English Literature

Course specficiation: OCR: A Level H472

Sixth Form StudentsContent of course

Students study a minimum of eight texts including:

  • at least three texts published before 1900, including at least one text by Shakespeare
  • at least one work first published or performed after 2000
  • at least one unseen text

The course will require learners to show knowledge and understanding of:

  • the ways in which writers shape meaning in texts
  • the ways in which texts are interpreted by different readers, including over time
  • the ways in which texts relate to one another and to literary traditions, movements and genres
  • the significance of cultural and contextual influences on readers and writers

Component 1 covers Shakespeare and pre-1900 drama and poetry. It is a closed-text examination of 2 hours 30 minutes and is worth 40% of the whole A Level.

Component 2 is topic-based. The school will choose one of the following set topics and students will answer one question on an unseen passage, related to the topic, and also an essay focusing on two texts linked with the topic. The topics set for the first examinations are American Literature 1880-1940, The Gothic, Dystopia, Women in Literature and The Immigrant Experience. This is again assessed through a closed-text examination of 2 hours 30 minutes and is 40% of the total A Level.

Component 3 is coursework, with two essays, one requiring close study of a passage through either a critical or a recreative response; the other being a comparative essay. The texts for Component 3 are post-1900 and at least one must be post-2000.

Key skills

  • An enthusiasm for reading
  • An aptitude for discussing texts and ideas
  • An ability to express ideas clearly in writing

Enrichment opportunities

  • Theatre productions of set texts
  • Workshops, talks from visiting speakers and lecture series
  • Some students choose to go to courses led by the Oxford Debate Chamber, as advertised by the department

Higher Education and career prospects

English Literature A Level is highly regarded as a suitable preparation for a range of courses including American Studies, Creative Writing, Irish and Scottish Literature, and English and Drama, as well as the traditional and exciting English Literature courses, History, Theology, Classics and Law. English Literature develops skills that are central to careers in law, journalism, the media, personnel and public relations, education and publishing.

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