A Level English Literature

Name of course


A Level English Literature    

Examining board

OCR (H472)

Link to specification More information about the course can be found from the exam board website here

Course Entry Requirements

To study English Literature you must have a Grade 6 or above in GCSE English Literature

Why English Literature?


The texts you will read for your A level at Seven Kings are chosen to appeal to young people growing up in East London today. Our coursework on ‘place, belonging and identity’ explores aspects of the immigrant experience and multiculturalism. Our chosen genre study is dystopia which provides an amazing opportunity to explore how writers create literature which has huge relevance for our society today.

Lessons are highly enjoyable and fun, as students are encouraged to discuss challenging cultural, political and moral ideas. You’ll also grow as an independent learner, developing your own research, presentational and leadership skills.

Our students tell us they choose English Literature because they’re keen to develop their analytical and critical thinking skills, and their ability to express ideas with fluency and accuracy. It’s a great A level subject to combine with both humanity or science choices, offering maximum flexibility in terms of future university and career options. Employers want good communicators, whichever career path you choose!

We’ll support you develop as readers, providing strategies and advice on how to tackle our selection of rewarding texts. These are books which could change your life, and will definitely challenge your views!

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: place, belonging and identity)

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) Selected Poems of Elizabeth Bishop
  • Comparative essay (25 marks: 2,000 words) A View from the Bridge by Arthur Miller and the novel N-W by Zadie Smith

Where could this course lead to?


Studying English Literature at A level allows you to develop skills in written and spoken expression, analysis and critical thinking, which will complement your other subject choices. English Literature students go on to study for a wide variety of degrees, both in the humanities and sciences. Many of our students are aiming for careers in law, management, advertising and marketing, the arts, media and education. But we also have students heading for careers in pharmacy and bio-medics. As a Russell Group facilitating subject, English Literature opens up your options.

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; Selected Poems of Elizabeth Bishop; A View from the Bridge, Arthur Miller; N-W by Zadie Smith

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.”