Is A level English hard?

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Are you a student wondering what A levels to take? Some students might be considering choosing A level English, although they could be concerned about this subject’s difficulty. If you’re thinking about choosing English, read on for more discussion about its level of difficulty.

It depends on the individual student

As with any subject’s difficulty, it depends on the student as an individual. Some students will be more academically capable in essay-based subjects like English, whilst others may struggle reading and writing dense texts. Some students usually have strengths that lie in science rather than English. With A levels, it’s common knowledge that you should play to your strengths when picking subjects. This is because they’re so difficult, meaning that you’d want to give yourself the best chance of success with those higher grades. Some students might have a natural flair for writing and analysing sources, making them stronger candidates to find English easier than other students. So, all in all, the difficulty of English depends on each student and their individual strengths.

In comparison to other subjects

A levels are notoriously harder than GCSE qualifications. Many students get a big shock from the challenging step up they face when starting college after GCSEs. The same goes for the transition from GCSE English to A level English. GCSE English is a lot simpler, and A level English requires you to study in more detail, know more literary and language devices, and have a more academic flair for writing to gain higher marks. So, A level English is hard compared to GCSE English.

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However, it might also be worth comparing it to other A level subjects. Arguably, English has less content to learn than history, which is often said to be overwhelming with its heavy workload. Furthermore, it’s known by many that further maths, physics, and chemistry are deemed as the hardest A level subjects out there. However, this is all down to individual opinion.

Being a large step up from GCSE, English A level students will have to be prepared to put more work into this subject than previously. This could include reading revision guides on the books and plays you’re studying and an online a level English tutor will certainly help too. You could even practise writing exam essays under timed conditions. As with any essay subject, time management is usually quite difficult in English, requiring students to write a lot in a little amount of time. This will be difficult for some students who are less organised.

A level English requires incredibly deep and thoughtful analysis, a skill not gifted to every student. It can be practised to create improvement, although English is arguably difficult because it’s subjective to learn. There are no right or wrong answers with essay answers, meaning that it’s difficult to measure yourself against a vague mark scheme unlike more objective subjects like maths and the sciences.

This is why many students fail to grasp the concepts in English and don’t manage to hit those higher grades. English could be easy for some students, although it depends on the individual.

If you, or your parents would like to find out more, please just get in touch via email at or call us on 0800 689 1272

If you, or your parents would like to find out more, please just get in touch via email at or call us on 0800 689 1272