GSO Test

English Literature A Level

Awarding Body


Assessment Structure

80% examination (at the end of the course)

20% NEA

Minimum entry requirement

  • NBP16C level 3 entry requirements
  • GCSE (5) in English language and English literature, and a love of reading

Why should I study this course?

Quite simply because it will teach you something about everything! This course is ideal if you have a passion for reading and discussing literary texts from all genres and periods. Discovering, analysing and discussing different texts will enable you to develop your critical thinking and communication skills. By studying literature, you develop your appreciation for our imagination and enjoyment of the written word. 

What will I learn?

Drama and poetry pre-1900 (40%): You will study Hamlet in detail using many different interpretations to illuminate Shakespeare’s form, structure and language choices. You will also study Ibsen’s A Doll’s House and Christina Rossetti poetry. You will explore how texts relate to each other and to literary traditions, movements and genres.

Comparative and contextual study (40%): American prose 1880-1940: This is an American prose unit where you will study 2 set texts (The Great Gatsby and either The Grapes of Wrath or The Age of Innocence) as well as learn how to respond to Unseen texts. You will be reading widely and independently within the topic of study.

NEA: Literature post-1900 (20%): This component encourages individual study, interest and enjoyment of modern literature. You will study three literary texts, which must include one prose text, one poetry text, and one drama text.

How will I learn?

You will experience a variety of teaching methods, from lectures to whole group discussions, small group work, individual research and seminars. The department runs trips to the theatre and cinema and organises various enrichment activities, such as visiting lecturers and writers.

What can I do with my qualification?

There is no limit to the opportunities this A level can open. English literature is a highly regarded and prestigious A level welcomed by many employers as it emphasises disciplined thought, communication and creativity. It also provides a wide range of opportunities for many different degree courses.

What do students say?

“I love poetry, prose and drama and so this course most definitely satisfied my voracious reading habit and curiosity of literature.” - ex-student, now a literature undergraduate

“The teaching is engaging and stimulating- it also allows for independence and a real personal interest”  - Year 12 English literature student

“The course facilitates a range of really useful skills that are applicable almost daily.” - Year 13 English literature student