English Language GCSE Vs A Level Watch
PS I'm a mature student, that has done a level 3 in another subject just not specifically an A level.
English language at A-level is very different from what it is at GCSE, not just in difficulty, but also in content. In fact, I personally believe the immense increase in difficulty is due to all the new content that supplants your previous English language knowledge from Key Stage 4. In A-level language, you look at the 'theory behind language': studying the history of the English language, how it has evolved, and how it has become more diverse with different people (e.g. idiolects) within different contexts (e.g. in occupation, gender, etc.). You also learn about a child's language acquisition, and also how they develop their literacy (this spans 0-11 years). Theorists in the field of linguistics that discuss these different aspects of language are also very significant here for both diversity and change of the language, and its acquisition during the first eleven years alive (e.g. David Crystal, Noam Chomsky, etc.). There is a profound emphasis on grammar in the English language (e.g. word classes, clause types, verb tenses and moods, etc.). You also look into the prescriptivist v. descriptivist debate and the different approaches to language people take. A-level English language delves into linguistics more than anything else, and would be more suited for those with plans to study linguistics further.
The usual minimum requirement for English language at A-level is a grade 6 at GCSE, so you're more than alright with your 8. It all depends on the work that you put in really. I got a grade 9 in GCSE and am struggling to some extent, while another grade 9 student is coasting through the course with minimum difficulty.
I personally think it is awesome that a mature student is investing their time into English language at GCSE and at A-level as well. Good luck.
This comment was mostly copied from a previous one that I made, but I believe it still holds water as a substantial response in this case.
I took English language A level on a bit of a whim actually. I was stuck choosing another A level, and I got an 8 in GCSE, and so I thought yeah, why not! I love It, so much so that I'm going to continue it next year at university.
GCSE is just analysing texts etc whereas A level is looking at proper, real life stuff. You learn about the differences in how people use language and why, due to gender or age or social class. You learn about child language acquisition and the change of the English language over time. I love It! And I love that, unlike some subjects, you can see how this subject affects your life every single day, and I think that's just wonderful.
I would definitely, DEFINITELY recommend.