English Literature

English Literature

English Literature

Why study this course?

English Literature is more like the English that you will know from your previous studies. If you enjoy the discussion of poetry, prose and plays and have an appreciation of the skill and magic in literature, then this is for you. English Literature requires you to be able to analyse and discuss literary texts, debate ideas about literacy, culture and society which are essential skills valued by universities and employers. The department have a successful track record with 50% of all students at A2 achieving A*, A or B grades.

How is the course structured?

The struggle for identity in modern literature

Unit 1

  • Examination - which is 60% of your AS level. There are two parts to the exam:
  • The Context Question 
You will be asked to analyse a non-fiction text and discuss this in relation to whole range of wider reading that you will do over the year about ‘Modern Identity'
  • The Poetry Set Text
 You will be asked to write an essay in response to a question about your poetry set text - The World's Wife by Carol Ann Duffy, or And Still I Rise by Maya Angelou.

Unit 2

  • Coursework - 40% of your AS level. There are two pieces of coursework:
  • Prose coursework. Writing and essay on The Road by Cormac McCarthy or The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini focussing on an area of your choice.
  • Drama coursework. Writing a comparative essay on two (or more) drama texts.


AQA AS English Literature - taught from September 2015
English Literature at A Level builds on what students know already from GCSE and to teach the skills every literature student needs to explore and understand a wide range of texts, and to help develop the valuable transferable skills of sustained research and composition.

The coursework aspect of the A Level will include a linked texts essay which is an ideal preparation for undergraduate study, as the skills it builds on in terms of independent study, devising tasks, working on a long-term project, drafting, redrafting and editing can only be developed over time.

The new English Literature A Level course will expose students to a wide range of literary texts from across time, genres and authorial perspectives. We will encourage student to read widely around the topics of the course and will study in class the genres of prose fiction, poetry and/or drama and at least one non-literary text such as critical works or non-literary fiction. We will teach students how to explore connections across a wide range of literary and non-literary texts and synthesise and reflect on their knowledge and understanding of linguistic and literary concepts and methods in the study of texts.

AS Level Love through the Ages

Paper 1: Love through the ages: Shakespeare and Poetry - 50% of total grade
What will you study?
Study of two texts: one Shakespeare play: Othello this year but will change and one AQA Anthology of love poetry through the ages.

How will you be assessed?
One exam paper: 1hr 30 mins
Section A:
Shakespeare. One passage from play with a linked essay question. (25 marks)
Section B:
Poetry. One question on a printed poem from the AQA Anthology (25 marks)

Paper 2: Love through the Ages: Prose - 50% of total grade

What will you study?
Study of two prose texts. Exam will include an unseen prose extract.

How will you be assessed?
One exam paper: 1hr 30 mins
Section A:
Unseen prose extract. One compulsory question on an unseen prose extract. (25 marks)
Section B:
Comparing prose texts. One comparative question on two prose texts. (25 marks)


What are the entry requirements?

For both subjects we expect pupils to achieve a grade B in the relevant subject, i.e. a grade B in GCSE English Literature in order to study AS Literature. We will consider lower grades, but in all truth the demands and difficulty of the course mean we advise those not achieving a B at GCSE to rethink their choices.

Which other subjects link well with this subject?

As both English options require pupils to have effective essay skills and the ability to analyse and formulate original opinions, they link naturally with subjects like History, Politics and Law. We also have links with Drama and Performing Arts due to cross-overs in texts studied. Naturally many of our students select both English subjects due to the obvious links they share.

What career paths would this course lead to?

Both English Literature and English Language are highly valued courses that will give pupils a sound footing in skills and knowledge to go into any job or course reliant on close study, analysis or reading. Many of our pupils go on to study Journalism, Teaching, Criminology, Psychology and Law at University. We are proud of the fact that many of our pupils choose to carry on their love of either English by choosing to study it at University; proof we believe that students find the courses and delivery rewarding and inspiring.

What specific skills will I learn?

  • Close analysis skills
  • Research and evaluation
  • Independent learning including personalised selection of texts and essay questions
  • Creative writing, comparative skills, critical analysis and essay writing techniques
  • The ability to stretch yourself and think deeply about the context and true meanings of texts

What Extra Opportunities are available?

Every year Literature at A2 offers the chance to visit the Globe theatre in London, to see Shakespeare as he was meant to be seen! 

We have also arranged trips to supplement the wider reading nature of the course, A Doll's House this year being just one example. 

As is always the case with the English department, we also pride ourselves in our close relationships with and support of pupils, meaning that in the run up to exams, we offer a dedicated and thorough set of exam revision classes to help pupils achieve all they can.

"Some of my happiest days were spent at Malbank Sixth Form College! I've made friends for life as well as achieving academically."

Amy Minshull excelled in her studies at Malbank Sixth Form and enjoyed her experience studying English literature so much so that she is continuing her studies in English Lit and Lang at the University of Liverpool. Amy is hoping her studies will support her aspirations of becoming a journalist.

Download Year 12 English Literature Curriculum Map 2014 / 2015

Download Year 13 English Literature Curriculum Map 2014 / 2015

Download A2 "Love through the ages" wider reading list

Struggle for Modern Identity Literature: AS Reading List. (Click Here To Download)