Head of Department: Mrs S Morter

Examination Board:  OCR

Course Content

The English Literature course is designed to appeal to students who have an interest in reading prose, poetry and drama from both the past and present and who enjoy studying a subject which is relevant to their own lives and experiences. 

It offers a programme of study that will be rewarding in its own right and forms a basis for further specialist study at degree level. 

The course will enable students to:

  • develop their interest and enjoyment of literature by reading widely, independently, creatively and critically
  • sharpen their thinking processes as they discuss their ideas in class
  • gain an understanding of the traditions in English Literature
  • make informed opinions and judgements on literary texts
  • gain an appreciation of cultural, historical and other influences on texts
  • communicate their reactions to a range of texts of different types and periods
  • explore comparisons and contrasts between texts
  • use literary critical concepts and terminology with discrimination

Students are required to pay for their own copies of the set texts, which they will be encouraged to annotate; they will not be allowed to take them into the examination however, as both AS and A2 have closed text examinations.

Scheme of Assessment

English Literature is now a linear specification.  Candidates study a minimum of six texts at AS and a further six texts at A2 including at least one play by Shakespeare, one work written between 1300 and 1800, one work first published or performed after 1990 and one other text published between 1800 and 1945. 


Unit 1: Poetry & Prose 1800 - 1945 – this examination unit carries 30% (60% AS) of the overall marks and lasts two hours.  Students must answer two questions, one on prose and one on poetry. Study of the chosen prose text must be complemented by study of a literary-critical text.  Typical authors within this unit include: Charlotte Bronte, Oscar Wilde, Thomas Hardy, William Wordsworth, Yeats and Emily Dickinson.

Unit 2: Literature Post-1900 Coursework  20% (40% AS) of the marks and involves two tasks based on three post-1900 texts, at least one of which must be first published or performed after 1990.  Students must produce a folder of coursework of a maximum of 3000 words, focusing on two tasks: close reading or re-creative writing with a commentary and an essay exploring connections between texts.


Unit 3: Drama & Poetry –30% of the marks available and lasts two hours.  Students must answer two questions, one on the set Shakespeare play such as: King Lear or The Tempest, and one in which they refer to both pre-1800 poetry and drama texts, making connections between them.  Typical examination authors include: John Ford, Ben Jonson, Andrew Marvell, Chaucer.

Unit 4: Texts in Time – this coursework unit carries 20% of the overall marks.  Students are required to cover three texts of their choice, one prose and one poetry text, with the third taken from any genre. 

Texts can be selected from any period and also across periods, depending on candidates’ interests.  Students must produce one extended essay of a maximum of 3000 words, enabling them to compare all three texts.