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English Literature

Contact: Mrs N. Cecere– Head of English


Course Structure & Overview


Exam Board: AQA
Syllabus: 8702
Unit 1: Written Paper (45501) 40%
Unit 2: Design and Making Practice (45502) 60%


English Literature is a very exciting, creative and interesting subject to study. It encourages students to develop knowledge and skills in reading, writing and critical thinking. Through Literature, students have the chance to develop culturally and acquire knowledge of the best that has been taught and written. Studying GCSE English Literature will also encourage students to read widely for pleasure.


Course Content


The GCSE is made up of two sections:


Paper 1: Shakespeare and the 19th century novel – 1 hour, 45 minutes – 40% of GCSE
Section A of the paper involves students answering a question on a Shakespeare play of their choice. They will be required to write in detail about an extract from the play and then to write about the play as a whole. Section B will require students to answer one question on their novel of choice. Again, they will be required to write in detail about an extract from the novel and then to write about the novel as a whole.


Paper 2: Modern texts and poetry – 2 hours, 15 minutes- 60% of GCSE
Section A will involve students answering one essay question from a choice of two on their studied modern prose or drama text. Section B will require students to answer one comparative question on one named poem printed on the paper and one other poem from their chosen anthology cluster. The final section of the paper will involve students answering one question on one unseen poem and one question comparing this poem with a second unseen poem.


Skills Developed


English Literature involves:

• Literal and inferential comprehension
• Critical reading
• Evaluation of a writer’s choice of vocabulary, grammar and use of structural features
• Comparing texts
• Producing clear and coherent text
• Accurate standard English


Progression Routes


Many of the students who enjoyed studying GCSE English Literature have gone on to study A Level English Literature. All employers will value the GCSE qualification as it encourages creativity, in depth critical and evaluative reading and accurate, effective and analytical writing using a wide range of vocabulary.


Future Careers


Nearly all employers will welcome and value students with qualifications in English Literature. Specific future careers specifically related to the subject include media and journalism, publishing, advertising, teaching and a career in the Arts.