Although you will have studied this subject at GCSE at school, it comes as a surprise to many to find just how different the A Level is from GCSE. The course is all about analysing and understanding the written and spoken language of others and ourselves. It focuses on the power of words and the versatility of the speakers and writers who use them for different effects. You will develop your knowledge and increase your understanding of a language used the world over, as well as increasing your own skills as a writer.
All students studying A Levels must have at least five GCSEs at grade A* – C (grade 9 – 5) in academic subjects, including English Language at grade C (grade 5). Two of these must be B grades (grade 6). Specifically for English Language, you will need GCSE English Language at grade B (grade 6) or above.
WHAT DOES THE COURSE INVOLVE?
English Language is a single qualification that can be studied in either your first or second year as an AS qualification, or over two years as a full A Level.
At AS Level, you will develop your understanding of the key constituents of language and their contribution to meaning in spoken and written English. You will study how language is used through a range of texts from different periods including spoken language in the media. You will be expected to produce your own creative, original writing in a fictional, literary mode and write a commentary analysing how you have produced it.
At A Level, you will continue to build on the skills acquired at AS with further study of phonetics and phonology, lexis, morphology, grammar and discourse. Topics for study include language acquisition, language and power, language and gender and the study of language change over time. There is another opportunity for production of your own writing with the focus on extended functional writing and analysis.
HOW WILL I BE ASSESSED?
AS and A Level English subjects are assessed through examination, with an internally assessed language research project for A Level.
WHERE CAN I GO NEXT?
Many English Language A Level students go on to study the subject at university; some choose to follow degrees in Journalism, Creative Writing and Media related courses. A Level English is a very versatile subject to study and if you are considering going into employment after College, this qualification will demonstrate your ability to communicate at a high level of competency. The study of English is useful for a wide range of careers including the legal profession, teaching, the media, the forces and marketing.