Sixth Form: English Literature

Summary

English Literature is a highly respected A level. As well as an English Literature degree itself, students of Literature might go on to study for University degrees in a range of subjects including: History, Sociology, Psychology, Drama and Theatre Studies and Law. Even Medical Schools value the subject highly.

It is also very effective in developing transferrable skills such as interpretive abilities, communication, an understanding of how language works, close analysis, and the ability to construct a well-argued case. These are highly valued in a range of graduate careers such as Teaching, Business and Finance, Journalism, Publishing – even Politics

OCR offers a wide range of texts, from engaging familiar classics to fresh contemporary literature. We feel that the spec is stimulating and has the scope to suit all tastes.  It is challenging, yet accessible.

Entry Requirements

  • Grade 5 or higher in English Literature

Syllabuses (Course Outline and Structure)

Overview of OCR A Level English Literature (H472)

Students study a minimum of eight texts, including at least two examples of each of the genres of prose, poetry and drama, to develop their ability to analyse and evaluate literary texts across a variety of genres and periods. Text choices are broad and appealing.

Component 01

Shakespeare

Students will study ONE Shakespeare play from the following list:

  • Coriolanus • Hamlet • Measure for Measure • Richard III • The Tempest • Twelfth Night
  • There is always an opportunity to see the play in performance

Drama and poetry (pre-1900)

Students will study one pre 1900 play from the following list:

  • Christopher Marlowe: Edward II
  • John Webster: The Duchess of Malfi
  • Oliver Goldsmith: She Stoops to Conquer
  • Henrik Ibsen: A Doll’s House
  • Oscar Wilde: An Ideal Husband

And then one pre 1900 poetry text from the following list:

  • Christopher Marlowe: Edward II
  • John Webster: The Duchess of Malfi
  • Oliver Goldsmith: She Stoops to Conquer
  • Henrik Ibsen: A Doll’s House
  • Oscar Wilde: An Ideal Husband

The three texts chosen for study will be purchased by the students as this will allow them to make detailed notes on their own copies. The exam is closed texts so they will be expected to learn quotations and have a very detailed knowledge of the texts.

  • This paper is worth a total of 60 marks
  • It is 2 hours and 30 minutes.
  • The paper is worth 40% of the A Level

Component 02

Close reading in chosen topic area

Students study 2 specific texts from ONE of the following topic areas:

  • American Literature 1880–1940
  • The Gothic
  • Dystopia
  • Women in Literature
  • The Immigrant Experience

They will be given an unseen passage from their chosen topic area and use their knowledge to write a detailed critical analysis.

Comparative and contextual study

Students will write a comparative essay using the two specific texts studied from their chosen topic area.

The three texts chosen for study will be purchased by the students as this will allow them to make detailed notes on their own copies. The exam is closed texts so they will be expected to learn quotations and have a very detailed knowledge of the texts.

  • This paper is worth a total of 60 marks.
  • It is 2 hours and 30 minutes.
  • The paper is worth 40% of the A Level.

Component 03

Students will produce two pieces of ‘coursework’ now referred to as Non Examined Assessments.

They will be given the opportunity to choose their own texts but must adhere to the rubric:

  • Students are required to study three literary texts (one text for Task 1 and two texts for Task 2)
  • the three texts must include one prose text, one poetry text and one drama text
  • the texts must have been first published or performed in 1900 or later
  • at least one of these texts must have been first published or performed in 2000 or later

Close reading OR re-creative writing piece with commentary.

Students can choose to produce a creative re-writing of their chosen texts with an accompanying commentary OR a close reading of their chosen text.

Comparative essay

  • This piece will compare two texts.
  • The NEA is worth 40 marks.
  • 20% of the total A Level.

Activities and Trips

There are usually opportunities to see performances of plays which students are studying for those studying English Literature.

Previously, we have been to listen to published authors speak as part of the Booker Prize Literary Festival.  We have also visited Art Galleries and live screenings at the cinema.  The English Department are always keen to support and encourage participation in a range of cultural events.

Expected Costs

Students are encouraged to purchase the set texts, so that they can annotate them for revision purposes.

Complementary Subject Combinations and Enrichment Activities

English Literature A Level is often studied in conjunction with other Arts-based subjects. Popular combinations include: Theatre Studies, History, Law, Psychology, Art and English Language.

English Literature can be studied at degree level and can lead to careers   in journalism, the media, education and law but equally, it is a facilitating subject which is well respected and can easily lead to a whole host of different careers.  We have students of English Literature who have gone on to a career in banking!

Subject Resources

Other information

This course would appeal to you if:

  • You enjoy reading for pleasure
  • You enjoy thinking! A lot! About everything…
  • You relish debate, discussion and analysis of different interpretations of texts
  • You wonder how historical, social or literary contexts might influence authors
  • You would like to trace the development of a literary genre over diverse texts