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SHOULD i PICK ENGLISH lit A LEVEL

my main concern is if it is too content heavy. i love writing essays and practising my writing skills but dont like memorising tons of quotes and context and connections/chains of thoughts of analysis.
also, how hard is it to get an A*?
(edited 1 month ago)
Reply 1
Hi- year 12 here- I don't do English lit but I know loads of people that do; all of them really enjoy it so far! 🙂
I know someone who got a 5 at GCSE but is now consistently achieving A at A-Level, and no one I know is particularly struggling with the workload, so it's definitely not a difficult A-Level if you're good at essays.

Absolutely go for it if you enjoy literature and essay writing! It's quite different from GCSE but in a good way, and you'll get on fine if you can analyse well.

As for your main concerns:

You really don't need to memorise loads of quotes/context at all, it's nothing like GCSE in this aspect.

A large portion of your marks come from your critical analysis of the texts and their themes as a whole, not how many quotes you can remember.

Revision is mainly essay practice, and homework is just reading and more essay practice.

One thing I remember my friends discussing is that within your essays, you need to discuss a more 'obvious' interpretation, and then a more 'nuanced/unique' interpretation. If you're already good at recognising multiple interpretations, you'll thrive at A-Level!

The workload is honestly okay, just get your essays in on time 👍️

Original post by ismaelishere
my main concern is if it is too content heavy. i love writing essays and practising my writing skills but dont like memorising tons of quotes and context and connections/chains of thoughts of analysis.
also, how hard is it to get an A*?

Im doing literature atm, if your doing heavy subjects and want A*s, you have to ENJOY the subject as well as having previously been GOOD at the subject at GCSE. ill be honest with you, English literature is not for the weak, but at the end of the day, choosing subjects that are your passion is the best thing to make your sixth form/college journey as smooth sailing as possible. hope this helps!
Original post by hannah:)676
Im doing literature atm, if your doing heavy subjects and want A*s, you have to ENJOY the subject as well as having previously been GOOD at the subject at GCSE. ill be honest with you, English literature is not for the weak, but at the end of the day, choosing subjects that are your passion is the best thing to make your sixth form/college journey as smooth sailing as possible. hope this helps!

thx for ur reply. im currently working at a low grade 9 level at gcse. thing is i've been getting 27/30 on my essays since like febuary and made 0 progress so far which kinda concerns me. but its still high so i should be good in terms of ability (though i did have to work VERY hard to get to a 9 in the first place)

in terms of passion, i love thinking about deep questions that some of literature proposes. our school has a "grade 9 club" where we look at high level analysis and even compare some gcse texts (i never use anything i learn from there in my actual essays lol) and i really enjoyed the stuff i learnt and discussed from there. a lot of philosophy and critical thinking which i liked.

in terms of reading, it really depends. if its a good book and im in the mood, i get lost in the abstract world of whatever my mind imagines and its great. sometimes i can only read for like 20 minutes before getting bored. im also a SLOW reader a lot of the time but when it gets to the good part im laser-focused.

another concern I have for lit is that I'm a straight, hetero man. And im 99% sure my class will be all females except me. ive been around and talked to men my whole life and im not the most extroverted person.
Original post by Lily__S
Hi- year 12 here- I don't do English lit but I know loads of people that do; all of them really enjoy it so far! 🙂
I know someone who got a 5 at GCSE but is now consistently achieving A at A-Level, and no one I know is particularly struggling with the workload, so it's definitely not a difficult A-Level if you're good at essays.
Absolutely go for it if you enjoy literature and essay writing! It's quite different from GCSE but in a good way, and you'll get on fine if you can analyse well.
As for your main concerns:

You really don't need to memorise loads of quotes/context at all, it's nothing like GCSE in this aspect.

A large portion of your marks come from your critical analysis of the texts and their themes as a whole, not how many quotes you can remember.

Revision is mainly essay practice, and homework is just reading and more essay practice.

One thing I remember my friends discussing is that within your essays, you need to discuss a more 'obvious' interpretation, and then a more 'nuanced/unique' interpretation. If you're already good at recognising multiple interpretations, you'll thrive at A-Level!

The workload is honestly okay, just get your essays in on time 👍️


thx i really needed this reassurance. also i rlly like the tip about the obvious and then nuanced interpretation. hopefully i can utilise this in gcse too :smile:
from the looks of it you seem to have the subject in the bag, I wouldn't worry in your position. keep in mind that everything Changes in college or sixth form. in my personal experience, I grew so much and went from a total introvert to actually enjoying my time at school and finding great friends. if you enjoy literature, you should take the leap as it was and still is a really rewarding subject for me, and exposing yourself to different surroundings really switched things up for me personally. at the end of the day, you can get where you need to be with a grade 4 or above, which really reassured me when I did GCSEs. Best of luck !
Original post by ismaelishere
thx for ur reply. im currently working at a low grade 9 level at gcse. thing is i've been getting 27/30 on my essays since like febuary and made 0 progress so far which kinda concerns me. but its still high so i should be good in terms of ability (though i did have to work VERY hard to get to a 9 in the first place)
in terms of passion, i love thinking about deep questions that some of literature proposes. our school has a "grade 9 club" where we look at high level analysis and even compare some gcse texts (i never use anything i learn from there in my actual essays lol) and i really enjoyed the stuff i learnt and discussed from there. a lot of philosophy and critical thinking which i liked.
in terms of reading, it really depends. if its a good book and im in the mood, i get lost in the abstract world of whatever my mind imagines and its great. sometimes i can only read for like 20 minutes before getting bored. im also a SLOW reader a lot of the time but when it gets to the good part im laser-focused.
another concern I have for lit is that I'm a straight, hetero man. And im 99% sure my class will be all females except me. ive been around and talked to men my whole life and im not the most extroverted person.

check the exam board + the spec of the sixth form you're interested in + the texts they're doing, that'll help u. some texts are better than others. i do aqa and for paper 1 tragedy i do king lear which i hate, death of a salesman which is okay ish and keats which i adooooore because u can bring in a lot of wider contextual interesting stuff within it. paper 2 i do rime of the ancient mariner (love), hamlet (love), atonement which is meh, easy but boring. the ones i love the most r the ones i tend to to do best one. hated eng lit in gcse but a levels is soo much better and despite being ass at it i still enjoy it because of the critical aspect u mentioned, i think it's worth picking honestly. but if you think it's gonna be easy, it rlly isnt. quotes like the others have mentioned isn't a major issue, it's more so the wider links and stuff. also again, different to gcse, there's a lot more subjectivity within it? like u are able to implement your own view points more which gets u higher in the mark scheme which i think is great. you have to consider as well that in a level lit u do have coursework so.

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