The aims of the OCR syllabus are to encourage the enjoyment of English through varied texts and tasks, including some new creative approaches to coursework.
Is this course for me?
Prospective students must have studied English Literature at GCSE and have a good pass in this subject and in English GCSE. You will enjoy this course if you enjoy reading and interpreting text, and if you like a more alternative and creative approach to the study of literature. It is imperative that you enjoy reading and engaging with fiction and non-fiction texts, as the course will involve class discussions and debates.
Where could it lead?
English Language and Literature is a course that builds strong analysis, writing and communication skills well as the ability to debate ideas, and is therefore an excellent addition to any combination of subjects. Journalism, law, publishing, PR and marketing are just a few of the many careers which depend on English.
What’s the difference between ‘English Language and Literature’ and ‘English Literature’?
English Language and Literature focuses on analysing non-fiction texts and ‘real-life’ speech, as well as prose, poetry and drama literary texts. The emphasis of the coursework element is analytical, similar to English Literature, but also requires a more creative response potentially making use of different media- graphic novels, drama and sound recordings. Just be aware that if you would like to study English at Oxford or Cambridge, then this course is not always considered as ‘academic’ as the traditional AS/A2 English Literature.
Unit content and assessment
Unit 1: exam (closed text) – ‘Speaking Voices’
Exam (60% of AS; 30% of whole A Level)
Students will study two main texts from a varied selection set by the board:
Question 1 – An analysis of how a certain ‘voice’ is represented. Students will analyse a passage from the text they have studied and compare it to a transcript of ‘real’ speech. Texts include: ‘Oranges are Not the Only Fruit’, ‘Remains of the Day’, ‘Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha’ (from June 2012) – compared to unseen transcript of authentic speech.
Question 2 – An essay-style question on the second set text: ‘Heart of Darkness’, ‘The Awakening’ or ‘Persuasion’, compared to unseen non-fiction extract.
Unit 2: coursework – ‘Changing Texts’
Coursework (40% of AS; 20% of whole A Level)
Students will be asked to complete two tasks, a maximum of 3000 words, with a focus on multi-modal texts.
Task 1 – An analysis of a multi-modal transformation, what factors impacted on its creation and how it was received. For example, 1500 words exploring Baz Luhrman’s ‘Romeo & Juliet’ or BBC website pages on Chaucer’s ‘Wife of Bath’.
Task 2 – The students can produce their own multi-modal text transformation of the original text and a commentary. Students should make use of at least two different modes writing, spoken language, image, sound etc… This exciting aspect of the course allows students to produce a more creative response, such as a performance on DVD, web pages or a graphic novel. This must be accompanied by a substantial commentary outlining the approach they took and evaluating the outcome.
Unit 3: exam (closed text) – ‘Dramatic Voices’
Exam (30% of whole A Level)
This unit focuses on two linked drama texts, e.g. Volpone-Glengarry Glen Ross; As You Like It; Arcadia (from June 2013).
Question 1 – Students compare and analyse an extract from both plays.
Question 2 – Students write an essay based on one set texts raising an ‘issue integral to the study of language and literature’.
Unit 4: coursework – ‘Connections Across Texts’
Coursework (20% of whole A Level)
Maximum 3000 words for 2 pieces
Students focus on ‘one substantial text outside the literary canon’ (such as Bill Bryson’s ‘Down Under’), supported by comparison with at least 2 other texts.
Task 1 – Analytical Study – comparison and contrast of chosen texts.
Task 2 – Original creative writing with commentary – piece should arise from task 1.
For example: Germaine Greer, ‘The Female Eunuch’ with articles and interviews on Greer; ’The Handmaid’s Tale’ and ‘Taming of the Shrew’ extracts.
Within the whole study should be evidence of one spoken language text (can include scripted speech) and one ‘non-literary’ text.