A Level English Literature (Reformed 2015)

What is English Literature?

The study of English Literature at A level is, in broad terms, an introduction to one of the major Arts and an opportunity to read constructively from a wide range of important writing between the fourteenth century and the present time. It is a discipline which fosters the development of perceptive analytical skills and independent thought. A minimum of four texts will be studied and the specification will cover the three literary genres: drama, poetry and prose. The specifications for AS and A level starting 2015 are both new and will be first examined in 2016 for AS level and 2017 for A level. The course is linear and the AS level, as with all other subjects which are in the first wave of new specifications, will not contribute towards the full A level.

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

This course combines well at A level with any other subject, offering close contextual and conceptual links with Humanities and the Arts, a concern with the development of the human mind and spirit parallel to those which Medicine and Psychology pursue, and a close study of definitive text from at least seven centuries which can underpin studies preparatory for the legal profession. It may also offer a balancing discipline for study with pure sciences and Mathematics. All universities perceive English Literature at A level to be a rigorous academic subject, and students who wish to continue their studies in English Literature at university will find entry very competitive for this subject. They will, however, also find a broad range of courses in which it may be studied in combination with other subjects.

AS Level

MPW approach to AS study

The OCR specification is structured appropriately to ease the transition from GCSE to A level. The Tutorials are, by the nature of the subject, interactive as well as analytical. Students who study English Literature are expected to draw and reflect on their own life experiences to understand the themes of the texts studied. In addition, tutors will help develop the language skills of the students by analysing the techniques and devices of inspiring novelists, playwrights and poets. With a view to preparing students for the A2 course, tutors will encourage students to look for thematic links and to explore the social, cultural and historical contexts of the characters and the authors they study. There will be one weekly Timed Assignment as well as two homework assignments per week. It goes without saying that students will be required to read widely in order to broaden their vocabulary and to enhance their writing style. The MPW English Department prides itself on the programme of theatre trips and conferences it arranges to support and encourage the enjoyment of literature. We benefit hugely from being located in close proximity to the Crescent Theatre, Birmingham Rep and the Midlands Arts Centre and within easy travelling distance of The Royal Shakespeare Company in Stratford-Upon Avon. The department benefits greatly from the involvement of tutors who are very experienced, possess specialist knowledge of a broad range of literary genres and writers and are Principal examiners for this board and level.

AS Specification Number
OCR H072 


Component 01 50% Examination
Shakespeare and poetry pre -1900

Assessment is by means of a written one hour and thirty minutes paper which is closed book. Two texts are selected for study: one Shakespeare and one pre-1900 poetry texts. Candidates are required to answer two questions, one from each section of the paper.

Works of drama (Shakespeare) and poetry ranging from Geoffrey Chaucer to Christina Rossetti are examined with a view to developing critical literary skills and greater understanding of the contexts in which texts are produced together with the variety of possible interpretations. They will need to relate their study of a given poem or extract from a longer work to the text as a whole.

Component 02 50% Examination
Drama and Prose post- 1900

Assessment is by means of a written one hour and forty five minutes paper which is closed book. Two texts are selected for study: one Drama and one prose texts, both of which are written post-1900. Candidates are required to answer two questions, one from each section of the paper.

Through this study of modern literature, including drama ranging from Harold Pinter to Tennessee Williams and prose from Scott Fitzgerald to Angela Carter, candidates learn to compare texts and gain confidence in their use of literary critical concepts and terminology. They will develop their appreciation of the cultural and and contextual influences on writers and readers, responding in the prose section critically and creatively to their set text and an unseen prose passage which is linked thematically to their set text.

Reading List

Tutors will advise on the versions of set texts required at the start of the course.

 

A Level

MPW approach to A level study

The OCR specification is structured appropriately to ease the transition from GCSE to A level. The Tutorials are, by the nature of the subject, interactive as well as analytical. Students who study English Literature are expected to draw and reflect on their own life experiences to understand the themes of the texts studied. In addition, tutors will help develop the language skills of the students by analysing the techniques and devices of inspiring novelists, playwrights and poets. With a view to preparing students for the A2 course, tutors will encourage students to look for thematic links and to explore the social, cultural and historical contexts of the characters and the authors they study. There will be one weekly Timed Assignment as well as two homework assignments per week. It goes without saying that students will be required to read widely in order to broaden their vocabulary and to enhance their writing style. The MPW English Department prides itself on the programme of theatre trips and conferences it arranges to support and encourage the enjoyment of literature. We benefit hugely from being located in close proximity to the Crescent Theatre, Birmingham Rep and the Midlands Arts Centre and within easy travelling distance of The Royal Shakespeare Company in Stratford-Upon Avon. The department benefits greatly from the involvement of tutors who are very experienced, possess specialist knowledge of a broad range of literary genres and writers and are Principal examiners for this board and level.

A Level Specification Number
OCR H472

 

Component 01 40% Examination
Shakespeare, drama and poetry pre 1900

Assessment is by means of a written two hour and 30 minute paper which is closed book. Three texts are selected for study, two drama- one Shakespeare and one other dramatist and one poetry texts. All the texts must be written pre 1900. Candidates are required to answer two questions, one from each section of the paper. The study of Shakespeare is the focus for the first question whilst in the second they will explore connections between their chosen texts from the genres of drama and poetry. Through the course, candidates will develop not only a detailed knowledge and understanding of the set texts, but their appreciation of cultural and contextual influences on writers, readers and/or audiences and explore relationships between texts.

Component 02 40% Examination
Comparative and contextual study

Assessment is by means of a written two hour and 30 minute paper which is closed book. A topic area taken from: American Literature 1880-1940, The Gothic, Dystopia, Women in Literature and the Immigrant Experience will be chosen. At least two texts must be studied from the chosen area, one of which must be from the core list provided by the board; the second text may be chosen from this core list or from the list of suggested texts. Learners are required to explore contrasts, connections and comparisons between different literary texts within the context of a specific topic area. The first question involves close reading and the second a comparative and contextual study, both from the chosen topic area.

Component 03 20% Coursework
Close reading or re-creative writing piece with commentary and a comparative essay

Assessment is by two pieces of coursework. One piece is a close, critical analysis of a section of a text in relation to the text as a whole or one poem in relation to others by the same writer. The other piece is a comparative study of two texts, informed by interpretations of other readers. The word limit for the coursework is 3000 across both essays.

Through this study of modern literature with one text in each of prose, poetry and drama published after 1900, including a work published or performed after 2000, candidates learn to compare texts and gain confidence in their use of literary critical concepts and terminology. Candidates have the opportunity to follow areas of individual interest and enjoyment, exploring connections such as stylistic, thematic or contextual.

Reading List

Tutors will advise on the versions of set texts required at the start of the course.

 

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.