English Literature, English Language, and History? Watch

Eddie.J
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Hi, I'm currently choosing my A-Levels and am receiving a lot of stress about it.

My school is only offering three A-Levels due to the increase in difficultly this year, and so far I have positively decided on English Literature and History, both of which I am able in and enjoy. I'm predicted an A* in both when I take my GCSE exams in the summer. I've always loved writing and would love to do something to do with creative writing/journalism at university.

My third choice is my issue. I want to do English language and I find the curriculum very interesting, but I'm worried about doing three essay subjects being very difficult for me. But I'm doing subjects I enjoy and am focusing on those rather than compulsory subjects I don't enjoy in GCSE (such as Maths). I've also considered geography which I enjoy and am predicted an A in, but I'm not huge on field work and I'm not sure this would work well with my hopeful future in writing. I've also considered media studies, but I know this isn't valuable at all.

I was hoping there is someone who's done history, English literature, and English language and could advise me on the workload? Maybe it's just me doubting myself but I'm worried about not being able to handle it, despite my skill and enjoyment of essays and writing. Would love to hear some advice
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Snufkin
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Unless you're planning on studying English at university, it probably isn't a good idea to do two English-related A levels. If you like geography then do it, fieldwork is a very minor part of the A level. If you want to be a writer then doing three essay-based subjects is a good thing, no?
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csutton
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Don't do both literature and language. Literature is more respected, but it is harder.
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princesshan
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If you enjoy both, take them. If you take subjects you enjoy you're much more likely to work harder! I'm doing English Language AS and loving it so far
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bunchofrosies
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I do Literature at A-Level and it is very hard, I got a D at AS despite getting an A* at GCSE. However Lit is really fun and if you love reading and the analysis then you will enjoy it, it is definitely a big step up from GCSE, analysis becomes more detailled and you have to do more than just reading the texts. Depending on the exam board your school or college chooses the books, whether you are allowed them in the exam, and the questions change.

However if you want to know an example, my school do Edexcel, and because of the spec being the new one AS doesn't count towards your full A-Level so everything you do for your first year doesn't count and you have to do it again for your second year. So the exams are split, Paper One is 2 hours long and consists of two sections, Poetry and Drama, The Poetry section consisted of a choice of two essay questions comparing one listed poem and another of your choice from the anthology Poems of the Decade. You have an hour to write this response, then the drama section is again a choice of two questions and the questions are usually discussing an argument of a statement. My school chose for us to study Dr. Faustus by Christopher Marlowe as it is an option for the full A-Level too.

That's the first AS exam. The second is Prose, which is a one hour exam, the shortest exam that you will ever have in your A-Levels, and is a choice of one exam question on the chosen texts your school choose. There are a lot of prose books to choose from so it is very rare that you will find anyone from other schools that are doing the same two books as you. My school chose Dracula by Bram Stoker and The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters, which are both great books, and are in the supernatural section of the exam.

Each of those sections is around 33.3% of your mark and gives you your final AS grade. But remember this doesn't count for your final grade so don't panic, think of it as a mock for the real thing.

Then in the A2, you again have the three sections but this time they are 3 exams rather than 2. There is also a coursework element to this. Your school, or you depending on your schools policy pick a theme, author, or era to compare two novels against. My school chose crime, and so our first coursework book is In Cold Blood by Truman Capote and our second was our own free choice and so I have decided to do The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold.

Your drama exam is 2 hours 15, and is again the drama from your AS, and Shakespeare, which my school chose Antony and Cleopatra, and you have to memorise critics views from a critical anthology. The prose exam is again 1 hour long and is the same two novels from AS, that doesn't change. Then the Poetry exam is also 2 hours 15 and consists of comparing an unseen poem and a poem from the anthology and a second element of another set of poems picked by your school. My school have chosen a poets collection, but as of now I cannot remember what we have chosen.

I myself don't take English Language, but I know that taking the two can help as you have knowledge of the language techniques that are very important to your grades for both Lit and Language.

I strongly suggest getting Mr Bruff's Guide to A-Level English Literature and if you take Lanaguage he has one for that too, that has bumped me up from my D at AS to working at a B grade almost an A and writing really good quality essays.

Good luck choosing your A-Levels, if you have anymore enquiries about what A-Levels are like, or about my grades or revision tips feel free to contact me
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