chuckle
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Can anybody tell me about a level eng lit and what you study?
How do you find it (to revise for exams/workload/difficulty)?
If you could rank its difficulty out of 10 what would it be?

It would be good if you could tell me, because I have not yet made a level choices!
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Josh_Dickson
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(Original post by chuckle)
Can anybody tell me about a level eng lit and what you study?
How do you find it (to revise for exams/workload/difficulty)?
If you could rank its difficulty out of 10 what would it be?

It would be good if you could tell me, because I have not yet made a level choices!
Hello

it's been a while ago for me now (6/7 years!) but I studied english lit a level at runshaw college (near Preston) and remember really enjoying it. In fact, I enjoyed it so much that, contrary to previous expectations, I went on to study it at degree level and then partly at masters level.

I think, as I remember it (not sure how relevant this is now although imagine it's close) you generally study a bit of everything with regards to texts - so that's a bit of poetry, a bit of drama (plays), a novel and some short stories. In addition, you can get a chance to study fairly contemporary stuff (so post-world war 2 - arthur miller, philip larkin, people like that) alongside more traditional writers (Dickens, Shakespeare, Wordsworth).

As for workload... I remember at first thinking I wasn't particularly good at English lit (my weakest subject) but then, the longer I studied it the better I got. It's definitely challenging, and some texts are really provoking - but I found that was actually a good way of forcing me to think and also experiment with different types of thinking, if that makes sense. It's not the kind of subject that stays within the boundaries of the classroom; the issues studied and raised in certain texts inevitably stray into your way(s) of thinking about the world, which in turn has the good effect of a. making you care about the subject & b. you are doing work, developing your thought, without even realizing your working.

Difficulty out of 10 is difficult: 8 at the beginning, 6 at the end (remember some difficulty is good!)

Do you study it at school? How do you find it there if so?
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Josh_Dickson
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PS - should stress that it's been 6 OR 7 years since I studied it, not a typo of 67 ....
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Changing Skies
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(Original post by chuckle)
Can anybody tell me about a level eng lit and what you study?
How do you find it (to revise for exams/workload/difficulty)?
If you could rank its difficulty out of 10 what would it be?

It would be good if you could tell me, because I have not yet made a level choices!
Hi, do you know what exam board you'd be with?

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chuckle
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(Original post by Josh_Dickson)
Hello

it's been a while ago for me now (6/7 years!) but I studied english lit a level at runshaw college (near Preston) and remember really enjoying it. In fact, I enjoyed it so much that, contrary to previous expectations, I went on to study it at degree level and then partly at masters level.

I think, as I remember it (not sure how relevant this is now although imagine it's close) you generally study a bit of everything with regards to texts - so that's a bit of poetry, a bit of drama (plays), a novel and some short stories. In addition, you can get a chance to study fairly contemporary stuff (so post-world war 2 - arthur miller, philip larkin, people like that) alongside more traditional writers (Dickens, Shakespeare, Wordsworth).

As for workload... I remember at first thinking I wasn't particularly good at English lit (my weakest subject) but then, the longer I studied it the better I got. It's definitely challenging, and some texts are really provoking - but I found that was actually a good way of forcing me to think and also experiment with different types of thinking, if that makes sense. It's not the kind of subject that stays within the boundaries of the classroom; the issues studied and raised in certain texts inevitably stray into your way(s) of thinking about the world, which in turn has the good effect of a. making you care about the subject & b. you are doing work, developing your thought, without even realizing your working.

Difficulty out of 10 is difficult: 8 at the beginning, 6 at the end (remember some difficulty is good!)

Do you study it at school? How do you find it there if so?
Wow thank you so much for such a thorough reply! This has really confirmed my choice for a level next year.

I have not yet studied eng lit A-level yet, but I have just finished my gcses. I found it extremely exciting, analysing texts and finding out "inner meanings" which I probably would have missed otherwise. Initially I was in doubt for A-level because of the nature of exam revision for gcses - we had to remember so many quotes (I think I practically learnt the whole of my two texts for the exam). I was assuming that this would probably get worse for A level.

I totally agree with you on the fact that english is not a subject solely confined to the classroom; it really does reach into broader aspects of life and by elaborating on it with some eloquence, jt really does make us think more about its meaning more, rather than perceiving it as a string of meanlingless words!


Overall, thank you for sharing your experiences with me!

Ps. I also absolutely hated english during my lower years of secondary school - now, it's one of my favourites!

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chuckle
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(Original post by Changing Skies)
Hi, do you know what exam board you'd be with?

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Hi
I heard that we'll be following the Edexcel specification. (But only eng lit, not including eng lang)

Thanks

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The Empire Odyssey
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There's two ways that A-level English lit works and that's either set texts or no set texts. For example, AQA A English Lit does not have any set texts for their exam (apart from poetry anthology) but the rest of drama and prose-testing is based on the student's wider reading which makes the exams difficult because you have to know a lot of texts inside out including your own wider reading in poetry! The other is set texts - I can't mention this as I have no idea how they go, but I'm guessing it's easier....

You have to be really committed to English Literature... I don't know what to say as it's one of those subjects you either see the point or just don't see the point so at A-level you have to open your mind even more and try to get many different intepretations as you can from one quote which is very thought-provoking.

Workload gets intense especially depending on the size of books you will have to read. For AS, we had to read Birdsong which is 500-600 pages long for one essay and then compare two drama texts also which was tough for coursework. Alongside that, we were reading another novel for wider reading and started to get to grips with analysing 40 poems in class which was the most mind-numbing thing ever!

A2 gets really intense as you actually will most likely deal with literary criticism which is quite good and that got me motivated for uni this year because it's something you never heard of when you're at GCSE. The content is a lot harder because your comparison for coursework will be usually based on 3 pieces of literature and different genres which is really hard to compare and control the level of accuracy you have to go. Oh and above all, be prepared to reread your coursework texts not once, not twice, but about 3 or more times to get quotes and to get quotes to compare with other quotes, understand plots, structure and more quotes... This does get a bit tedious but the great thing is that every time you reread it, there is always something new you pick up which makes it easier to get through.

I studied GCSE English and never did the pure English Lit GCSE... So it was intense especially doing Language too. But I think the hardest part for me was HAVING to read something I didn't enjoy and that sucked almost all the joy out of Lit. I am strong with analysing language and form but structure is so difficult for me. Oh, also the amount of literary terminology we had to revise was just stupid! However, I would give it a 8/10 because of my experience. You may find it easier/harder depending on the books you read.
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I've just sat my as lit exam and can tell you that it was easily the most enjoyable of my courses! I do five as's with my others being science/maths subjects and an extra pre-u and my lit lessons were the highlight of my timetable by a mile!

I find lit relatively straightforward so I'd say go for it, it's quite similar to GCSE only you don't have to do so much direct comparison and the texts are more interesting and challenging. My exam board was set texts and I really didn't like one of them but I have still enjoyed the course over all. Plus next year some of the texts are chosen by the student so there is a lot more freedom than at GCSE.

My workload for lit was reasonably minimal, and essay a week or so, but this may feel like a lot to you but in comparison with my other subjects it was a small workload!

I'd rate it about 5/10 for difficulty but it's important to consider whether or not you've easily got the grades you wanted at GCSE, if not then you won't get them at as. And I promise it's really enjoyable, all the other students are generally much more 'normal' than other subject areas and although originally I took lit to drop at the end of as I've decided to keep it on because I have enjoyed the year so much. I'd recommend that you go for it!


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christopher23
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I took it for AS.. lots of poems and a grim story of a girl who was raped (Tess of the D'urbervilles)
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chuckle
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(Original post by Cool_JordH)
There's two ways that A-level English lit works and that's either set texts or no set texts. For example, AQA A English Lit does not have any set texts for their exam (apart from poetry anthology) but the rest of drama and prose-testing is based on the student's wider reading which makes the exams difficult because you have to know a lot of texts inside out including your own wider reading in poetry! The other is set texts - I can't mention this as I have no idea how they go, but I'm guessing it's easier....

You have to be really committed to English Literature... I don't know what to say as it's one of those subjects you either see the point or just don't see the point so at A-level you have to open your mind even more and try to get many different intepretations as you can from one quote which is very thought-provoking.

Workload gets intense especially depending on the size of books you will have to read. For AS, we had to read Birdsong which is 500-600 pages long for one essay and then compare two drama texts also which was tough for coursework. Alongside that, we were reading another novel for wider reading and started to get to grips with analysing 40 poems in class which was the most mind-numbing thing ever!

A2 gets really intense as you actually will most likely deal with literary criticism which is quite good and that got me motivated for uni this year because it's something you never heard of when you're at GCSE. The content is a lot harder because your comparison for coursework will be usually based on 3 pieces of literature and different genres which is really hard to compare and control the level of accuracy you have to go. Oh and above all, be prepared to reread your coursework texts not once, not twice, but about 3 or more times to get quotes and to get quotes to compare with other quotes, understand plots, structure and more quotes... This does get a bit tedious but the great thing is that every time you reread it, there is always something new you pick up which makes it easier to get through.

I studied GCSE English and never did the pure English Lit GCSE... So it was intense especially doing Language too. But I think the hardest part for me was HAVING to read something I didn't enjoy and that sucked almost all the joy out of Lit. I am strong with analysing language and form but structure is so difficult for me. Oh, also the amount of literary terminology we had to revise was just stupid! However, I would give it a 8/10 because of my experience. You may find it easier/harder depending on the books you read.
Thanks - this is such a vivid and detailed explanation of eng lit and your experiences that I can't thank you enough!

I completely agree with you on analysing structure - I think it's very difficult to see and compare structural elements, especially in prose! (I find it difficult to find them anyway) Also I generally find it hard to slot into essays after analysis of language techniques etc.

I think we have set texts but I also heard that we have unseen poems so... I have no idea what is going on! Apparently Michael Gove is wanting to put in more unseen texts in eng lit a level exams so I guess we'll have lots of them

About literary criticisms - how do you obtain them? Are you given a source during class or is it from your own initiative to acquire them? If so, where do you usually find them?

If you don't mind, could you share how you usually prepare for english exams and revise for them?

Thank you and I hope I haven't overwhelmed you with a load of questions (which I blatantly have, sorry! Hahaha)

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chuckle
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(Original post by Treeniebop)
I've just sat my as lit exam and can tell you that it was easily the most enjoyable of my courses! I do five as's with my others being science/maths subjects and an extra pre-u and my lit lessons were the highlight of my timetable by a mile!

I find lit relatively straightforward so I'd say go for it, it's quite similar to GCSE only you don't have to do so much direct comparison and the texts are more interesting and challenging. My exam board was set texts and I really didn't like one of them but I have still enjoyed the course over all. Plus next year some of the texts are chosen by the student so there is a lot more freedom than at GCSE.

My workload for lit was reasonably minimal, and essay a week or so, but this may feel like a lot to you but in comparison with my other subjects it was a small workload!

I'd rate it about 5/10 for difficulty but it's important to consider whether or not you've easily got the grades you wanted at GCSE, if not then you won't get them at as. And I promise it's really enjoyable, all the other students are generally much more 'normal' than other subject areas and although originally I took lit to drop at the end of as I've decided to keep it on because I have enjoyed the year so much. I'd recommend that you go for it!


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That is quite an unusual combination - sciences and eng lit! I guess it would be better, actually, to have such a combination because you don't always have to be confined solely to essays or science!
And 5 AS'? That is amazing! How are you coping?

An essay a week isn't too much, so I guess the workload isn't considerably overwhelming, although arguably there's more "unofficial" input of work than other subjects (e.g. taking time to read and reread the texts). How long do a level essays need to be? For gcse, we wrote about two sides for homework and about 1500 words for coursework. Is it usually longer?

Last of all, I'd like to thank you for this encouraging post - really can't wait for a levels!

Hope your AS exams are going well, good luck for the remaining exams

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chuckle
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I took it for AS.. lots of poems and a grim story of a girl who was raped (Tess of the D'urbervilles)
I'm guessing you didn't enjoy it much then?

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(Original post by chuckle)
That is quite an unusual combination - sciences and eng lit! I guess it would be better, actually, to have such a combination because you don't always have to be confined solely to essays or science!
And 5 AS'? That is amazing! How are you coping?

An essay a week isn't too much, so I guess the workload isn't considerably overwhelming, although arguably there's more "unofficial" input of work than other subjects (e.g. taking time to read and reread the texts). How long do a level essays need to be? For gcse, we wrote about two sides for homework and about 1500 words for coursework. Is it usually longer?

Last of all, I'd like to thank you for this encouraging post - really can't wait for a levels!

Hope your AS exams are going well, good luck for the remaining exams

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Yeah, it is a bit unusual but I want to do medicine at uni so it's good to show a contrasting subject apparently. It's hard work with all of them but I have friends who do 5 but more essay based humanities subjects and they find the work load much more!

Our essay are usually timed exam practice so it's how much you can write in 30mins or for other question in an hour. Usually this ranges from between 3-5 sides but it depends on your writing. Coursework is 1500 words still but there's a lot more editing and redrafting involved so it's more time consuming. And as long as you don't kind reading you can just swap your recreational books for the set texts.

That's fine, I've really enjoyed lit, ignore the haters

Thanks, good look with any more of your GCSEs too!!


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The Empire Odyssey
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(Original post by chuckle)
I think we have set texts but I also heard that we have unseen poems so... I have no idea what is going on! Apparently Michael Gove is wanting to put in more unseen texts in eng lit a level exams so I guess we'll have lots of them

About literary criticisms - how do you obtain them? Are you given a source during class or is it from your own initiative to acquire them? If so, where do you usually find them?

If you don't mind, could you share how you usually prepare for english exams and revise for them?

Thank you and I hope I haven't overwhelmed you with a load of questions (which I blatantly have, sorry! Hahaha)

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Most likely Section A will be either set text and then Sec B will be your unseen poetry section. Poetry always tends to be Section B for lit...
You have it wrong. He cannot change the CURRENT specs (because it will end within a year) which you will do the 2014 spec. He is changing the specs for 2015, first examination in 2017. He said he wants it to be a mixture of both, including studying six texts over the duration of the two years.

Depends on the department of your school. Some departments think it would be easier giving a source for their students because they know that if they didn't their students wouldn't do anything. But because A2 is REALLY independent compared to GCSE and AS, you'd usually have to find them by yourself.
Criticisms are soooo difficult to find, depending on the books. For example, Enduring Love by Ian McEwan is a text I did this year and I couldn't find ANY criticisms, but teachers usually have resources. For example we used what he said about his own book. You can get loads of classic texts. I actually looked at a few criticisms when I went to Uni Open Days. Peaked in the library and wrote down critics and etc and went to main library and etc. However, some will be online, but it is a struggle depending on your text.

Erm, AS was a blur for Lit to be honest. Divided genres into 4 section; non-fiction, prose, poetry and drama. Then sectioned them off with 6 themes related to WW1.

This year is the theme around love and I've chosen 6 different types of love and then I have just put one quote for each genre from three different literary periods as this is required by the exam. But I lack essay and time control. So that will definitely be a revision top for me is to make sure you have a plan too - and time control is just key!
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