This English Literature GCSE Course gives students the opportunity to explore their literary interests through reading a wide range of classic literature and is designed to show the depth and power of the English literary heritage. Students will read extensively and critically so that they are able to discuss and explain their understanding and ideas fluently, and make connections across their reading.

This specification is designed to show the depth and power of the English literary heritage and students will need to write accurately, effectively and analytically about their reading, using Standard English and will acquire and use a wide vocabulary, including the grammatical terminology and other literary and linguistic terms they need to criticise and analyse what they read.

Each lesson begins with a set of clearly stated objectives and an explanation of its place in the overall programme of study. Effective learning is encouraged through frequent activities and self-assessment questions. There are eleven tutor-marked assignments.

The Syllabus:

The English Literature GCSE course prepares students for the AQA 8702 GCSE English Literature specification for exams in May/June 2020 or later years. This syllabus has been chosen as it is the most suited to distance learning. Assessment is by two examination papers.

  • Paper 1: Shakespeare & the 19th Century Novel is 40% of the total marks. The exam is 1 Hour and 45 Minutes and is 64 Marks.
  • Paper 2: Modern Texts and Poetry is 60% of the total marks. The exam is 2 Hours and 15 Minutes and is 96 Marks and the course materials cover the Power and Conflict cluster of poems.

The course is divided into 6 modules containing 22 lessons:

Module One - Literary Analysis:

  • Unit 1: Writing about yourself.
  • Unit 2: Comparing different versions of an event.
  • Unit 3: Imagery and Setting.
  • Unit 4: Character.
  • Unit 5: Point of view.

Module Two - Essay Technique:

  • Unit 6: Persuasion.
  • Unit 7: Paragraphing.
  • Unit 8: Planning Essays.
  • Unit 9: Argument.

Module Three – Shakespeare: Romeo & Juliet:

  • Unit 10: Studying Shakespeare.
  • Unit 11: Acts I and II.
  • Unit 12: Acts III, IV and V.
  • Unit 13: Characters & Themes.

Module Four - J.B. Priestley: An Inspector Calls:

  • Unit 14: Act One and Characters.
  • Unit 15: Act Two and Structure.
  • Unit 16: Act Three and Language.
  • Unit 17: Themes of the Play.

Module Five - Unseen Texts and Poetry Anthology:

  • Unit 18: Analysing Poems (Anthology Worksheets 1-15).

Module Six - Mary Shelley: Frankenstein:

  • Unit 19: The Plot of Frankenstein.
  • Unit 20: Mary Shelley and the Gothic Novel.
  • Unit 21: Characters and Themes.
  • Unit 22: Frankenstein and Science Fiction.


There are no prerequisites for starting this course, however a reasonable level of English language proficiency is assumed.

Please Note: We cannot accept students who are under 18 years old on this course.  


No coursework is required.

Additional Reading:

You are required to study a Poetry Anthology and three further texts in detail. The following three texts match the AQA criteria to study on this course.

  • William Shakespeare: Romeo and Juliet (Cambridge School Shakespeare; ISBN-13: 978-0521618700)
  • Mary Shelley: Frankenstein: The Modern Prometheus (Wisehouse Classics; ISBN: 978-9176370698). This is the original 1818 edition of the novel.
  • J.B. Priestley: An Inspector Calls (Penguin Classics; ISBN: 978-0-14-118535-4)

AQA do not nominate specific editions, but we recommend the above versions. In each case it is acceptable to use a different edition.

We recommend purchasing any books after receiving your course materials to make sure there have been no revisions. 

Student Support:

Every student receives a personal tutor with whom they should keep in regular contact. All tutors are fully qualified experienced teachers holding either a Postgraduate Certificate in Education or a degree in education. Most work from home and are able to offer flexible contact times. The tutor will contact students with an introductory letter and a telephone call to help decide on a study plan. They will also let the student know the best ways and times for contact.

There is no limit on how often you can contact your tutor. The advice and encouragement our tutors provide are an important part of your learning experience. You can contact your tutor by Phone, Post or Email. There are tutor-marked assignments (TMA's) in every course. These help the student to consolidate their learning and prepare for examinations.

All tutors have a Freephone 0800 telephone number and most will have Skype capabilities. Whilst you are still actively submitting assignments, you should expect to be in contact with your tutor regularly. Remember, to get the most out of your tutor, you will need to tell them when you need assistance.

Examination Centres:

All distance learning students will sit their exams as a private candidate in a registered school or college. The finding of an examination centre and the booking of exams is the responsibility of the student. In December/January students are contacted and advised to start arranging their examinations. AQA have over 300 exam centres in the UK. Examination officers are available for registered students for advice on finding suitable centres or you can use AQA’s Private Candidate Page which details information about being a private candidate and has a search facility showing a small selection of centres set out geographically.

Nearest Examination Dates:

Please review the GCSE Overview page for detailed information on possible examination dates and procedures.

GCSE Examination Fees:

Examination fees need to be paid direct to your chosen exam centre. Prices for exams will vary depending on the exam centre's administration costs. You can find out further information about the Private Candidate process and locate suitable exam centres from the AQA Private Candidate Page.

Studying from Abroad:

It is possible to study GCSE Courses from anywhere in the world. However some home study courses are easier to study from abroad than others and some restrictions to the type of tuition available apply. If you wish to study a GCSE then you will need to sit the examinations in the UK. Please remember that most GCSE's have several examinations which may well be spread over several weeks. If you are studying outside of the UK then the English Literature IGCSE may be a better alternative for you.

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