English literature

Qualification type: GCSE
Exam board: AQA
Course code: 8702
Contact: Miss Jackson – ajackson@retfordoaks-ac.org.uk

GCSE English literature allows students to read, study and write about texts in a detailed way. The course runs alongside English language, introducing students to different genres and exposing them to the world in the past, present and future. Students will develop their reading skills whilst studying set texts. They will explore plot and work on literal comprehension and inference skills. They will become critical readers, focusing on theme and be able to support different points of view. They will focus on language use and be able to compare and evaluate different texts.

What will be studied?

Paper 1: Shakespeare and the 19th century novel

Section A: Shakespeare – students will answer a question on the text they have studied. They will write in detail about an extract from the play and the play as a whole.

Section B: the 19th century novel – students will write about an extract from the novel they have studied and then about the novel as a whole.

Paper 2: modern texts and poetry

Section A: modern text – students have to answer one question from a text they have studied.

Section B: poetry – students will answer a comparative question on a named poem and one other from the anthology cluster. Poems are clustered thematically – we will look at either ‘love and relationships’ or ‘power and conflict’. Poems are written between 1789 and the present day.

Section C: unseen poetry – students will be given two unseen poems. They will analyse and answer a question on the first unseen poem and then compare the second poem to the first.  Students will analyse and compare key features such as the content, theme, structure, and use of language.

Course benefits

Reading and learning about poems, plays, stories and novels helps people to sympathise with others and see how complex humans truly are. It broadens intellectual horizons and stimulates a more active imagination. Literature explores different human beliefs, ideas and societies. This allows people to learn about where they came from and how past events shape different cultures.

Assessment structure

This qualification is assessed through two examinations. The first examination is 1 hour, 45 minutes long and the second is 2 hours, 15 minutes.

Career opportunities

English GCSEs are relevant to all future careers, as all jobs need clear reading and writing skills.
• Journalism
• Writer (author, playwright, poet etc.)
• Teaching (in the UK or abroad)
• Public relations
• Law
• Advertising