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ENGLISH LITERATURE

A LEVEL

Contemplating your course choices? You're in the right place. It's about to get lit.

Let’s cut to the chase. If you love reading, delving into imaginary and historical worlds, and studying people and how they behave in challenging and unusual situations, get this course on your shortlist.

English Literature is the definitive programme of study for those voracious in the consumption of words.

 

 

You’ll not only love to read the classics. You’ll also want to think deeply about them. To understand their inventors – the writer. And to also write yourself.

Because there will be lots of notes on this course. They’ll be your guide while you revise. But notetaking isn’t meant to be a chore. Design how you take notes in a way that makes you happy. Annotations work for some people, but there’s nothing quite like the wide-open spaces of a big notepad – and a bunch of coloured highlighters to label key themes, characters, chapter summaries and timelines of events.

If you’re aiming for the best grades – maybe you’ve got designs on Xaverian’s High Achievers programme – then get stuck straight into the novels as soon as your reading list is revealed. Not only will this make your life easier in the run-up to exams – but you’ll also enjoy these great works, so much more.

You’ll spend much of your studies in conversation with fellow students, guided by tutors who also happen to be some of the most well-read people you’ve ever met.

 

And you’ll also get plenty of chance to gain a more holistic understanding of literature through other media – such as film adaptations. While films often overlook subtexts and motifs, they do bring characters to life, often in unexpected ways.

More often than not the texts we study are in the public domain – which means they’ll regularly be available for free not only as eBooks, but audio books.

We recommend LibriVox. Because as hardcore literature fans even when we’re untethered from our Kindles and paper pages, we like to know there’s a story in our ears.

Some students like to study English Literature and English Language as separate courses. And you have a third choice – Xaverian offers English Combined, a best-of-both-worlds literature and language-fest if you only have space for one A Level and need maximum wordsmithing in minimum time.

LESSON TIME!

Fancy yourself as a sleuth? Today you’ll join four of Xaverian’s literary detectives to peel back the construction of a core A Level text – Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale.

You’re about to take part in a lively discussion and debate about one of the most fascinating and controversial texts of the late 20th century.

Set in near-future New England, in a strongly patriarchal, totalitarian state, known as Gilead, The Handmaid’s Tale paints a gloomy picture but one of hope, as the protagonist Offred, determined to survive the terrifying world she lives in, quests to find the daughter taken from her.

We’ll talk about the use of tension and pathos to convey anticipation, anger – and terror.

As you’ll also hear during this session, English Literature is about analysing moral, historical and cultural heritage through texts. How writers capture and captivate the mind, teasing us into their world through well-considered, sophisticated storylines.

During this course as a literary critic you’ll develop a strong academic voice in evaluating the writers’ craft.

You’ll also hear from your Year 13 contemporaries in this session why they love studying English Literature at Xaverian.

They, like us, can’t believe there’s a qualification for relishing reading. 

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What’s next?

Accordion Content
  • Arts administrator
  • Copywriter
  • Editorial assistant
  • English as a foreign language teacher
  • Information officer
  • Journalist
  • Lexicographer
  • Librarian
  • Marketing executive
  • Media researcher
  • Teacher
  • PR officer

Languages feature heavily in the choices of Xaverian students who have enjoyed English Language, English LIterature, and English Combined.

But equally, because of the characters and how we delve deeply into their thoughts and behaviours, Philosophy and Psychology are popular degree-level courses.

The extensive experience you’ll gain in reading and extensive note-taking on this English Literature programme will also give you the confidence to consider other kinds of communications courses – such as Journalism, Marketing and Public Relations.

Component 1: 

Drama

Component 2: 

Prose

Component 3: 

Poetry

Component 4: 

Coursework

Entry requirements:

Six good passes at GCSE including two at grade 6 or above

Course specific entry requirements:

Grade 5 from English Literature

Course duration:

2 years

Assessment methods:

3 final exams and coursework

Course type:

Linear A Level

Exam board:

Edexcel

English Literature involves the study of a wide range of texts from a variety of historical and cultural traditions. You will read extracts from the texts in class but there is also a strong emphasis on independent reading – particularly with regard to the novels on the course. Your experience of English Literature will involve a range of activities. You will discuss the texts as a class and in groups. You will also learn how to write clear, concise and focused essays, which convey your opinions with flair and accuracy.

Studying English Literature has really developed my understanding of the subject, enhanced me both as a student and an individual and taught me how to be an independent thinker. Being at Xaverian has also enabled me to gain an offer of a place at the University of Oxford, which I am delighted about.

Abigail Pole, English Literature A Level student

RELATED COURSES

If you’re considering ENGLISH LITERATURE you might also want to check out:

English Language/Literature

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