English Literature has been added to My Courses


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This subject is designed to appeal to students who love reading and wish to extend their knowledge and understanding of a wide range of literary texts. The course aims to develop your understanding of literary contexts and allows you to experience reading a range of genres from a range of literary periods. You will learn techniques and strategies to help you to read texts closely and critically and to be able to arrive at your own conclusions about meaning, whilst exploring differing critical viewpoints.

With English Literature, you will explore a wide range of prose fiction, drama and poetry through discussion, analysis and interpretation. You’ll debate themes and characters, discover the wider contexts which influence the writers and develop your confidence to respond to literary texts with creativity and imagination. The course covers some of the greatest literature ever written, from Shakespeare’s time to the modern day.

To enjoy and be successful in this course you need to have a love of reading and be willing to share your passion for literature with others. You will be encouraged to participate in wider reading sessions and other literature-based enrichment activities, allowing you to make links to themes and ideas related to the set texts.

Course content


The OCR A-level English Literature course is divided into three components. We will be studying a variety of poetry, drama and prose fiction. You will be examined at the end of your second year, and you will also complete a coursework file towards the beginning of the second year of study.

Component 1: Drama and Poetry pre-1900

Shakespeare (The Tempest by William Shakespeare)

Drama and Poetry pre-1900 (A Doll's House by Henrik Ibsen and selected poems by Christina Rossetti)

Written paper 60 marks (Closed text 2 hours 30 minutes 40% of total A-Level)

Component 2: Comparative and Contextual study

This unit covers the amazing stories of love and disillusionment that can be so central to the immigrant experience. We study the narratives of Jamaican immigrants to Britain in Andrea Levy's novel Small Island as well as Pakistani identity in the USA in Mohsin Hamid's The Reluctant Fundamentalist, as well as reading widely in the area of immigrant literature with extracts from novels like White Teeth and Brick Lane.

Written paper 60 marks (Closed text 2 hours 30 minutes 40% of total A-Level

Component 3: Literature post-1900

Close reading OR re-creative writing piece with commentary (Brand New Ancients by Kae Tempest)

Comparative essay: Literature post-1900 (Selected stories of Raymond Carver and Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller.

40 marks (Non-examined assessment 20% of total A-Level)  

Methods of Teaching and Learning

You will engage with a wide range of learning activities whichever English course you decide to do, including group discussions, independent study, presentations and research projects. We aim to provide a varied and rich curriculum and encourage all students to participate in enrichment opportunities offered, including theatre trips, visits, workshops and visiting speakers.

This course follows a two-year linear specification. The exams at the end of two years are worth 80% of the A-level and all students are required to submit a coursework element which is worth 20% of the A-level. You will be assessed formally and informally over the two years through terminology tests, analytical essays, presentations, discussions, and creative writing pieces.


We have a wide range of exciting enrichment in English Literature from theatre trips to competitions and guest speakers such as authors and academics. We also have a very dynamic student book discussion group where students meet to discuss books they have loved reading such as Frankenstein and The Bell Jar.


You will work from booklets, shared resources on Teams, worksheets and textbooks. Online platforms are also used to support your learning. You will be expected to purchase your own set texts. Support may be available to buy texts through the College bursary. You can expect to spend about £25 - £40 on your set texts (many of the books are available second hand). You will also need to budget for stationery, equipment and educational visits.


There are no course charges, but there is an expectation that students who are able to afford to buy their own text books should do so. If theatre trips and educational visits are arranged, these will also need to be paid for.


English studies combine well with a wide range of other subjects. Through studying English, you develop high quality communication skills and all courses offer you the opportunity to develop your skills of critical analysis. These skills are highly transferable and support a wide range of progression routes, whether in higher education or in employment.

Where can this course lead?

Apply for this course

Find out how to apply for A-level English Literature.

English Literature has been added to My Courses