A Level English Literature

OCR: English Literature (A Level H472)

Who should study English Literature?

Those who enjoyed the analytical aspects of studying all texts at GCSE level. Students must have a passion for reading and discussing plays, novels and poetry. 

The Course 

Core texts

Hamlet, William Shakespeare; A Doll’s House, Henrik Ibsen; selected poems of Christina Rossetti; 1984, George Orwell; The Handmaid’s Tale, Margaret Atwood; Journey’s End, RC Sherriff; The Yellow Birds, Kevin Powers, selected poems of Wilfred Owen.

Component 01: Shakespeare, and Drama and Poetry pre-1900

For this component, you will study Hamlet by William Shakespeare, and compare the play A Doll’s House by Henrik Ibsen with a selection of poems by Christina Rossetti.

Component 02: Close reading, and comparative and contextual study from chosen topic area

For this component, the chosen topic area is Dystopian fiction. Our focus will be the core set texts: Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell and The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood.  

Component 03: Close reading or re-creative writing piece & commentary, and comparative essay

For this component on literature post-1900, we are studying war literature. Our focus will be the play Journey’s End by RC Sherriff, selected poems of Wilfred Owen and the novel The Yellow Birds by Kevin Powers.

Close reading or re-creative writing piece & commentary (15 marks: 1,000 words): Journey’s End

Comparative essay (25 marks: 2,000 words): Wilfred Owen’s poems and The Yellow Birds

The A Level course will enable you to:

  • Develop as an independent, confident and critical reader

    You will understand the ways in which writers shape meanings in texts, and also consider how texts are interpreted by different readers and critics.

    You will also think about the ways texts relate to one another, and to the contexts in which they are written and read.

  • Develop skills of analysis and writing

    You will produce sophisticated, good quality writing. You will learn to communicate fluently, accurately and effectively, your knowledge, understanding and judgement of texts.

    In your writing, you will use literary critical concepts and terminology with understanding.

  • Develop research skills

    You will use the library to research topics through books, journals, magazines and the internet. You will be part of a learning community, sharing and responding to suggested further reading and background articles.

  • Continue to develop your personal skills such as: time management, organisation, problem solving, working independently and group work

    The study of English Literature gives you an opportunity to explore and develop understanding of a variety of social, cultural, spiritual and moral issues. You will study texts which raise awareness of all these issues and be encouraged to reflect on them in class discussions and through your own reading and writing.

    Assessment

    Component 01: Shakespeare, and Drama and Poetry pre-1900

    Assessment of this component is by one exam (2 hours 30 minutes), and is worth 40% of your A level.

    Section 1 (30 marks: 1hr 15 mins) Shakespeare - Hamlet

    Part a) Hamlet extract analysis Part b) essay on Hamlet

    Section 2 (30 marks: 1hr 15 mins) The Doll’s House by Henrik Ibsen/poems of Christina Rossetti comparative essay

    Component 02: Close reading, and comparative and contextual study from chosen topic area

    Assessment of this component is by one exam (2 hours 30 minutes), and is worth 40% of your A level.

    Question 1a (30 marks: 1hr 15 mins) Critical appreciation of an unseen dystopian passage

    Question 1b (30 marks: 1hr 15 mins) Comparative essay on dystopian fiction (core texts:The Handmaid’s Tale and 1984)

    Component 03: Close reading or re-creative writing piece & commentary, and comparative essay (focus: war literature)

    Component 03 is a non-examined assessment (coursework). Your written responses will be internally assessed and are worth 20% of your A level. 

    Close reading or re-creative writing piece & commentary (15 marks: 1,000 words) Journey’s End by R Sherriff

    Comparative essay (25 marks: 2,000 words) poems of Wilfred Owen and The Yellow Birds by Kevin Powers

    You will be taught by two teachers who will set reading, research and writing homework every week. You are expected to spend at least four hours on private study and homework each week.

    Your progress will be regularly reviewed by your teachers through class discussion, written feedback and target setting. A number of your essays will be peer marked against assessment criteria. At the end of the Mock exams your progress will be reviewed with you by your teachers and further mentoring will be offered to students to maintain target grades. You will discuss the level of your achievement and identify and set targets to enable you to meet your goals. This will be action planned in partnership with your teachers.

    Where it leads

    To higher education in any of the arts and humanities and a wide range of careers.

    Studying English Literature at Seven Kings High School contributes to your own personal development as a reflective, analytical and articulate individual. The skills and knowledge you acquire on this course are superb preparation for degree-level study, and are also useful for those intending to follow career paths such as law, management, advertising and marketing, media and education.