English Literature (Grade 6) if taken. In addition, technical accuracy in spelling, punctuation and grammar is essential to obtaining a good grade at A Level.

Students will succeed on this course if they:

  • really enjoy reading and responding to many different kinds of writing, including whole novels and plays
  • are willing to explore in detail, through close text analysis, how language can affect the reader or listener
  • are prepared to learn the terminology associated with a linguistic approach to English
  • enjoy writing (accurately and fluently) in different forms, for different purposes and audiences
  • enjoy taking part in discussion
  • find language itself interesting; the way it changes and means different things to different people


AS Level
There are two exam papers on the new English Language and Literature AS course, each of which is worth 50% of the final qualification. Both are assessed by formal written examinations lasting 1 hour, 30 minutes, and will be taken in May/June. 
A Level
There are two components at A Level, each worth 40% of the final qualification, plus a coursework component worth 20%. Both are assessed by formal written examinations of 2 hours, 30 minutes, and will be taken in June.
The exam board for this A Level is EDEXCEL.

Future opportunities

Many of our students continue with an English or English-related degree at university.  Others graduate in Law, History, Sociology and History for example, having made excellent use of the skills acquired from A Level English. 

Further information

English Language and Literature AS/A Level students have the opportunity to take part in a variety of course-related experiences. We always try to enrich student’s study of texts with trips to see plays or to hear authors discussing their work. In recent years, these have included:

  • A visit to see a production of Hamlet at the National Theatre in London
  • A visit to see a production of The Crucible at The Old Vic theatre, in London.

How to apply

If you want to apply for this course, you will need to contact Reigate College directly.

Last updated date: 25 July 2016
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