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A Level History or English Literature? Watch

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    Hey guys

    I was going to take History, but I'm not entirely keen on the topics they study at the sixth form I want to go to. I was thinking of taking English Literature instead as I'm pretty good at it naturally and have an affinity for reading and creative writing. However, I don't like linguistic analysis all that much so I'm not sure I'd enjoy it. If it's any help, my sixth form is with AQA for all the subjects I'm considering.

    Any advice?

    Thank you.
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    It sounds like you'd enjoy English Literature more so I'd go for that option. I did history for AS level but it's very tough and challenging and you have to put a lot of work into it and I got very stressed with it all!

    I didn't study Literature but I studied English Language at A Level which I loved - don't worry about the linguistic side of things, I wasn't sure about it either but it's turned out to have been one of my favourite subjects. Besides, with Literature there wouldn't be as much linguistics as there was in English Language, just lots of reading, which if you like, would probably be the best option. Many of my friends did Literature and they all enjoyed it.

    When making your final decision chose what you want to do - there is no point in choosing a subject that you won't enjoy because you will end up regretting it. Go with your instinct
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    Why not go the whole nine yards and do chemistry. If you love maths you will find Eng Lit a really tedious pain. If you love books you can read in your own time.
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    (Original post by _KC_)
    It sounds like you'd enjoy English Literature more so I'd go for that option. I did history for AS level but it's very tough and challenging and you have to put a lot of work into it and I got very stressed with it all!

    I didn't study Literature but I studied English Language at A Level which I loved - don't worry about the linguistic side of things, I wasn't sure about it either but it's turned out to have been one of my favourite subjects. Besides, with Literature there wouldn't be as much linguistics as there was in English Language, just lots of reading, which if you like, would probably be the best option. Many of my friends did Literature and they all enjoyed it.

    When making your final decision chose what you want to do - there is no point in choosing a subject that you won't enjoy because you will end up regretting it. Go with your instinct
    I do enjoy reading, one of the main reasons I'm considering Lit!

    If you don't mind my asking, what topics did you study for History?
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    I did English Literature on AQA spec B and I don't think there was any linguistic analysis - that's English Language. Although if you're doing specificiation A then it might be different for you, I wouldn't know.

    Anyway I did both and enjoyed both. From what it sounds like, English Lit might be better if you're not interested in the topics in History. It's really hard to get into but it was rewarding, and I loved A2 (even though I'm not sure how the exam went ). I did actually enjoy History more, but that's because I really really like it (I'm doing it as my degree) and I liked the topics - its really important you're confident your going to enjoy what you study!
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    I do both but I'll warn you there is no creative writing at a level lit (OCR for me BTW), so don't be basing it on that. Both subjects are very analytical and for me if you love history any topic is interesting. I don't know whether you love these subjects or not so I cannot advise any further.

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    (Original post by Old_Simon)
    Why not go the whole nine yards and do chemistry. If you love maths you will find Eng Lit a really tedious pain. If you love books you can read in your own time.
    I found English Language at GCSE "a really tedious pain" but Lit was quite interesting and dare I say, really easy. With Chemistry, I found that I had to work really hard to get good grades, and even then I didn't always get the grades I wanted.
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    I loved AQA Eng Lit, and I studied it along M&FM. If you like reading, and then looking deeper into what you have read, then go for it!
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    (Original post by brendonbackflip)
    I did English Literature on AQA spec B and I don't think there was any linguistic analysis - that's English Language. Although if you're doing specificiation A then it might be different for you, I wouldn't know.

    Anyway I did both and enjoyed both. From what it sounds like, English Lit might be better if you're not interested in the topics in History. It's really hard to get into but it was rewarding, and I loved A2 (even though I'm not sure how the exam went ). I did actually enjoy History more, but that's because I really really like it (I'm doing it as my degree) and I liked the topics - its really important you're confident your going to enjoy what you study!
    I think my sixth form do Spec B. Phew, linguistic analysis drives me nuts

    I loved GCSE History, so I really wanted to carry it on at A Level. What topics did you study?

    Also, what were the exams like?
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    (Original post by Gaby.)
    I do both but I'll warn you there is no creative writing at a level lit (OCR for me BTW), so don't be basing it on that. Both subjects are very analytical and for me if you love history any topic is interesting. I don't know whether you love these subjects or not so I cannot advise any further.

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    (Original post by Jooooshy)
    I loved AQA Eng Lit, and I studied it along M&FM. If you like reading, and then looking deeper into what you have read, then go for it!
    Oh wow, it's rare to see someone else who did Maths and FM and English Lit! How did you find the Lit exams? I've read that the timings can be pretty rubbish
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    (Original post by Madmatician)
    I think my sixth form do Spec B. Phew, linguistic analysis drives me nuts

    I loved GCSE History, so I really wanted to carry it on at A Level, but because my sixth form is part of a C of E school, they study stuff about the Church in the 16th century which doesn't sound all that interesting to me. What topics did you study?

    Also, what were the exams like?
    If linguistic analysis is what I think it is - analysing language structures - then no there is none of that

    I studied Mussolini, French Revolution, Early Modern Witch-hunts and Elizabeth I. I've got to say when I was picking my A-Levels I would have been wary of the reformation and 16th century church (I had the option to study Henry VIII at AS) but since studying it a little bit at A2 with witches + Liz, its a lot more interesting that I originally found it, although still a little dry in places. However, if you don't see yourself enjoying it, it may be safer to avoid it.

    English exams are hard; there is a huge emphasis on the technique when writing essays and it can take time to adjust from GCSE to A-Level. However, I did very well at AS, managed to get full marks, and I know plenty of others who did well too. My A2 exam went a bit poo but I'll find out in August :crossedf: It's got a coursework element to it too which is pretty standard, its really good at A2 where you choose your own books and topic to study
    History exams felt pretty normal compared to English; not easy, but I didn't feel there was so much emphasis on essay-writing (or at least the techniques were easier to grasp) and more focus on content
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    (Original post by Madmatician)
    When I went to my pre-enrolment, I asked a Year 12 student about English Literature as she said she studies it, and she told me you get to write poems and stories? I suppose it's different for AQA...

    I did love History at GCSE, but the topics that they do at my sixth form don't sound too interesting.
    Ooo sounds interesting but if I were you double check how heavily weighted the creative writing is. In OCR there was an option to write a poem in the style of a writer (Heaney in my case) and then write an essay explaining how its similar. But this is for Coursework only 40% of overall grade. Tbh friends who did this found their creative juices restricted rather than being free to flow(excuse the analogy-it sounds vile), as writing in another's style is rather difficult.

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    I studied English Lit and my friend studied it and History. Not on AQA though.
    I would say Eng Lit is easier than History, since you are doing quite draining subjects, i wouldn't recommend either of them :/

    However out of the two, possibly Eng Lit would be the best. Somebody said above that there's no creative elements, make sure you really know that. It's all poetry, play and novel analysis; you know "Explain why the storm in King Lear is a representation of Lear's growing insanity throughout the play"sort of thing.

    Exams for Eng are fairly standard you learn the stuff and write various essays about it.
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    (Original post by brendonbackflip)
    If linguistic analysis is what I think it is - analysing language structures - then no there is none of that

    I studied Mussolini, French Revolution, Early Modern Witch-hunts and Elizabeth I. I've got to say when I was picking my A-Levels I would have been wary of the reformation and 16th century church (I had the option to study Henry VIII at AS) but since studying it a little bit at A2 with witches + Liz, its a lot more interesting that I originally found it, although still a little dry in places. However, if you don't see yourself enjoying it, it may be safer to avoid it.

    English exams are hard; there is a huge emphasis on the technique when writing essays and it can take time to adjust from GCSE to A-Level. However, I did very well at AS, managed to get full marks, and I know plenty of others who did well too. My A2 exam went a bit poo but I'll find out in August :crossedf: It's got a coursework element to it too which is pretty standard, its really good at A2 where you choose your own books and topic to study
    History exams felt pretty normal compared to English; not easy, but I didn't feel there was so much emphasis on essay-writing (or at least the techniques were easier to grasp) and more focus on content
    Ooh, Mussolini! I would've loved to study him. I find Dictatorship so interesting. I studied Nazi Germany at GCSE and absolutely loved it! :fuhrer: My current school's sixth form do Stalin's Dictatorship at A2 and I'm so jealous! I'm going to check out more of the content of the reformation and C16 Church, and try out the homework we got given (who gives out summer homework to prospective students?) to see how I like it.

    Oh wow that sounds scary, but it's reassuring to hear that you did well! Makes it sound doable. Good luck with your A2 results!

    I found the IGCSE English Lit exam quite easy (considering the little amount of preparation my school provided us), and the GCSE History exam so-so (due to my lack of revision for Paper 2 ), so if GCSEs are any indication, I think I might be able to fare better with the Lit exams more so than the History exams at A Level.
    I don't think I'd carry English Lit onto A2 (same with History). The exam is closed book, isn't it? That sounds too much for me.

    What's the coursework for History like? History coursework was a huge problem for me at GCSE. Although I did well in them, they were so time-consuming! :eek: Had to stay behind after school many times to complete them!
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    (Original post by Gaby.)
    Ooo sounds interesting but if I were you double check how heavily weighted the creative writing is. In OCR there was an option to write a poem in the style of a writer (Heaney in my case) and then write an essay explaining how its similar. But this is for Coursework only 40% of overall grade. Tbh friends who did this found their creative juices restricted rather than being free to flow(excuse the analogy-it sounds vile), as writing in another's style is rather difficult.

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    Ah right, okay, I'll double check it just to be sure, thank you!
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    I had exactly the same decision to make (same subjects + chemistry) and I'll explain the process I went through
    Basically I chose history for a few reasons. I decided that the books on the English syllabus I could read in my own time and not bother with the annoying analysis haha. Secondly, I feel like history is a lot easier to revise, even though there is a lot to learn there's still really set views and facts so your opinions don't matter as much as in English, where my perceptions often aren't detailed enough.
    Thirdly, I absolutely loved the modules our sixth form does (ask which ones your college does) we did russia 1924 - 41 and Britain 1906 - 1951, both of which seemed very interesting, especially the russia module because I am russian. That's the main reason I wanted to do history - to get the knowledge I wouldn't have from English that is useful general knowledge to know anyway.

    Anyway, this has been quite long so I hope it's helpful, but either way I'm sure you enjoy what you choose!
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    (Original post by Ein_Lied)
    I studied English Lit and my friend studied it and History. Not on AQA though.
    I would say Eng Lit is easier than History, since you are doing quite draining subjects, i wouldn't recommend either of them :/

    However out of the two, possibly Eng Lit would be the best. Somebody said above that there's no creative elements, make sure you really know that. It's all poetry, play and novel analysis; you know "Explain why the storm in King Lear is a representation of Lear's growing insanity throughout the play"sort of thing.

    Exams for Eng are fairly standard you learn the stuff and write various essays about it.
    If I don't do History or English Lit, it would have to be Chemistry, which is just as draining as the other subjects.

    I love poetry and novels. Plays are a bit dull though. I'll double check the content to be sure! Oh, and I'll have a look at the exam papers too - why did I not think of that earlier? :facepalm:

    Thanks!
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    (Original post by marinajelly)
    I had exactly the same decision to make (same subjects + chemistry) and I'll explain the process I went through
    Basically I chose history for a few reasons. I decided that the books on the English syllabus I could read in my own time and not bother with the annoying analysis haha. Secondly, I feel like history is a lot easier to revise, even though there is a lot to learn there's still really set views and facts so your opinions don't matter as much as in English, where my perceptions often aren't detailed enough.
    Thirdly, I absolutely loved the modules our sixth form does (ask which ones your college does) we did russia 1924 - 41 and Britain 1906 - 1951, both of which seemed very interesting, especially the russia module because I am russian. That's the main reason I wanted to do history - to get the knowledge I wouldn't have from English that is useful general knowledge to know anyway.

    Anyway, this has been quite long so I hope it's helpful, but either way I'm sure you enjoy what you choose!
    I'm quite good at English and coming up with different interpretations and explaining them in detail. It's just a question of whether I'd enjoy it.

    Yeah I asked my sixth form, and they do the Reformation in Europe 1500-1564, and the Church in England: the Struggle for Supremacy, 1529-1541. I loved GCSE History though. :/
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    (Original post by Madmatician)
    I'm quite good at English and coming up with different interpretations and explaining them in detail. It's just a question of whether I'd enjoy it.

    Yeah I asked my sixth form, and they do the Reformation in Europe 1500-1564, and the Church in England: the Struggle for Supremacy, 1529-1541. It's a Church of England school, so I guess that's why they study those topics, but honestly, studying C16 stuff sounds boring, so that's my problem. I loved GCSE History though. :/
    God those modules sound absolutely awful... if I was you, considering those modules I would actually go for English!

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