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English Literature (Linear)

Awarding body: AQA
Specification number: A

Entry requirements

Five GCSE grades A*-C and an average point score of 40 or above.
Grade B or above in both English Literature and English Language GCSE.

Course content

Paper 1: Love through the Ages

Written exam making up 40% of A Level. Close study of three texts: one poetry, one pre-1900 and one Shakespeare play. Example texts include: an anthology of love poetry, The Taming of the Shrew, Othello, Jane Eyre, Wuthering Heights, The Great Gatsby, Rebecca and Atonement.

Paper 2: Texts in Shared Contexts (Modern texts: Literature from 1945 to the present day)

Written exam making up 40% of A Level. Close study of three texts: one prose, one poetry and one drama, one of which must be written post-2000. Example texts include: The Handmaid’s Tale, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, The Color Purple, The Help, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Seamus Heaney poetry, Sylvia Plath poetry.

Independent Critical Study: Texts Across Time

Coursework module making up 20% of A Level. One extended essay based on a comparative critical study of two texts. Students choose their own texts based on themes such as: the struggle for identity, the Gothic, satire and dystopia, war and conflict, representations of race and ethnicity or social class and culture.


Lessons are delivered through a variety of methods ranging from traditional didactic methods to interactive seminars.  A significant amount of reading and private study is expected.

Why English at Marlborough Science Academy?

The vast experience of English Literature teachers at Marlborough and the high level of passion they issue has helped deliver consistently strong results.  The teachers love for their subjects brings to life lessons and aides learning.

Expectations of students

A level English Literature expects students to think and discuss the texts and ask questions.  Students will need to do their own reading and research about texts and authors studied.  They must learn to study independently and realise that A level is a step up from GCSE level.

Students are expected to attend external lectures and theatre trips and visits outside school as appropriate.

Career paths

A huge range including Media, Teaching, Publishing, ICT and journalism. A strong university favourite, which will be appropriate for any Higher Education discipline, this subject shows that students can communicate effectively in writing and discussion.

Journalism and Media, History and International Relations.

History/International Relations at Oxford Brookes and Journalism and Media at Coventry.

How to apply

Mrs E Blount, The Marlborough Science Academy.