Annabel.H
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I'm intrested in the English Language course, however it seems very differnt to GCSE, so I'm not really sure what it'd be like.

I think the topics i'd be studying are:
Children’s language development
•Language diversity and change
•Language discourses
Writing skills
•Language investigation
•Original writing
(don't know if that helps)

I have a few questions about the subject:

1. Do you enjoy it? What's your genral experience if the subject?

2. Is it harder/easier or not really different from GCSE level? Do i need to be doing really really well at GCSE english language to do well at A-level?

3.What is the origional writing topic like in your opinion? what kind of things do you have to write?

4. What are you tested on? Is it more analysis or fact recall?

5. Is it a beneficial subject when looking at university or employment?

I know it's a lot but thankyou!!
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Jayzelessssss
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hey!im currently year 10 transitioning to year 11 so I’m in a similar situation in regards to choosing a levels!however,my school did college visits and I chose English language. From what we were told it is a lot more about the evolution of language and the way it is used in society, as you seem to already know. It seemed quite different to GCSE, and as someone who adores language I didn’t really like it. However, I’m not trying to dispel your choice, you may love it! I would try and ask some people who went to your school perhaps if they took it and what it was like. Like I say, I don’t know for certain as I am not in college yet. Good luck with your choices though!
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Annabel.H
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Thankyou for your response! Our school did the same, i also chose English language, however i didn't find the experience that helpful or informative in aiding my decision, so just wanted some opinions of people who take it for second opinions etc Good look in your choices aswell!!
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Jayzelessssss
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neither, I’m definitely leaning more toward english literature. All the best. I’m assuming you have GCSEs this year too, like me. Good luck for them, I’m stressing out so much for them!
(Original post by Annabel.H)
Thankyou for your response! Our school did the same, i also chose English language, however i didn't find the experience that helpful or informative in aiding my decision, so just wanted some opinions of people who take it for second opinions etc Good look in your choices aswell!!
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Annabel.H
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(Original post by Jayzelessssss)
neither, I’m definitely leaning more toward english literature. All the best. I’m assuming you have GCSEs this year too, like me. Good luck for them, I’m stressing out so much for them!
Yes i have my GCSE's this year too! They're going to come so fast, so i'm trying not to stress too much about them atm! Good luck to you too!
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GreyAngus
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Hey, I’ve just finished my second year of A Levels, including English language. My response is based on the assumption you would do the AQA exam board like I did, both from what you’ve mentioned about content and most centres do AQA anyway.



1. I’ve enjoyed it massively, but this, like every subject, also depends on your class and lecturer/teacher of course. A wide range of abilities take language, more so than lit I’d say, having done both. It’s got a rep of being a ‘softer’ option and I did choose it to balance out my other two more intense subjects, so I did find it a little easier/more laid back than Lit (although lit is a facilitating subject and this isn’t, so it’s a widely held view). Course wise, it’s actually quite interesting and covers a broad range of topics (which I’ll give in 2. ) in both years, again making it enjoyable and varied too. Last thought, I much preferred language at A Level to language at GCSE and a few people in my class are taking it further, if that acts in its favour!




2. So the way I’d describe the difference is that GCSE language for me felt more like literature- analysing a text for meaning, not a lot else. A Level language is more like looking in depth at the grammatical use of language (sort of a scientific look at language use), perhaps identifying what purpose the producer/writer writes to meet and the positioning of the audience/reader. Grab a look at the website for the exam board you would be using and have a dig around of the spec, if you haven’t already!

Brief summary of papers: Paper 1 AS involves looking at two texts then comparing, the analysis being the same as GCSE, the style of essay being different. Paper 2 AS involves an essay on the topics below and a creative essay/article. Paper 1 A2 you look at two texts than comparing (like in year 1) but the texts are from different time periods so you compare that and a Child Language Acquisition question is tagged on to the end of the paper. Paper 2 A2 is a question on language diversity or language change and then a language attitudes question, followed by a creative essay/article, like for AS but more serious perhaps and more suited to A2 level. Coursework is in addition to this for A2 year. We did AS, I’m not sure if you will as it varies from centre to centre, but it all needs to be covered at some point for A2, so there you go anyway.

Topics across the two years included how language is affected by your: age, gender, sexuality, occupation, social class and social group (AS) and Child Language Acquisition, World Englishes and Language Change throughout the centuries (A2). A2 topics I found were naturally more in depth but nothing too difficult. As you can tell, this is not like GCSE, which was much less content-based and more you get what you’re given and analyse it. A lot of groundwork goes into A Level analysis but it’s not a bore or anything.



3. I will quickly mention the coursework structure to make it clearer – firstly, you do a language investigation on your topic of choice, provided that the teacher is okay with it. Some people did the language of people on Love Island, football commentaries, song lyrics etc. So it’s pretty much up to you and your interests, which is nice. Then you do the creative piece with a style model to base yours from. Finally, you do a commentary on your piece.

As mentioned above in 2. , each year has one creative essay/article but no other creative aspects to the exam. As for the coursework, the original writing piece (750 words approx.) is most people’s favourite part because it’s quite free and broad- we could write it in the form of an article, blog post, poem, story etc. but it has to be based on a language issue. You then have to do the commentary on it, only like 750 words, sort of analysing your own work. It’s odd to get back to creative writing after GCSE, for which I remember doing more of it, definitely! Like with the form, the topic is completely up to you; you get a lot more freedom than GCSE for certain. I did my investigation on the language from a comedy show I liked and my creative section on why people weren’t learning other languages anymore since the English language is so massive in the world. It was immense but I enjoyed it immensely!

4. I already mentioned the paper structure and topics that you are tested on, however as for whether it’s more analysis or fact recall, it’s hard to say. Paper One, you just need to know your grammar and essay structure as the texts themselves are unseen, in addition to the CLA studies. Paper Two is definitely more memory-based as there are a lot of language studies under the umbrella of age, gender etc. (from my experience, you don’t need to remember more than the theorist e.g. Lakoff and what they did e.g. ten features of women’s language before giving examples and doing a little analysis). You don’t need to remember all the studies, in case that worries you, and you can do well without giving all the one’s you’ve learned; in fact, you can just choose the most relevant ones and the examiner will appreciate this more than just spewing out all you have remembered on to the page!

5. This is a tricky one because, of course, it depends on how well you do at the end of the day but, like I said previously, it’s not a facilitating subject like Literature. It’s hard work, like all A-Levels, and I don’t like thinking like my CV will have the ‘soft’ option on it. It is what you make it; if you enjoy it, work hard and do well, it will be beneficial to you. It’s an A Level at the end of the day and while it depends on the subject you want to do at university, or the job you want to get (e.g. lit is more beneficial if you want to get into teaching – none of my language lecturers/teachers for GCSE or A Level did language at degree), what matters most is the enjoyment and skills you get out of it because two years is a long time to study something you aren’t happy with.

Echoing your original post, I know it’s a lot (did so not intend to get into it that deeply), but I really hope I have helped you make up your mind a little. It’s a big decision, so I hope I’ve helped a bit. Congrats on getting through your GCSEs and good luck with your results/ good luck at A Level, whichever subjects you decide on in the end. If you have any more questions, please feel free to ask

P.s If I got any info wrong, I apologise; at first, most was wiped from my memory post exams!
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Annabel.H
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(Original post by GreyAngus)
Hey, I’ve just finished my second year of A Levels, including English language. My response is based on the assumption you would do the AQA exam board like I did, both from what you’ve mentioned about content and most centres do AQA anyway.



1. I’ve enjoyed it massively, but this, like every subject, also depends on your class and lecturer/teacher of course. A wide range of abilities take language, more so than lit I’d say, having done both. It’s got a rep of being a ‘softer’ option and I did choose it to balance out my other two more intense subjects, so I did find it a little easier/more laid back than Lit (although lit is a facilitating subject and this isn’t, so it’s a widely held view). Course wise, it’s actually quite interesting and covers a broad range of topics (which I’ll give in 2. ) in both years, again making it enjoyable and varied too. Last thought, I much preferred language at A Level to language at GCSE and a few people in my class are taking it further, if that acts in its favour!




2. So the way I’d describe the difference is that GCSE language for me felt more like literature- analysing a text for meaning, not a lot else. A Level language is more like looking in depth at the grammatical use of language (sort of a scientific look at language use), perhaps identifying what purpose the producer/writer writes to meet and the positioning of the audience/reader. Grab a look at the website for the exam board you would be using and have a dig around of the spec, if you haven’t already!

Brief summary of papers: Paper 1 AS involves looking at two texts then comparing, the analysis being the same as GCSE, the style of essay being different. Paper 2 AS involves an essay on the topics below and a creative essay/article. Paper 1 A2 you look at two texts than comparing (like in year 1) but the texts are from different time periods so you compare that and a Child Language Acquisition question is tagged on to the end of the paper. Paper 2 A2 is a question on language diversity or language change and then a language attitudes question, followed by a creative essay/article, like for AS but more serious perhaps and more suited to A2 level. Coursework is in addition to this for A2 year. We did AS, I’m not sure if you will as it varies from centre to centre, but it all needs to be covered at some point for A2, so there you go anyway.

Topics across the two years included how language is affected by your: age, gender, sexuality, occupation, social class and social group (AS) and Child Language Acquisition, World Englishes and Language Change throughout the centuries (A2). A2 topics I found were naturally more in depth but nothing too difficult. As you can tell, this is not like GCSE, which was much less content-based and more you get what you’re given and analyse it. A lot of groundwork goes into A Level analysis but it’s not a bore or anything.



3. I will quickly mention the coursework structure to make it clearer – firstly, you do a language investigation on your topic of choice, provided that the teacher is okay with it. Some people did the language of people on Love Island, football commentaries, song lyrics etc. So it’s pretty much up to you and your interests, which is nice. Then you do the creative piece with a style model to base yours from. Finally, you do a commentary on your piece.

As mentioned above in 2. , each year has one creative essay/article but no other creative aspects to the exam. As for the coursework, the original writing piece (750 words approx.) is most people’s favourite part because it’s quite free and broad- we could write it in the form of an article, blog post, poem, story etc. but it has to be based on a language issue. You then have to do the commentary on it, only like 750 words, sort of analysing your own work. It’s odd to get back to creative writing after GCSE, for which I remember doing more of it, definitely! Like with the form, the topic is completely up to you; you get a lot more freedom than GCSE for certain. I did my investigation on the language from a comedy show I liked and my creative section on why people weren’t learning other languages anymore since the English language is so massive in the world. It was immense but I enjoyed it immensely!

4. I already mentioned the paper structure and topics that you are tested on, however as for whether it’s more analysis or fact recall, it’s hard to say. Paper One, you just need to know your grammar and essay structure as the texts themselves are unseen, in addition to the CLA studies. Paper Two is definitely more memory-based as there are a lot of language studies under the umbrella of age, gender etc. (from my experience, you don’t need to remember more than the theorist e.g. Lakoff and what they did e.g. ten features of women’s language before giving examples and doing a little analysis). You don’t need to remember all the studies, in case that worries you, and you can do well without giving all the one’s you’ve learned; in fact, you can just choose the most relevant ones and the examiner will appreciate this more than just spewing out all you have remembered on to the page!

5. This is a tricky one because, of course, it depends on how well you do at the end of the day but, like I said previously, it’s not a facilitating subject like Literature. It’s hard work, like all A-Levels, and I don’t like thinking like my CV will have the ‘soft’ option on it. It is what you make it; if you enjoy it, work hard and do well, it will be beneficial to you. It’s an A Level at the end of the day and while it depends on the subject you want to do at university, or the job you want to get (e.g. lit is more beneficial if you want to get into teaching – none of my language lecturers/teachers for GCSE or A Level did language at degree), what matters most is the enjoyment and skills you get out of it because two years is a long time to study something you aren’t happy with.

Echoing your original post, I know it’s a lot (did so not intend to get into it that deeply), but I really hope I have helped you make up your mind a little. It’s a big decision, so I hope I’ve helped a bit. Congrats on getting through your GCSEs and good luck with your results/ good luck at A Level, whichever subjects you decide on in the end. If you have any more questions, please feel free to ask

P.s If I got any info wrong, I apologise; at first, most was wiped from my memory post exams!
Thankyou so much for your response it was really informative and has given me alot more information to consider about the course!

I think i will have to look into literature aswell, but it looks like an extremely difficult course!

P.s. I actually haven't done my GCSEs yet aha, i'm going into year 11 this year, so i still have some time to decide about A-levels.

Thankyou again, this was really helpful!!
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Tolgash
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The previous poster gave more than enough information, but I'll chip in a bit. You might want to start learning English grammar as a headstart if you haven't yet. It'll help you immeasurably, trust me. Most of your class will probably not have even encountered the metalanguage of grammar.
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Annabel.H
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(Original post by Tolgarda)
The previous poster gave more than enough information, but I'll chip in a bit. You might want to start learning English grammar as a headstart if you haven't yet. It'll help you immeasurably, trust me. Most of your class will probably not have encountered the metalanguage of grammar.
Thankyou, i'll look into it
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Tolgash
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(Original post by Annabel.H)
Thankyou, i'll look into it
If you need any help, PM me. I have a guide for A Level, am predicted an A* and achieved a 9 at GCSE.
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Annabel.H
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(Original post by Tolgarda)
If you need any help, PM me. I have a guide for A Level, am predicted an A* and achieved a 9 at GCSE.
Thanks
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Zlancs
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(Original post by Annabel.H)
I'm intrested in the English Language course, however it seems very differnt to GCSE, so I'm not really sure what it'd be like.

I think the topics i'd be studying are:
Children’s language development
•Language diversity and change
•Language discourses
Writing skills
•Language investigation
•Original writing
(don't know if that helps)

I have a few questions about the subject:

1. Do you enjoy it? What's your genral experience if the subject?

2. Is it harder/easier or not really different from GCSE level? Do i need to be doing really really well at GCSE english language to do well at A-level?

3.What is the origional writing topic like in your opinion? what kind of things do you have to write?

4. What are you tested on? Is it more analysis or fact recall?

5. Is it a beneficial subject when looking at university or employment?

I know it's a lot but thankyou!!
Hey there!

Just finished A2 and am currently awaiting my results with bated breath
First of all, despite being enamored with computer science, I loved English Language so much that I'm now going on to pursue a degree in Linguistics.

Definitely harder than GCSE, but if you didn't do too well at GCSE, this is completely different. Depending on the exam board it will differ, but it's very focused around self-study and creating a unique perspective.

"original writing"... The only creative and original writing you do is either an opinionated article based on a topic you have learned or the first half of the coursework which, even then, is based on a style model that you have to try and imitate.

You are tested on your writing. First and foremost is the perceptive features you pick out from texts and how you can "milk" quotes, but ultimately if you can't structure your essay cohesively and write well, you won't get the marks no matter how amazing the quotes you pulled from the text are.

Beneficial is another point that I'm not quite sure about. I was accepted to every university I applied to using English Language, Maths and Psychology as my A Level subjects (after dropping computing after AS because Maths was more important). In that sense, it got me where I needed to be and directed me to a field I love.

I hope this helped!!
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Tolgash
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Hey there!

Just finished A2 and am currently awaiting my results with bated breath
First of all, despite being enamored with computer science, I loved English Language so much that I'm now going on to pursue a degree in Linguistics.
Good luck, but you've just squandered a chance of having a vast number of job prospects after graduation. Linguistics probably pales in comparison to computing in that respect.
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Zlancs
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Good luck, but you've just squandered a chance of having a vast number of job prospects after graduation. Linguistics probably pales in comparison to computing in that respect.
Haha, that's a reaction I get a lot!

I have undoubtedly moved to a career path that is less well paid, but in doing so have also stayed clear of something I wouldn't have enjoyed.
I have already worked with companies on projects and have qualifications in a couple of languages so there's enough to build on if I ever feel like going back!

The actual end goal is to go into Speech Therapy to help people like somebody helped me when I was younger.

But computing is totally the place to be if you want to be if you want the £££
It personally wasn't the place for me. After months of work experience and helping build open source software, it was pretty clear that if I had to do it as an actual job, it would have driven me to insanity.
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Tolgash
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(Original post by Zlancs)
Haha, that's a reaction I get a lot!

I have undoubtedly moved to a career path that is less well paid, but in doing so have also stayed clear of something I wouldn't have enjoyed.
I have already worked with companies on projects and have qualifications in a couple of languages so there's enough to build on if I ever feel like going back!

The actual end goal is to go into Speech Therapy to help people like somebody helped me when I was younger.

But computing is totally the place to be if you want to be if you want the £££
It personally wasn't the place for me. After months of work experience and helping build open source software, it was pretty clear that if I had to do it as an actual job, it would have driven me to insanity.
Nice. I totally understand your decision. Where do you hope to end up in September?
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Annabel.H
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(Original post by Zlancs)
Hey there!

Just finished A2 and am currently awaiting my results with bated breath
First of all, despite being enamored with computer science, I loved English Language so much that I'm now going on to pursue a degree in Linguistics.

Definitely harder than GCSE, but if you didn't do too well at GCSE, this is completely different. Depending on the exam board it will differ, but it's very focused around self-study and creating a unique perspective.

"original writing"... The only creative and original writing you do is either an opinionated article based on a topic you have learned or the first half of the coursework which, even then, is based on a style model that you have to try and imitate.

You are tested on your writing. First and foremost is the perceptive features you pick out from texts and how you can "milk" quotes, but ultimately if you can't structure your essay cohesively and write well, you won't get the marks no matter how amazing the quotes you pulled from the text are.

Beneficial is another point that I'm not quite sure about. I was accepted to every university I applied to using English Language, Maths and Psychology as my A Level subjects (after dropping computing after AS because Maths was more important). In that sense, it got me where I needed to be and directed me to a field I love.

I hope this helped!!
Sorry it's a late response, I've just seen this! Thankyou for you reply it was really helpful, especially to learn that the creative writing aspect isn't nearly as bad as i thought it was! I'm still not too sure if i want to take English language, but i have lots of time to decide and will visit the subject again at the next college open day Hope you get the results you wanted, and thnakyou again ! )
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