English Literature A-Level | Surbiton High School
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English Literature A-Level

Examination Board: Edexcel

The English Literature A-level is a stimulating and challenging course which will develop your ability to interpret texts, articulate your own views and experience a rich range of literature.

You will begin with the study of comparative prose, focusing on texts such as Mary Shelley’s ‘Frankenstein’ and Kazuo Ishiguro’s ‘Never Let Me Go’. Comparative skills will be honed though your coursework too: a 3000-word essay examining a theme or issue in two texts of your choice. Designed to enable you to explore areas of literature which interest you, this coursework essay will help develop your academic voice and enhance your ability to maintain a robust argument. You will deepen your appreciation of poetry both through the analysis of contemporary seen and unseen texts alongside a named poet or movement.

No literature course would be complete without Shakespeare! You will be studying ‘Twelfth Night’ in conjunction with an anthology of critical materials to illuminate and support your readings of the comedy genre.

Each aspect – poetry, prose and drama – will be assessed by different examination papers at the end of this linear course.

Students undertaking the A-level should be avid and voracious readers with a desire to discuss and build on your understanding of texts. You should be willing to engage in lively and in-depth discussions, and to read widely and independently, using the wealth of resources the School has to offer.


Component 1: Drama

■ Externally assessed: 2 hours and 15-minute exam worth 30% of the total grade.
■ Section A: Shakespeare – one question from a choice of two on their studied text.
■ Section B: Other drama – one essay question.
■ Open book.

Component 2: Prose

■ Externally assessed: 1 hour and 15-minute exam worth 30% of the total grade.
■ One comparative essay on a theme.
■ Open book.

Component 3: Poetry

■ Externally assessed: 2 hours and 15-minute exam worth 30% of the total grade.
■ Section A: one question from a choice of two, comparing an unseen modern poem with a named poem from the chosen contemporary text.
■ Section B: one essay question on specified poetry.
■ Open book.


■ Internally assessed and externally moderated coursework worth 20% of the total grade.
■ One 2500-3000 word essay comparing two texts linked by theme, movement, author or period.