Why Study Literature?
Reading literature increases knowledge in an active, intellectually challenging way that other more passive activities, such as watching television cannot do. A thorough grounding in literature automatically provides knowledge of our literary heritage while at the same time increasing the student’s awareness of cultural values, history, sociology, psychology, and almost every branch of human knowledge. Literary study expands our capacity to sympathize with other human beings, enhances our ability to see and imagine human complexity, and broadens our intellectual horizons by enlarging our power to experience life vicariously.
Literature is also a facilitating subject, a serious academic discipline that appeals to universities for students intending to study a wide range of degrees.
How is it different from IGCSE?
At A level you have the time to really explore texts instead of racing through them as is necessary at IGCSE. You are also with other like-minded students, people who have chosen to do the subject because they enjoy it, which makes the level of debate more intense.
What do I need to study Literature?
You need to have an interest in words, an enquiring mind, and be prepared to share your thoughts with others in the class. An enjoyment of reading is obviously going to be an advantage.
AQA Literature B Specification
Paper 1: Literary Genres written exam: 2 hours 30 minutes closed book 40% of A-Level
75 marks closed book 40% of A-level 75 marks
Option 1A: Aspects of Tragedy (from Othello, King Lear, Tess of the D’Urbervilles, The Monk’s Tale, poetry of John Keats, The Great Gatsby, Death of a Salesman, Richard II*)
Section A: One passage-based question on set Shakespeare text.
Section B: One essay question on set Shakespeare text.
Section C: One essay question linking two texts.
Paper 2: Texts and Genres written exam: 3 hours open book 75 marks 40% of A-level
Study of 3 texts. Exam will include an unseen passage.
Option 2A: Elements of Crime Writing (Ian McEwan, Graham Greene, Charles Dickens, George Browning, Agatha Christie, Samuel Taylor Coleridge*)
Coursework: Theory and Independence 50 marks 20% of A-level
Study of two texts: one poetry and one prose text, informed by study of the Critical Anthology (students have a free choice of one poetry and one prose text). Two essays of 1250 -1500 words.