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Queen Elizabeth Sixth Form

English Literature


 A Level

Exam Board


Entry Requirements

 Grade 6 at GCSE in English Literature.

Course Overview

Paper One: Literary Genres

2 hour 30 minutes written exam (closed book) – 40% A Level

This unit explores how texts can be connected through a mainstream literary genre: the aspects of Tragedy. The texts for this course have been grouped together based on a shared feature - traditional tragic drama - a theme that has its origins in the Ancient World.

Three texts are studied:

  • One Shakespeare text: Othello
  • Two further texts: Tess of the D’Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy & Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller

Paper Two: Texts and Genres

3 hour written exam (open book) – 40% A Level

This unit explores how texts can be connected through another key genre: political and social protest writing. Although it could be claimed that all texts are political, what defines the texts here is that they have issues of power and powerlessness at their core, with political and social protest issues central to each text’s structure. The political and social protest genre covers representations of both public and private settings.  All set texts foreground oppression and domination. The texts will examine a variety of cultural contexts. 

Three texts are studied:

  • The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
  • Songs of Innocence and Experience by William Blake
  • The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini

Non-Exam Assessment (NEA): Theory and Independence

20% A Level

A personal choice of two literary texts, explored using critical methods and ideas from the AQA Critical

Anthology including:

  • Narrative theory
  • Feminist theory
  • Marxist theory
  • Eco-critical theory
  • Post-colonial theory and
  • Literary value and the canon.

Two essays of 1250-1500 words; one must be a conventional essay, the other can be re-creative.

QE6 Extras / Co-Curriculum Opportunities

Students can lead or participate in: debate competitions; school performance productions; supporting in KS3 and KS4 English lessons; leading or participating in Young Writer’s Club and The Linguistic Society; acting as judges for writing competitions; reading and writing mentors and leading student voice questionnaires for students.


Throughout this English Literature programme, students will become experts in all things reading, writing and critical thinking. Most English Literature students are also experienced when it comes to expressing their thoughts and communicating effectively. Reading analytically, thinking critically and communicating clearly are fundamental skills for employment and can help individuals pursue jobs in a variety of fields, such as: education, publishing, editing, professional writing, media and journalism, law, marketing and public relations.