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Anyone do History and English Lit A Level?? watch

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    (Original post by george_c00per)
    Cool, thanks!

    May I ask which exam board you were on for both?
    No worries Edexcel for history and AQA B for English Lit

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    (Original post by george_c00per)
    Which ones are better for the following categories:

    Workload
    Essay Writing
    Difficulty
    Interesting-ness
    Fun-ness
    Grade Boundaries

    Thanks :P
    I take both. AQA history and EDEXCEL English lit.

    Workload: definitely literature tbh, 2 books, a play and 28 poems that are like pages long. I never actually finished the content when I sat the exam. I know other exam boards are less gruelling though. History is extensive too though. Feels very much like 2 seperate subjects between Angevin and USA for me.

    Essay writing: history makes you build up a more substantial and balanced argument. English makes you get more creative and fancy with your essays. I personally find it much harder to do well in English but that could be my teachers marking because no one in my class is achieving As despite the essays being of fabulous quality.

    Difficulty: Again I would say English Literature is harder, but I find history pretty easy. I have a knack for the essays and the information goes in because I love the subject. A lot of people disagree and find it very hard. But I've been getting full marks in essays for a while now.

    Interestingness: This time, history gets my vote. I'm on the Angevin kings course, and only about 500 people in the country do it, but I'm so glad because I really love it. I don't like USA history as much, but with history, I believe the older the better, and I'm not so enthusiastic about modern history. But it's still interesting all the same.

    This will be course and preference dependent- but I hated half of the literature course. I love old poetry, but all 28 of the ones I studied were post-2000, so I never really engaged with them. I loved the play we studied, and I enjoyed wuthering heights, but I hated Mrs.Dalloway. My advice there would be to check what you'll be studying before you take it. Some people love it others hate it. I went into a levels with lit as my favourite subject- I now hate it. Go figure aha.

    Fun-ness: personal preference again but I much prefer history. Not enjoying literature very much. A2 looks much better though.

    Grade boundaries: For some reason English seems very difficult to do well in. I got an A* at GCSE and I work my ass off to include everything in my essays but I've only gotten one A this year. ( another reason I don't like Lit now, all work and no reward) but also what you get will be very subjective to the marker. I can't advice much on this though, I'll have to see what I get in the summer. One of my teachers did say that "no one gets an A at AS" though. and in practice no one in my class gets As either, and my 6th form was the most competitive and high requirement centre in the area so there are plenty of smart kids in the class.
    History I would say can be very hard, but once you understand the exam technique it's actually very easy to do well. As mentioned, I consistently get full marks now. Plus, the questions are all 25 markers rather than in English where it's 48, 24 and 44. It's easier to say that with history 90/100 (90%) will be roughly an A* than it is to work out the boundaries for literature. But as its reformed A Levels- no one truly knows what the grade boundaries will be.

    I hope this helps you. Good luck for starting A levels in September. Revise from the start- it pays off!
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    (Original post by Gold-Confetti)
    I take both. AQA history and EDEXCEL English lit.

    Workload: definitely literature tbh, 2 books, a play and 28 poems that are like pages long. I never actually finished the content when I sat the exam. I know other exam boards are less gruelling though. History is extensive too though. Feels very much like 2 seperate subjects between Angevin and USA for me.

    Essay writing: history makes you build up a more substantial and balanced argument. English makes you get more creative and fancy with your essays. I personally find it much harder to do well in English but that could be my teachers marking because no one in my class is achieving As despite the essays being of fabulous quality.

    Difficulty: Again I would say English Literature is harder, but I find history pretty easy. I have a knack for the essays and the information goes in because I love the subject. A lot of people disagree and find it very hard. But I've been getting full marks in essays for a while now.

    Interestingness: This time, history gets my vote. I'm on the Angevin kings course, and only about 500 people in the country do it, but I'm so glad because I really love it. I don't like USA history as much, but with history, I believe the older the better, and I'm not so enthusiastic about modern history. But it's still interesting all the same.

    This will be course and preference dependent- but I hated half of the literature course. I love old poetry, but all 28 of the ones I studied were post-2000, so I never really engaged with them. I loved the play we studied, and I enjoyed wuthering heights, but I hated Mrs.Dalloway. My advice there would be to check what you'll be studying before you take it. Some people love it others hate it. I went into a levels with lit as my favourite subject- I now hate it. Go figure aha.

    Fun-ness: personal preference again but I much prefer history. Not enjoying literature very much. A2 looks much better though.

    Grade boundaries: For some reason English seems very difficult to do well in. I got an A* at GCSE and I work my ass off to include everything in my essays but I've only gotten one A this year. ( another reason I don't like Lit now, all work and no reward) but also what you get will be very subjective to the marker. I can't advice much on this though, I'll have to see what I get in the summer. One of my teachers did say that "no one gets an A at AS" though. and in practice no one in my class gets As either, and my 6th form was the most competitive and high requirement centre in the area so there are plenty of smart kids in the class.
    History I would say can be very hard, but once you understand the exam technique it's actually very easy to do well. As mentioned, I consistently get full marks now. Plus, the questions are all 25 markers rather than in English where it's 48, 24 and 44. It's easier to say that with history 90/100 (90%) will be roughly an A* than it is to work out the boundaries for literature. But as its reformed A Levels- no one truly knows what the grade boundaries will be.

    I hope this helps you. Good luck for starting A levels in September. Revise from the start- it pays off!
    Thank you! This was very helpful as well. I definitely will start revising almost straight away, I really don't want to be too laid back for these next few years.
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    (Original post by george_c00per)
    Thank you -- this is really helpful. I'll be doing OCR for both if I do them for A Level - whether or not this helps, I mean it probably wont as all the subjects have reformed anyway

    Quick(ish) question - I know this depends on the teacher but I'm sure it's more or less similar everywhere - how is each subject taught? I know how English Literature is taught as a whole but is History similarly taught to GCSE? (Teacher writes info on board, we copy into books, sometimes look at sources, do practice questions etc.)
    The subjects are taught very differently, though coursework was similar. For History, the coursework was completely independent - we were set/chose a question, did our own research, wrote it in our own time etc. but had meetings with the teacher every couple of weeks to check our status. For Literature coursework, similarly independent but a lot more teacher feedback.

    For the exams, History was pretty much making our own notes from the textbook in class. The teacher would do overviews from each unit, perhaps a mindmap on the board that we would then write down, but it was mostly personal notes from the textbook and handouts. The way Literature is taught depends on your exam. I'm doing the old AQA (spec A) A2 course, which means my exam is all about unseen extracts with wider reading. So our lessons have been practice papers (versus fairly rare practice papers in History, as that's more about content than skill), and covering poems/wider reading of the teacher's choice in lesson. For example, we read through Brokeback Mountain in class, discussed it, and annotated it and wrote an essay on it at home. It's a lot less structured than History, which was more chronological.

    I don't know the specifics of your course, but it's unlikely to be like mine - I'm guessing you'll have set texts to cover, which will be quite close to the course I did at AS, for which we had to cover a novel and a poetry anthology. For that, it was still less structured than History, but was more focused around covering poems/the texts in class, doing annotation and then essays on them. Literature has never been about copying information down on the board; across AS and A2, I've had four Lit teachers, and the only time we've done that is when we were given context (but that likely won't apply to you - our AS course was weird in that it required lots of facts about Victorian history!).

    Essentially, History is closer to the traditional copying notes and doing occasional past papers. Literature is more freeform, and overall independent. When we covered a poetry anthology, what we did in class was rather brief, particularly for the longer poems; independent annotation and analysis was vital. The subjects are taught differently, but the vast majority of the work is done at home, and because of that you can essentially study most of it how you want to.
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    (Original post by doctorwhofan98)
    The subjects are taught very differently, though coursework was similar. For History, the coursework was completely independent - we were set/chose a question, did our own research, wrote it in our own time etc. but had meetings with the teacher every couple of weeks to check our status. For Literature coursework, similarly independent but a lot more teacher feedback.

    For the exams, History was pretty much making our own notes from the textbook in class. The teacher would do overviews from each unit, perhaps a mindmap on the board that we would then write down, but it was mostly personal notes from the textbook and handouts. The way Literature is taught depends on your exam. I'm doing the old AQA (spec A) A2 course, which means my exam is all about unseen extracts with wider reading. So our lessons have been practice papers (versus fairly rare practice papers in History, as that's more about content than skill), and covering poems/wider reading of the teacher's choice in lesson. For example, we read through Brokeback Mountain in class, discussed it, and annotated it and wrote an essay on it at home. It's a lot less structured than History, which was more chronological.

    I don't know the specifics of your course, but it's unlikely to be like mine - I'm guessing you'll have set texts to cover, which will be quite close to the course I did at AS, for which we had to cover a novel and a poetry anthology. For that, it was still less structured than History, but was more focused around covering poems/the texts in class, doing annotation and then essays on them. Literature has never been about copying information down on the board; across AS and A2, I've had four Lit teachers, and the only time we've done that is when we were given context (but that likely won't apply to you - our AS course was weird in that it required lots of facts about Victorian history!).

    Essentially, History is closer to the traditional copying notes and doing occasional past papers. Literature is more freeform, and overall independent. When we covered a poetry anthology, what we did in class was rather brief, particularly for the longer poems; independent annotation and analysis was vital. The subjects are taught differently, but the vast majority of the work is done at home, and because of that you can essentially study most of it how you want to.
    Yes that makes sense - in GCSE English Lit it's mostly discussing with our teacher about the set texts, whereas in History there is a lot of whiteboard copying. Thank you for your detailed response!
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    I do OCR English Literature and AQA History

    In my opinion, History has a much greater workload, but the thing with English is that you never finish learning - you can finish learning a History syllabus but there's always an alternative argument with English
    For OCR English, the grade boundaries are so high - you wouldn't be doing the same specification as me, but in my upcoming exam, there are two 30 mark essays, and you need 27 in each for an A, and in the coursework you needed 36/40 - I found History grade boundaries to be a lot lower but marks are harder to pick up
    You have to choose whichever you are better at and are interested in, because you could do any book or time period and you have to choose a subject that you'd be willing to grudge through the boring units to get to the interesting ones
    No one knows you better than yourself, so the decision ultimately lies with you, but that's just my take on it!
    I also go to a very good school and I find more people complain about History than English, but a lot of people dropped English at AS because they thought it was boring
    Perhaps ask your sixth form what their specific course would entail and go from there
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    (Original post by george_c00per)
    Which ones are better for the following categories:

    Workload
    Essay Writing
    Difficulty
    Interesting-ness
    Fun-ness
    Grade Boundaries

    Thanks :P
    Not sure what you mean by 'better', but I'll try to guess.

    Heaviest workload: History
    Best to improve your essay-writing: History
    Difficulty: English Lit
    Most interesting: History
    Most fun: History

    English Lit is so difficult because it requires very good perception. It took me till March to develop the required perception.
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    (Original post by george_c00per)
    Which ones are better for the following categories:

    Workload
    Essay Writing
    Difficulty
    Interesting-ness
    Fun-ness
    Grade Boundaries

    Thanks :P
    I study both and I have applied to do an English Lit and History degree.
    Workload: Both are fairly heavy. Having done my A2 History exam, I can say that I had to do far more revision for it. However, for my A2 Lit exam I have 2 texts and an anthology, as well as critics to learn, so I guess it's even!
    Essay Writing: I found History essays easier to write as we had a set structure. English Lit is more difficult IMO, as you get basic guidelines.
    Difficulty:At first I thought I struggled with History more, but that pushed me to revise till I found it easier. If I had to pick one I'd say English Lit is the more difficult.
    Interesting-ness/Fun-ness: History because I found my course a lot more interesting, and I like analysing actual events rather than fiction all the time.
    Grade Boundaries: Well the past grade boundaries were OK, but I'm hoping for the best! I study Edexcel for both.

    The other subjects I balanced History and English Literature with were Art and the EPQ.
    I also did Bio at AS.
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    (Original post by Gorwell)
    I study both and I have applied to do an English Lit and History degree.
    Workload: Both are fairly heavy. Having done my A2 History exam, I can say that I had to do far more revision for it. However, for my A2 Lit exam I have 2 texts and an anthology, as well as critics to learn, so I guess it's even!
    Essay Writing: I found History essays easier to write as we had a set structure. English Lit is more difficult IMO, as you get basic guidelines.
    Difficulty:At first I thought I struggled with History more, but that pushed me to revise till I found it easier. If I had to pick one I'd say English Lit is the more difficult.
    Interesting-ness/Fun-ness: History because I found my course a lot more interesting, and I like analysing actual events rather than fiction all the time.
    Grade Boundaries: Well the past grade boundaries were OK, but I'm hoping for the best! I study Edexcel for both.

    The other subjects I balanced History and English Literature with were Art and the EPQ.
    I also did Bio at AS.
    Thank you for your response!

    I have one question - what is the workload for an EPQ like? I could take History, English, French, and Spanish OR History/English, French, Spanish and EPQ, and I have been for the most part inclined to do the EPQ choice so there would be less work. However, my English teacher said that it would be better doing 4 A Levels than an EPQ as the workload is similar and you get 4 A Levels which looks better than 3 A Levels and an EPQ - is this true? Are EPQs time consuming? She could just be saying that to get me to do English however
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    (Original post by george_c00per)
    Which ones are better for the following categories:

    Workload
    Essay Writing
    Difficulty
    Interesting-ness
    Fun-ness
    Grade Boundaries

    Thanks :P
    For history...

    Workload - high, expect a lot of reading and writing. Your folder will be full quickly.
    Essay writing - lots of it. Some are lenient, one essay per fortnight but others can do it once a week.
    Difficulty - one of the hardest
    Interestingness - depends on what you study, my AS was heavily politically and economically focused. If you like social history or wars, you may not enjoy it all too much.
    Fun-ness - depends on the teacher.
    Grade boundaries - vary a lot, questions can be quite narrow.
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    Imo History is much easier than Eng Lit , MUCH easier
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    History is the best, trust me man its so fun, interesting, and it is not hard just requires practice
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    (Original post by jamestg)
    For history...

    Workload - high, expect a lot of reading and writing. Your folder will be full quickly.
    Essay writing - lots of it. Some are lenient, one essay per fortnight but others can do it once a week.
    Difficulty - one of the hardest
    Interestingness - depends on what you study, my AS was heavily politically and economically focused. If you like social history or wars, you may not enjoy it all too much.
    Fun-ness - depends on the teacher.
    Grade boundaries - vary a lot, questions can be quite narrow.
    Thank you for this! Just out of interest, what makes History difficult? Is it the sheer workload of it all or having to remember a lot of facts in detail? Or is it with how they mark exams?
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    (Original post by SuperHuman98)
    History is the best, trust me man its so fun, interesting, and it is not hard just requires practice
    I hope it will be, I did really enjoy it at GCSE and the topics we cover in A Level would fit in well with my other choices. I'll make sure to put in the work from the beginning as well!
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    (Original post by george_c00per)
    Thank you for your response!

    I have one question - what is the workload for an EPQ like? I could take History, English, French, and Spanish OR History/English, French, Spanish and EPQ, and I have been for the most part inclined to do the EPQ choice so there would be less work. However, my English teacher said that it would be better doing 4 A Levels than an EPQ as the workload is similar and you get 4 A Levels which looks better than 3 A Levels and an EPQ - is this true? Are EPQs time consuming? She could just be saying that to get me to do English however
    No worries well the EPQ is really down to you, and it is VERY independent. I would make sure you have an excellent supervisor that has at least some knowledge in the topic you have chosen, because they can give you ideas that you bounce off of. I chose an English teacher for mine originally, as I was looking at tragedy in written work, however, that teacher wasn't interested and put it off, so I changed supervisors and asked my Art teacher who was absolutely brilliant!

    To give you an indication of the workload/time, I had an A4 folder full of research and ended up writing a 6,000- ish word essay on my topic.Don't worry though- I know a lot of people that had some notes in a notepad and their report, as they just mark you on the quality of your essay and your log book (where you keep track of research) so the exam board don't actually see the physical research, it'll show through your essay if you've prepared (if that makes sense). Depending on your school, you have the 'taught' element, which for us was like a lunch time every fortnight, where our teacher went over things like research methods, structuring essays etc.

    In the end we did a presentation in front of our group,which was just basically evaluating and talking about our project.Finally, It was out of the way and did not interfere with any exam, which was a bonus!

    Does your school run the EPQ over two years or one? Because for my year the teacher had started the lessons a year late so we just had from September Year 13 to do our project, whereas the new Year 12 group are starting now. Given the time frame I had, it was still perfectly doable! So it is really down to you and time management. I feel personally that my English A2 was lot more work than my EPQ, as I did coursework for that (3000 words) and have an exam too... on Friday .

    Hope that helps in some way, and if you have any questions at all then please ask away!
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    (Original post by Gorwell)
    No worries well the EPQ is really down to you, and it is VERY independent. I would make sure you have an excellent supervisor that has at least some knowledge in the topic you have chosen, because they can give you ideas that you bounce off of. I chose an English teacher for mine originally, as I was looking at tragedy in written work, however, that teacher wasn't interested and put it off, so I changed supervisors and asked my Art teacher who was absolutely brilliant!

    To give you an indication of the workload/time, I had an A4 folder full of research and ended up writing a 6,000- ish word essay on my topic.Don't worry though- I know a lot of people that had some notes in a notepad and their report, as they just mark you on the quality of your essay and your log book (where you keep track of research) so the exam board don't actually see the physical research, it'll show through your essay if you've prepared (if that makes sense). Depending on your school, you have the 'taught' element, which for us was like a lunch time every fortnight, where our teacher went over things like research methods, structuring essays etc.

    In the end we did a presentation in front of our group,which was just basically evaluating and talking about our project.Finally, It was out of the way and did not interfere with any exam, which was a bonus!

    Does your school run the EPQ over two years or one? Because for my year the teacher had started the lessons a year late so we just had from September Year 13 to do our project, whereas the new Year 12 group are starting now. Given the time frame I had, it was still perfectly doable! So it is really down to you and time management. I feel personally that my English A2 was lot more work than my EPQ, as I did coursework for that (3000 words) and have an exam too... on Friday .

    Hope that helps in some way, and if you have any questions at all then please ask away!
    Our school starts it in Year 12 and finishes it in November of Year 13 which is great as we don't do AS Level anymore so it doesn't interfere with any exams Unfortunately though I think we are assigned a teacher to help us with it and we can't choose our own - as I'll probably be doing it about languages/modern history/politics, I might be lucky and get a teacher who is knowledgeable on them, but on the other hand I might not, however I'm not fully sure with how our school goes about assigning teachers..

    The main thing I'm worried about however is how much independence you get. I'm worried that I might not be able to research well, or I might even get bored on what I'm doing my research on - were you able to combat those issues at all? I know that the supervisors give you guidance with how you research, but I still might mess it up somehow Sometimes I just feel as though I'd be able to do better writing an essay on something the whole class has been assigned.

    Good luck with your English exam, by the way! I know there must be a lot of pressure which is put on this exam so I do hope you the best
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    (Original post by george_c00per)
    Thank you for this! Just out of interest, what makes History difficult? Is it the sheer workload of it all or having to remember a lot of facts in detail? Or is it with how they mark exams?
    It's the scale of everything.

    Your breadth unit is really a depth unit and your depth unit is in an insane amount of detail. Exam questions can be hard, especially ones which are worded awfully. No more "did x cause y".

    If you've got a teacher that likes reading, they'll make you like reading too by giving you a lot to read. We were once given a 150 page book to read overnight lmao.

    One of the phrases at the front of the textbook was "do some thinking about your thinking". I thought this was a load of bull, but it really isn't! You need to be very analytical and critical of events, factors and people. There is always another way to interpret something, and you should always write down what you think in essays so long as it answers the question and flows nicely. A mess of different ways to view things is not the route to go down.
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    (Original post by jamestg)
    It's the scale of everything.

    Your breadth unit is really a depth unit and your depth unit is in an insane amount of detail. Exam questions can be hard, especially ones which are worded awfully. No more "did x cause y".

    If you've got a teacher that likes reading, they'll make you like reading too by giving you a lot to read. We were once given a 150 page book to read overnight lmao.

    One of the phrases at the front of the textbook was "do some thinking about your thinking". I thought this was a load of bull, but it really isn't! You need to be very analytical and critical of events, factors and people. There is always another way to interpret something, and you should always write down what you think in essays so long as it answers the question and flows nicely. A mess of different ways to view things is not the route to go down.
    I need to note all of this down somewhere so I can remember it when it comes to September haha.

    What were your other subject choices? Did they fit well with History?
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    (Original post by george_c00per)
    I need to note all of this down somewhere so I can remember it when it comes to September haha.

    What were your other subject choices? Did they fit well with History?
    I chose Maths, Politics and Biology along with History!

    It goes really well with Politics and also Maths (analytical skills). However as I said before, A-level history is very political - so mixed with politics, your timetable can end up being 50% politics which gets rather boring haha.
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    (Original post by jamestg)
    I chose Maths, Politics and Biology along with History!

    It goes really well with Politics and also Maths (analytical skills). However as I said before, A-level history is very political - so mixed with politics, your timetable can end up being 50% politics which gets rather boring haha.
    Wow, you are so lucky that you can do GovPol - my school doesn't offer it but I wish I could take it, but I can see, combined with History, why A Levels might become quite political Which subject did you drop after AS (if you dropped any)?

    Biology was my favourite science, and I have considered taking that for A Level, but at the same time I can't imagine myself doing it any further on through education and I don't think there would be as much common sense in A Level than there was in GCSE
 
 
 
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