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English Literature A Level


A level English Literature

Do you have a passion for reading? Broaden your knowledge and understanding of some of the major literary works from the 17th century to the present day by studying A level English Literature online.

Multi-buy A levels:

Purchasing more than one A level? Use voucher code ALMB10 to receive 10% off at checkout.

English Literature is one of the most vibrant and popular subjects to study at A level and will help you to develop an enjoyment and love of the written word. By reading widely, and critically, across centuries, gender and genre, you will develop as an independent reader and critic.

When you study A level English Literature online you’ll explore key literary works – learning how to reflect on and evaluate the content, before making your conclusions and communicating them in an eloquent and precise way.

You’ll explore how to objectively analyse more complex literary issues using theories and critical ideas. These skills will form the basis for further study at higher education level and are highly-valued, essential skills for a wide variety of job roles and professions.

Why study English Literature?

If you have real pleasure in reading then English Literature A level will probably be your favourite subject! As a core subject you’ll be able to combine English Literature with any other A level as it complements all areas.

As part of the course you’ll be taught to look critically at a text’s historical and culture period which will enable you to develop an understanding of literature in all its forms – while also enjoying some great works. Our English Literature A level course is ideal if you:

  • Enjoy reading and want to study both classic and contemporary work.
  • Are keen to study English at degree level, or to combine with the arts or humanities subjects, languages, business or law.
  • Would like to gain a deeper understanding of literary theories and concepts.
  • Want to boost your independent thinking skills in preparation for higher education.
  • Enjoy constructing compelling arguments and debating abstract ideas.
  • Would like to build key employability skills, such as written communication, critical and analytical thinking.

Future opportunities

  • Studying English courses at university.
  • A wide range of rewarding career paths in fields such as communications and marketing, teaching, editorial roles, journalism and media, publishing and writing.

Course content

Section 1 Love through the ages: The Great Gatsby

  • Chapter 1: Setting the scene
  • Chapter 2: Tom and Myrtle
  • Chapter 3: Gatsby’s party
  • Chapter 4: Back stories
  • Chapter 5: The reunion
  • Chapter 6: Another party
  • Chapter 7: Turning point
  • Aftermath

Section 2 Love through the ages: pre-1900 poetry

  • Destructive love
  • Lust
  • Idealised love
  • Lost love 1
  • Lost love 2

Section 3 Love through the ages: Othello

  • Introduction to Shakespeare studies
  • Othello Act I
  • Othello Act II
  • Othello Act III Part 1
  • Othello Act III Part 2
  • Othello Act IV
  • Othello Act V

Section 4 Love through the ages: unseen poetry

  • Unrequited love
  • Abandonment
  • Mothers and daughters
  • Separation
  • Celebration
  • Anticipation
  • To a husband
  • Mourning

Section 5 The non-exam assessment (NEA)

  • Overview of the NEA
  • Shaping your NEA
  • Writing your NEA

Section 6 Modern times: Spies

  • Spies chapter 1
  • Spies chapter 2
  • Spies chapters 3 and 4
  • Spies chapters 5 and 6
  • Spies chapters 7 and 8
  • Spies chapters 9 to 11

Section 7 Modern times: All My Sons

  • All my Sons Act I
  • All my Sons Act II
  • All my Sons Act III

Section 8 Modern times: Skirrid Hill

  • Variants of love
  • Love and loss
  • Growing up
  • Love and the land
  • Love, war and politics
  • Shadows
  • Crossing continents

Section 9 Modern times: unseen prose

  • The Amateur Marriage
  • The Buddha of Suburbia
  • Cloud Atlas
  • Enduring love
  • Mr Phillips
  • The Remains of the Day
  • The Secret History
  • Stoner

Section 10 Revision

  • Preparing for the exam
  • The Shakespeare question
  • The unseen poetry question
  • Comparing texts
  • The set text question
  • The unseen prose question
  • Contextual linking

Study A level English Literature with us and benefit from:

  • Flexible learning
  • Support from a personal tutor by email, phone or Skype
  • Any time enrolment
  • Our exam booking service
  • Assignments with tutor feedback
  • Ongoing support from Student Support
  • Forums to discuss your course with other students


Choose when and where you access your course, using learn@nec our 24/7 learning platform.

This easy-to-use learning platform includes interactive checkpoints, quizzes and activities to help you evaluate your progress.

Your tutor

You’ll have access to support from a personal tutor. All NEC tutors are subject experts, with experience of supporting online learners.

Meet Kathryn who is just one of our first-class English tutors:

“My academic qualifications include a BA (2:1) honours degree in English Literature and a PGCE in English at Leeds University. I have worked as an AQA examiner for the past 14 years which has provided me with a comprehensive insight into the examination requirements for A level Literature. As well as tutoring, I enjoy spending time with my family, playing the violin and piano and walking and cycling in the Yorkshire Dales.”

What you need to know

Exam board

  • AQA 7712 A (option B)


  • Online learning with support from a personal tutor


  • Complete at your own pace
  • Approx. 250-300* hours plus time for completing assignments

*The specification suggests that 150 hours is needed. You’ll also need time to complete assignments and prepare yourself for exams and some courses like English literature involve a lot of reading. Everyone is different so it’s impossible to say with certainty how long a course will take you, but you should expect to spend longer than 150 hours. Taken across the length of time we recommend, this equates to approximately 4 hours per week. This will increase if you choose to take it over a shorter time frame or may be less if you are retaking a subject and have covered a lot of of the course content.


  • 11 assignments (one introductory) – these do not contribute towards your final grade


  • Set textbooks – included with your course: AQA AS and A level English Literature (A) Anthology: love poetry through the ages, AQA and Cambridge University Press, 2015


You will need copies of all the texts listed below. It will be helpful, but not essential, to use the editions listed:

  • F Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby, Penguin Modern Classics, 2000
  • William Shakespeare, Othello, Arden Shakespeare edition, ed. E A J Honigmann, 2001
  • Michael Frayn, Spies, Faber & Faber, 2011
  • Arthur Miller, All My Sons, Penguin Modern Classics, 2009
  • Owen Sheers, Skirrid Hill, Seren, 2005

You will also need:

  • Internet access
  • Computer operating system and browser to support learn@nec

What's included?

Our course fees are clear and transparent to help you plan for any additional costs.

Your course fee includes:

  • 24/7 access to learn@nec platform and resources
  • Expertly designed online course materials (including ebook versions of textbooks where specified) that you need to complete the course
  • Support from our Student Services team
  • Structured assignments carefully designed to prepare you for exams
  • Guidance from your tutor for up to 24 months from your date of enrolment
  • Extensive feedback to all assignments that will support your learning
  • NEA (coursework) marking and authentication
  • Marking for one examination paper (from a previous year)
  • Guaranteed exam place
  • NEC’s guide to study skills: How to Succeed as an Independent Learner
  • Spelling, punctuation and grammar guide
  • Time planner template to help you plan your study timetable
  • Information on how to apply for exams

Your course fee does not cover:

  • Any fees in relation to exam entries or assessments
  • Centre Assessment Grades (CAG) in the event of exam cancellation
  • Recommended textbooks for additional reading or set texts

If you need more support, you can purchase:

  • Online tutorials – if you need help with a specific topic you can arrange a 30 minute or 1 hour tutorial
  • Additional past paper marking – to help with your exam preparation
  • Revision tutorial –  to plan your revision and explore revision techniques
  • Help with your UCAS application service

For further information on additional/optional support you can purchase, please visit our additional services page.

Exams and assessment


Exams (two):

  • 40% of marks  (3 hours)
  • 40% of marks  (2 hours 30 minutes)

Non-exam assessment (NEA):

  • one coursework task (20% of marks)
  • part of the A level assessment for this specification
  • NEC has agreed with the awarding body that our own tutors are able to mark your NEA work*
  • you can then sit your written exams at one of our partnership exam centres

*You will need to complete at least four NEC assignments before the tutor can start looking at your NEA work. The deadlines for completion of these and other elements of the NEA will be available on learn@nec.

Additional support if you’re under 18

We know that our younger students often need an extra helping hand with their studies. In our experience learning online works best when either a parent or guardian are involved. This is why NEC has developed our unique Progress Tracker to help you to support your child.

NEC’s Progress Tracker will allow you to easily track your child’s progress across their subjects and gain insight to how well they are doing through access to their assignment grades and tutor feedback.  

Read more about how we work with young students who are studying at home or through a school.

Arrange a callback with a member of our Course Advice Team.

Would you like to talk to our Course Advice Team about the best route for you? Visit our Contact Us page, fill in the form and a member of the team will get back to you!