A Level English Literature

We study OCR A Level English Literature. The specification can be found here.

Students read a range of texts including novels, poetry and plays. They will study the effects of language and structure in literature and be encouraged to consider alternative, critical interpretations and the context in which texts are produced and received.


Students study the following texts:

  • Measure for Measure – William Shakespeare
  • A Streetcar Named Desire – Tennessee Williams
  • The Bloody Chamber – Angela Carter
  • Paradise Lost – John Milton
  • Sylvia Plath poetry
  • The Wasp Factory – Iain Banks
  • She Stoops to Conquer - Oliver Goldsmith or An Ideal Husband – Oscar Wilde
  • On Chesil Beach – Ian McEwan


Students are also encouraged to read widely, particularly within the Gothic genre to develop a wider appreciation of the genre.



NEA (Non-examined assessment - formerly coursework)

Students complete two pieces of essay based coursework: one based on the poetry of Sylvia Plath and the other on a comparison between two texts. It is worth 20% of the total A Level grade.



What students can do to enhance their A Level achievement:

  • Follow us on Twitter @gsasixthformlit - Our twitter feed is updated regularly with links to wider reading and relevant literary resources.
  • Re-read set exam texts and maintain comprehensive notes in clearly marked folders, in order to facilitate easier revision.
  • Read a range of Gothic texts for example Dracula, Frankenstein, The Castle of Otranto, Northanger Abbey to develop a detailed understanding of genre conventions.



Study Guides

Various online and paper study guides are available for the texts we study. We find York Notes particularly useful. Links to relevant online resources can be found on the sixth form English intranet pages here: https://sites.google.com/george-spencer.notts.sch.uk/english/a-level-literature



Where could it lead?

English Literature compliments a wide range of courses and careers.

Courses and careers it can lead to most specifically:

  • Degrees in English Literature
  • Degrees and careers in journalism and creative writing
  • Careers in advertising, academic research, publishing, teaching, law