What do you study at A level English literature?
Are you a student considering taking English literature at A level? There are so many options to choose from at college, but English literature is always a respectable choice. It’s a facilitating subject that gains recognition from universities and employers all across the country. If you want to find out more about this subject, read on for more details!
What you’ll study
There’s no set answer of what you’ll study at English literature A level because every exam board and specification is different. One thing is certain: you’ll be required to study a selection of books. So, if you love the written word, this subject could be perfect for you! Students study a range of texts, including plays, poetry, and classic novels. Shakespeare, Dickens, and Austin are just a few literary names out there that you may come across, although the choice is often extremely large.
The Great Gatsby by F Scott Fitzgerald is usually a popular choice at A level, although students sometimes find themselves studying books and plays that they’ve never heard of too! Poetry is varied with an anthology of multiple different texts that students will have to analyse and discuss. Students don’t usually choose what texts they get to study. With this in mind, don’t worry too much if you don’t like one of the literary pieces on the specification.
You’ll study a range of pieces, so there’s bound to be something that appeals to you. This A level requires you to discuss the texts critically and analytically through written communication in essays. You’ll be studying the texts in great detail. You’ll learn to consider the context at the time that the plays, novels, and poems were written in, as well as the life of the author and what they were aiming to achieve.
What you’re examined on
Students should check their individual exam board to see how they are going to be assessed and what specific texts they will be studying. However, the exam format is often similar across most boards. Commonly, students will write a piece of coursework which contributes to a percentage of their overall grade. Sometimes, students can choose what literary piece to work with for this and are given freer rein than with the actual exams. Sometimes, the coursework demands that students compare two different texts, although again, this will depend on each individual specification. Along with the coursework, students usually also have to study for a couple of exams, most commonly two.
English literature can be great with learning about how to write a compelling argument and produce exceptional written communication. Students may also learn how to develop their verbal communication too with class discussions, as well as deepen their analytical skills. All these learnt skills make English literature students more desirable to universities and employers.
Overall, you can study a great deal in English literature, although the specific texts will vary depending on your specific exam board. However, the skills you’ll learn to develop will be similar regardless of the exam board.