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English Literature

Advanced Level
Exam Board: AQA
Grade 5 in either English Language or English Literature GCSE and at
least a 4 in the other English subject

Why study English?

English Literature develops a range of skills. These include transferable skills, such as the ability to formulate an argument, using supporting evidence, writing a coherent and structured essay and promoting a point of view through verbal discussion. More than this, English Literature gives students access to a wealth of wonderful texts and encourages creative and critical thinking skills.

What skills are required?

A love of reading is essential. Students will be required to read widely and independently to support their learning and their understanding of the core texts.

They should also be keen to contribute ideas during class discussion.

In addition, students should be able to write fluently and accurately, organising their ideas in a logical and sequenced way.

An open mind, with the ability to listen to and build on the ideas of others is also an asset.

Course Content

Unit 1: Tragedy

Students will study 3 tragedy texts. These are likely to include Othello (William Shakespeare); Death of a Salesman (Arthur Miller) and a range of poetry by John Keats.

Unit 2: Crime Fiction

Students will probably study; Atonement; The Rime of the Ancient Mariner and The Murder of Roger Ackroyd

Unit 3: Coursework

Two pieces in response to a critical anthology, which will introduce students to a range of critical and theoretical approaches, such as feminism, Marxism and eco-critical theory.

How will it be assessed?

Unit 1: Aspects of Tragedy

  • 2 ½ hour exam paper at the end of Y13
  • 40% of A Level
  • 75 marks

Unit 2: Crime Fiction

  • 3 hour exam paper at the end of Y13
  • 40% of A Level
  • 75 marks

Unit 3: Coursework

  • 2 x 1500 word essays on topics of the students’ choice
  • 20% of A Level
  • 50 marks


Popular future career paths include Journalism, Law and Education, but the study of A Level English Literature opens many diverse avenues.

The subject is enormously well respected by universities and other Higher Education institutions.

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