What does A-Level English Literature Consist of?Watch
You'll study a range of plays, poems and novels from different periods. I think all exam boards will require at least one Shakespeare play, some kind of unseen element, a post-2000 text and more. For my A Level I study The Mayor of Casterbridge, which is a Victorian novel; A Streetcar Named Desire, an American play from the 1940s; poetry by Sylvia Plath and Ted Hughes, who were married poets in the 20th century; The Merchant's Tale, a medieval narrative poem; The Tempest by Shakespeare; The Great Gatsby and a novel from the 2000s called Brooklyn. I also have an unseen poetry essay as part of my poetry paper. As you can see there is a diverse range of texts and you can expect this from every exam board.
It obviously involves a lot of reading, as the best students will read way beyond the set texts and explore lots of pieces of classic and modern literature, as well as a LOT of writing. Essays are of a higher standard than at GCSE, but the progression is quite natural. The main differences are the even greater emphasis on context, deeper analysis of language and prose/poetry/drama techniques and the use of critical theory, where you look at different interpretations of texts, such as feminist or political or psychoanalytical.
The best way to find out if you'll enjoy the course is to find out which texts you'll be studying and if you'll enjoy them!