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English Literature

Examination Board: OCR
New English Literature A level first examination in June 2017

English Literature is not only about the close study of written texts but is also a study of the human condition. It examines what drives us – or haunts us: loyalty, friendship, love, jealousy, fear, sorrow, ambition, greed. Students discuss how these concepts affect our lives and study how writers present and explore these ideas using the particular techniques of prose, poetry or drama. What makes a piece of writing qualify as Literature that will last? This is a question at the heart of the study of English. Broadly, the best writing adds to the debate about why we behave in the ways that we do and why the world is as it is. Class discussions include aspects of history, politics, art history, sociology and psychology and how these have inspired writers.

Through the close analysis of texts from the medieval to present day, English Literature enables students to develop strong powers of analysis and debate. The subject will strengthen students’ essay writing and develop their ability to present, structure and analyse an argument. We organise a number of visits to London’s theatres to see productions of texts being studied or to see other plays that are interesting and fun. We also take advantage of academic conferences and relevant exhibitions at venues such as the British Library, the British Museum and the V&A.

English Literature A level is highly respected by university admissions tutors as a suitable qualification for the study of many different degree courses. Each year a number of our students go on to take English at degree level, either as a single honours course or in combination with another subject. Previous students have attended universities such as Oxford, Bristol, Nottingham, Sussex, and Kings College London. It can lead to careers in many different directions from journalism, broadcasting or advertising, to law, the City or academia.


What will I learn?

The course content includes:

Lower Sixth

Upper Sixth

Students revise the above texts and build on these by studying:

In addition students will write two coursework essays (approximately 3000 words in total) based on three texts written post-1900


Students sit two two-hour exams (closed text) at the end of the second year, each carrying 40% of the final marks.

The coursework carries the remaining 20% of the final marks.

About Fine Arts College

Hampstead Fine Arts College is one of the foremost Arts colleges in London. learn more about us, our staff and where our students fit in.


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