Taking the English Literature A Level Course is an excellent way to introduce yourself to a wide range of works of drama, poetry and prose. On this AQA syllabus, there are two written papers and two pieces of coursework and the course prepares you thoroughly for all of them. The course is designed to encourage candidates in developing further interest and enjoyment in literary studies by reading widely, critically and independently and to also introduce candidates to the traditions of English Literature.

This home study course follows the new linear A-Level syllabus. If students want to complete the new linear AS Level course then this can be purchased from the AS Level section of our website.

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 19 Tutor-Marked Assignments (known as TMAs).

Please Note: The course fee includes the marking of coursework from your course tutor, although associated examination fees will need to be paid separately when you register for your exams.

This course is divided into the following modules:

  • Module 1: Literary Analysis

The following topics are covered: Imagery; The Sounds of Language; Characters; Descriptive Writing; Point of View; Tone of Voice; and Feelings.

  • Module 2: Anthology of Love Poetry through the Ages: Pre-1900

The following topics are covered: Three Poems dependent on Images; Problematic Partners; Hearts’ Desires; Brief Encounters; and The Garden of Love.

  • Module 3: Love through the Ages

The following topics are covered: Module Introduction; The Middle Ages and the Invention of Love; Chaucer on Love; Shakespeare on Love; The Sonnet; John Donne and the Metaphysicals; Wordsworth’s Natural Love; John Keats: a Romantic on Love; The Rise of the Novel; From Jane Austen to Mills & Boon; and Twentieth-Century Poetry and Song.

  • Module 4: Shakespeare: Othello

The following topics are covered: Shakespeare: Historical and Social Background; Introduction to Othello; Character, Language and Style in Othello; and Form and Structure in Othello.

  • Module 5 (a): Charlotte Brontë: Jane Eyre

The following topics are covered: Jane Eyre in Context; Jane and Rochester; Jane Eyre and Romances; and Comparisons with Jane Eyre.

  • Module 5 (b): Thomas Hardy: Tess of the d’Urbervilles (AS only)

The following topics are covered: Introduction to Tess of the d’Urbervilles; Hardy’s Characterisation; and Language and Style in Tess of the d’Urbervilles.

  • Module 6: Owen Sheers: Skirrid Hill .

The following topics are covered: Sheers’ Life and Work in Context; ‘Last Act’ to ‘Intermission’; ‘Calendar’ to ‘Skirrid Fawr’; and Themes and Techniques.

  • Module 7: Michael Frayn: Spies

The following topics are covered: Spies: Overview; Spies: Chapters 1-2; Spies: Chapters 3-6; Spies: Chapters 7-11; and Spies: Themes and Characters.

  • Module 8: Tennessee Williams: A Streetcar Named Desire

The following topics are covered: Williams and American Drama; Scenes 1-3; Scenes 4-7; Scenes 8-11; and Themes and Comparisons.

  • Module 9: Coursework: Jane Austen: Mansfield Park

The following topics are covered: Introduction to Coursework; The Themes of Mansfield Park; Narrative Technique and the Minor Characters; and The Major Characters.

  • Module 10: Coursework: George Orwell: Nineteen Eighty-Four

The following topics are covered: Background to the Novel; Structure and Characterisation; Themes and Comparisons; and Comparisons between Texts.

The Syllabus:

Students can study for the AQA English Literature 7711/7712 A Level Specification sitting exams in May/June 2020 or later years.


  • Paper 1: Love Through the Ages (3 Hours) is 75 marks in total (40% of A-level).
  • Paper 2: Texts in Shared Contexts (2 Hours 30 Minutes) is 75 marks in total (40% of A-level).
  • Coursework: Independent critical study: texts across time is 50 marks in total (20% of A-level). Students need to produce a comparative critical study of two texts, at least one of which must have been written pre-1900. One extended essay (2500 words) and a bibliography.

Please Note: Coursework Authentication, Marking & Moderation:

This A level has coursework which will be marked by your course tutor. Due to Awarding Body changes your tutor will now manage the authentication, marking and moderation of your coursework and operate as the initial entering examination centre. A fee of £110.00 will be required for your exam registration when you are ready to register for the exams (Usually January).

Students will then need to find a host centre to sit their exams and a transfer of entry fee (Currently £30.00) for the switch to a host exam centre. The host exam centre will then most likely charge an administration fee for invigilation (This will vary between centres).

Coursework marking and examination fees have always been associated costs but a single centre would usually be responsible for all fees, but due to the introduction of NEA (Non Examined Assessment) regulations, fees will now have to be split between the entering centre, which will mark the NEA/coursework, and the host centre which will administer the exam.

This essentially means a student completing an A Level specification with coursework will be paying an additional £30.00 for the exam transfer fee plus whatever administration fees would be charged by the host centre.


We will admit Candidates for A Level Courses who have a minimum of 4 GCSE's at grade C and above. For English Literature this should include either English Language or English Literature GCSE's at grade C or above.

Please Note: We cannot accept students who are under 18 years old on this course. We do have an alternative course option for students who are under 18. Please email us if you require additional information about this alternative course.  

Additional Reading:

The following books are required to work alongside your course materials:

  • Othello
  • Jane Eyre
  • Tess of the d'Urbervilles
  • Owen Sheers: Skirrid Hill
  • Michael Frayn: Spies
  • Tennessee Williams: A Streetcar Named Desire
  • Jane Austen: Mansfield Park (coursework, optional)
  • George Orwell: Nineteen Eighty-Four (coursework, optional)

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 & Examination Fees:

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.

The new Linear format examinations all need to be sat in a single examination window on completion of your studies. 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 so it is worth contacting a few centres to compare prices.

Nearest Examination Dates:

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

Studying from Abroad:

It is possible to study A Level Courses from anywhere in the world. However some courses are easier to study from abroad than others and some restrictions to the type of tuition available apply. If you wish to study an A Level then you will need to sit the examinations in the UK. Please remember that most A Level's have several examinations which may well be spread over several weeks.

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