Why choose A Level English Literature

Students will be expected to have met St Paul’s entry requirements of 2 Grade 5’s and 4 Grade 4’s. A minimum of grade 4 in English and Maths is essential for all courses.

Paper 1: Literary Genres: Drama

Choice of two options: Option 1A: Aspects of Tragedy Study of three texts: one Shakespeare text; a second drama text and one further text, of which one must be written pre-1900. Current texts are: Shakespeare: Othello Drama and Pre-1900: Richard II A further text: The Great Gatsby

Assessed written exam: 2 hours 30 minutes, closed book, 40% of A-level


  • Section A: One passage-based question on set Shakespeare text (25 marks)
  • Section B: One essay question on set Shakespeare text (25 marks)
  • Section C: One essay question linking two texts (25 marks)

Paper 2: Texts and Genres (Political and Social Protest Writing)

Choice of two options: Option 2A: Elements of Crime Writing OR Option 2B: Elements of Political Writing Study of three texts: one post-2000 prose text; one poetry and one further text, one of which must be written pre-1900 Current texts are: Post 2000 Prose: The Kite Runner One Poetry: William Blake Further and pre-1900 text: A Doll’s House

Assessed written exam: 3 hours, open book, 40% of A-level, to include unseen element


  • Section A: One compulsory question on an unseen passage (25 marks)
  • Section B: One essay question on set text (25 marks)
  • Section C: One essay question which connects two texts (25 marks

Non-Exam Assessment: Theory and Independence

Study of two texts: one poetry and one prose text, informed by study of the Critical Anthology, two essays of 1250 -1500 words. One essay can be re-creative. The re-creative piece will be accompanied by a commentary. 20% of A level. Assessed by teachers, moderated by AQA

Assessment Board: AQA

English Literature A-level is an essential subject for an English degree. Some drama, media studies, American studies and law degree courses will also ask for an English literature A-level. The Russell Group Informed Choices guide also recommends English Literature A-level for those who want to take degree courses in classics, French and other modern languages, teacher training, history, history of art, politics and religious studies.

A degree in English Literature can lead to careers within advertising, publishing, journalism, teaching, TV and Film, healthcare, sales and many more.