A Level English Language (Reformed 2015)

What is English Language?

Study of English Language is at the heart of the humanities. The new AS and A level courses from AQA offer a challenging programme of learning that fosters acquisition of a skillset to enable the taking apart of texts in an almost scientific manner. Any discourse in the language is open for this kind of work, so there is scope to reach back as far as a play or essay written in the year 1600, and to the latest ‘Twitterstorm’. The course explores the study of English language both as a medium of communication and as a topic in its own right, with an emphasis on the ability of students to pursue lines of enquiry, analyse texts produced by others and debate different views. The course draws academic insights from a range of fields within the study of English language/linguistics, including sociolinguistics and discourse analysis.

What sort of student does it suit and what will you get out of the course?

English Language is a good choice for students considering a humanities course alongside subjects otherwise focused towards sciences and mathematics. The course mixes some of what might be found in literature, history, psychology, sociology, media and creative subjects. You will need to be a person that writes well and have the ability or potential to analyse data and language in ways that could be described as forensic. You will learn to take language apart and explain how and why it works; how and why it is the way it is. People considering a future in legal professions may find this kind of study to be extremely valuable.

AS Level

MPW approach to AS study

With exciting text and data based sources of language, the course introduces the study of English in its various forms and contexts. The concepts and methods appropriate for the analysis of language underpin all elements of the course. The linguistic framework is learned through its application to a wide range of texts selected by tutor and students. The variety of assessment styles used, such as data analysis, discursive essays and directed writing allows students to develop a range of skills. These include critical reading, data analysis, evaluation, the ability to develop and sustain arguments and a number of different writing skills which are invaluable for both further study and future employment.

AS Specification (7701)

Paper 1: Language and the individual

  • Textual variations and representations, involving language analysis
  • Written exam: 1 hour 30 minutes
  • 70 marks (50% of AS)
  • Questions to analyse and then to compare two unseen language texts

Paper 2: Language varieties

  • Understanding of language diversity and skills in writing are assessed
  • Written exam: 1 hour 30 minutes
  • 70 Marks (50% of AS)
  • Section A – discursive essay on language diversity (30 marks)
  • Section B – directed writing task on attitudes to language (40 marks)

Reading List

AuthorTitlePublisher
Marcello Giovanelli (Ed) A-level English Language for AQA  Cambridge University Press

 

A Level

MPW approach to A Level study

As with the AS course, there are a variety of assessment styles used. The addition of original writing and research-based investigative writing allows students to develop a wider and deeper range of skills through the full A-level. Students will be required to identify and describe features of language in texts using methods of language analysis. In order to study textual variations and representations, students will be required to identify and describe salient features of language in the texts. These features include phonetics, phonology, graphology, lexis and semantics, grammar, pragmatics and discourse. The approach is text-based, meaning that from first principles to high theory, work is focused on exemplification through texts.

Students will create texts and reflect critically on their own processes of production, while analysing the texts produced by others. The course explores the study of language both as a medium of communication and as a topic in its own right, with an emphasis on the ability of students to pursue lines of enquiry, debate different views, and work independently to research aspects of language in use. Language is seen as a creative tool for expression and social connection, as well as for individual cognition. The study of language as a symbolic system used to assert power in society is also fundamental to the scope of this course.

A level Specification AQA (7702)

Paper 1: Language, the individual and society

  • Textual variation and representations; Children’s language development (0-11 years)
  • Written exam: 2 hours 30 minutes
  • 100 marks (40% of A-level)
  • Section A – two unseen texts (one contemporary and one older text) linked by topic or theme. Questions to analyse and then to compare the texts
  • Section B – discursive essay on children’s language development, with choice of two questions involving data

Paper 2: Language diversity and change

  • Written exam: 2 hours 30 minutes
  • 100 marks (40% of A-level)
  • Section A – choice of an evaluative essay on diversity or change (30 marks)
  • Section B – unseen text based exam, with questions requiring analysis of how two texts use language to present ideas, attitudes and opinions (40 marks), followed by a directed writing task linked to the same topic (30 marks)

Non-exam assessment: Language in action

  • Language investigation, involving data collection, plus a piece of original writing with commentary
  • 100 marks (20% of A-level)

Reading List

AuthorTitlePublisher
Marcello Giovanelli (Ed) A-level English Language for AQA Cambridge University Press

 

Jonathon

Grades achieved at MPW
A*AA

Progressed to
Exeter University (Business Management)

I chose MPW because of the academic support provided by the college, which was instrumental in helping me throughout the challenging nature of my one-year A level courses. The weekly Timed Assignments and assistance provided by the Personal Tutor system helped me in areas I had previously struggled. Playing for the college football team was a great release from the challenging academic nature of the year and it helped me build friendships with other students in the college.

Shivali

Grades achieved at MPW
AAA

Progressed to
Leeds University (Dentistry)

The best part about studying at MPW is the friendly, encouraging and supportive classroom environment that MPW provides.  It makes asking for help and reaching your potential easy and enjoyable. The college really helps students to believe in themselves.  The Personal Tutor system is great because it is available for you to use to whatever extent you might need whether that be having weekly meetings or meeting every now and then for a quick catch up to analyse my current progress.  The weekly Timed Assignments have also enabled me to build my confidence in the build up to my exams.  They help you to feel comfortable in an exam environment, as well as enable you to consolidate the material you need to recall in the final exams

Annabel

Grades achieved at MPW
A*AB

Progressed to
Exeter University (International Relations and History)

“Having not achieved the grades I wanted or needed in my A levels at my previous college I decided that retaking would be the best option for me.  I have found the small classes at MPW to be a real asset, and that, coupled with the fantastic teaching, has certainly enabled me to grow academically. Further to this, both the academic support and the university guidance provided by the college have been exceptional.”

Renee

Grades achieved at MPW
A*A

Progressed to
Manchester University (Dentistry)

After failing to get into Dental School last year I lost a lot of confidence and was worried that I might never get into my dream course.  The one-to-one support you get from MPW is so much more efficient compared to the main stream schools and colleges. The individual help you get for applying to University which includes interview support is amazing. No matter if you are a resit or a first time student, no one judges you and as long as you are hardworking and want to be a success.

Jake

Grades achieved at MPW
A*A*A*A

Progressed to
Oxford University (Mathematics)

I joined MPW because I wanted to be part of a close knit community that focuses on helping students attain the grades they are really capable of.  Each student is assigned a Personal Tutor who assists them in all aspects of student life.  I would recommend the individual and personally tailored care given to any student looking to expand their academic horizons.  The encouragement and support has allowed me to aim high and achieve results that I had previously thought weren't possible. 

Cordelia

Grades achieved at MPW
A*AA

Progressed to
King’s College London (Dentistry)

MPW gave me a second chance in pursuing a career in dentistry. The small class sizes and weekly timed assessments gave me and my tutors a clear indication of my progress.  The rigorous teaching schedules, structured and tailored to my personal needs, was exactly what I needed. MPW placed heavy focus on exam technique as the key to achieving the required higher grades. Being able to talk with my tutors at any time in the day was an invaluable aid. It was also clear how much the teachers took a personal interest in the development of each individual student.

Josephine

Grades achieved at MPW
A*AA

Progressed to
University of Warwick (Management)

I joined MPW having not fulfilled my academic potential during my AS level exams at my previous school. I decided to retake my AS year at MPW and it was the best decision I ever made. The tutors at MPW have pushed me to achieve my maximum potential and have greatly improved my academic performance. The best part of studying at MPW is the weekly timed assignments as they ensure that you continuously review and revise work as well as helping you to make weekly improvements on exam technique.

Olivia

Grades achieved at MPW
A*AA

Progressed to
Bristol University (Dentistry)

Throughout my time at MPW I have been provided with constant support.  The college has prepared me for not only my exams but also the university interviews I attended.  It has been an amazing experience from start to finish.  The friendly and welcoming environment created by the staff and students made it an ideal setting for me to concentrate on achieving my targets.

Alex

Grades achieved at MPW
AAA

Progressed to
University of Birmingham (Law)

I came to MPW with very low self-confidence after under-achieving at AS level at my previous school, and have left with greater confidence about my academic ability and with a definite degree of clarity about what I hope to achieve in terms of my career. My experience at my previous school was that those with Oxbridge potential receive the most support and attention. This is not the case at MPW. I have found that it does not matter about that what the student's potential may be, each student receives the same amount of help to achieve their goals.