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English Literature (A Level)

Course outline

AS English – Component 1: Poetry (post-2000) and Drama (A Streetcar Named Desire), Component 2: Prose (Wuthering Heights and Mrs Dalloway).

A Level English – Component 1: Drama (Hamlet and A Streetcar Named Desire), Component 2: Prose (Wuthering Heights and Mrs Dalloway), Component 3: Poetry (Keats and post-2000 poetry), Component 4: independent coursework.

What type of student succeeds at English A Level?

English is a demanding A Level. It requires a challenging transition from GCSE to A Level studies. A love of books is essential as well as a sense of enjoyment from analysing texts.

Subject requirements at GCSE

A grade 6 in both GCSE English Language and English Literature are required in order to study English at A Level. In addition, all students sit a baseline test in September based on the work they are asked to complete over the summer break prior to them starting Year 12. 

Complementary subjects

English is well paired with any Art and Humanities subject such as History, Geography, Media, Drama, Sociology and Psychology. However, students have taken English in combination with science or business subjects, to develop more rounded skills and maintain a creative outlet.

Extra-Curricular Opportunities

The English department offers students a range of educational trips that help to bring studied texts to life.  Students have the opportunity to visit the Hampstead home of poet John Keats; the Yorkshire Dales, home of Emily Brontë (residential trip); and attend evenings of spoken word and poetry performances in Central London. 


Students receive homework every lesson. English is best learned through extensive reading and students get plenty of opportunity to do so. It is important for students to read other texts beyond those set for the exams. Students will also practise exam questions regularly for each set text.


Future Directions

Which university courses require English Literature A Level?

English degrees and related degrees such as Linguistics usually require English Literature.

Which university courses look favourably on English A Level?

Any essay based subject will look favourably on English A Level as it is proof that you can read complex texts and write well. Degrees might include History, Sociology, Philosophy or International Relations.

What are the entry requirements to study English at university?

English requires anywhere between A*AA and BCC.

Which careers could English A Level lead to?

Traditional paths might include Journalism, working in Government, Public Relations, Advertising or Teaching. Increasing numbers are doing Law Conversion courses to become lawyers, where their literacy skills are highly valued.