English Literature


Examining Board AQA

Specification B

You will enjoy English Literature if you like reading and discussing novels, plays and poems and if you are quite good at writing essays.

A level English Literature is highly regarded by all universities as a rigorous, traditional academic subject. A respectable grade demonstrates your ability to think critically, analytically, independently and creatively. It sits exceptionally well with other “arts” subjects like History and Modern Languages; complements creative subjects like Drama, Art and Music and also offers a valuable balance and contrast for scientists. Choosing English Literature means that you keep your options open. Any degree course or career area requiring good written and oral communications skills will regard A level English Literature as a solid foundation.

At Stover, our small groups mean that we can teach in seminar style; this helps to develop confidence and the ability to promote a viewpoint in discussion – invaluable skills for university. We are able to offer unrivalled support to individual students in coursework preparation, allowing the vast majority to gain superb marks.

Our results over the last ten years have been excellent, with a preponderance of A*, A and B grades. Our students have gone on to gain places on a wide variety of courses at excellent universities. 

There are four units and you will study about twelve texts over two years, some for examination and some for coursework. Here is an outline of the course:


Year 12: AS level “Aspects of Narrative”

Unit LITB1   84 marks 60% of AS    30% of A level

For examination: You will study two novels ( one must have been written after 1990) and two selections of poetry from 1800-1945. For example, our current choices are Birdsong by Sebastian Caulks and Great Expectations  by Charles Dickens plus poetry by Robert Browning  and John Keats.  We believe that these choices will provide a breadth and depth of English Literature. The focus for study is upon how writers construct their narrative texts, for example we look at narrative methods like openings, endings, time, places, characterisation, “voice” and viewpoint. We look at how different readers have responded to these texts as well as the contexts surrounding them. In May of 2013 you will do a two hour “open book”  exam.


Unit LITB2   60 marks 40% of AS    20% of A level

For coursework:  You will study the dramatic genre of comedy.  You will study one play by Shakespeare and one other play. For example current choices are Much Ado About Nothing and The Importance of Being Earnest. You will produce a portfolio of writing containing two pieces.  The word guidance for each piece is 1200-1500 words ie overall word limit is 3000 words ( excluding quotations). There is an opportunity to write a “re-creative” piece if this appeals to you.


Year 13 A2

Unit LITB3 80 marks    30% of total A level

For examination: You will study a topic area, either Elements of the Gothic, or Elements of the Pastoral. You will study a minimum of three texts, including one written 1300-1800.

In June 2014 you will do a two hour “closed book” exam.

For coursework: LITB4: “Further and Independent Reading”. You will study a minimum of three texts, including one pre-released anthology of critical material. You will produce a portfolio of two pieces of written coursework: a comparative study of two texts ( maximum 2000 words) and a response to an aspect of the anthology ( maximum 1500 words).

For more detailed information about text choices, teaching style, or indeed any question, please come and speak to Mrs Middleton or Mr Forsyth. The AQA website at www.aqa.org.uk will also give more detail of the syllabus – just follow the link for A level English Literature Spec B.

Examining Board OCR

did you know?

PASS RATE at A Level
PASS RATE at A Level