A Level English Literature

Name of course


English Literature    

Examining board

Link to specification


OCR (A level English Literature H472)

The specification is here.


Course Entry Requirements


Grade 5 or above in GCSE English Language or Literature

Why English Literature?


You should choose English Literature if you enjoyed the analytical aspects of studying texts at GCSE level. You must have a passion for reading and discussing plays, novels and poetry, and be interested in big cultural, political and moral ideas – and be ready to express your views.

The course enables you to develop as an independent, confident and critical reader. You will develop skills of analysis and writing, producing sophisticated, good quality responses. You will also develop research skills and become part of a vibrant learning community, sharing and responding to suggested further reading and background articles.

English Literature at Seven Kings is a dynamic experience which challenges you to become an independent learner and leader. We’ll take you out of your intellectual comfort zone! You’ll be encouraged to explore new areas of literature and present your own Independent Oracy Project about your chosen texts. You’ll also have the opportunity to attend study trips, special literary breakfasts and day conferences, and attend theatre productions. You could also be selected for our Literary Leadership Team and help shape your peers’ learning experience by running our student lecture series or creative writing group.

Course Content


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

Where could this course lead to?


Studying English Literature at Seven Kings 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. Many of our students go on to study degrees in the arts and humanities at Russell Group universities.

Further Reading


Our core texts are: 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.


To prepare for the course, we suggest you read widely, selecting both modern and literary heritage texts, to give you as much breadth and understanding of different genres as possible.

What our students say about studying Literature









“I believe English is the language of power and the more I travel the more I realise how blessed I am to be a native English speaker. English gives me a sense of purpose through expression and the power of words' effect on individuals. Ultimately it is our primary source of communication, fascinating me as it can be manipulated to portray contrasting beliefs and ideas, which can be considered critically and deepen people's thoughts and understanding of texts. Arguably it is what makes us human, allowing us to understand current worldwide issues and events.”


“I picked English because it introduces you to a wide range of perspectives; English lets you create and discuss your own interpretations of a text and engage in rich debate with other students. This makes English a personal experience like no other A-Level: you get to decide which texts you read to support your learning, you get to decide what arguments to make. At the same time, my views have been consistently challenged and improved by my fellow students. This combination of autonomy and endless adaptability is the subject’s most fascinating aspect.”