English Language A-level is now well-established as a popular and important subject. Although very different from GCSE English Language, it offers the opportunity to develop both creative and analytical skills. It has both practical application and relevance to the rapidly changing world in which we live. What you learn on this course will have particular affinity with other subjects such as Psychology, Modern Foreign Languages and History, whilst the analytical nature of linguistic study will teach valuable research skills.
Ideally, you should have achieved a very good grade in GCSE English and will love reading, writing and discussion, appreciating the many uses of our constantly changing language and its expressive power. You should possess good writing skills and a mind open to new ideas. Independent investigation and wide reading will be an important part of the course.
English Language is a broad subject for study and leads naturally to the study of English Language or Linguistics at degree level. In combination with other subjects, it could be relevant to the study of Psychology or Anthropology. Journalism, Advertising, Speech Therapy and Teaching are also options for the future.
The mastery of language has been crucial to the intellectual and social development of all of us. It is a fascinating and rewarding area of study.
There are many practical reasons to study English Literature at A-level: it promotes critical awareness, develops communication skills and the disciplines of logical argument and analysis. What you learn will support your study of other disciplines, enhancing learning of Modern Foreign Languages, History, Religious Studies and the Classics. Less obviously, Literature is now being seen as a valuable adjunct to careers like Medicine, and is now even being included in some university medical courses.
Ideally, you should have achieved very good grades in GCSE English Language and English Literature. You will have a love of reading, enjoying discussion, recognising and adapting to different linguistic registers and appreciating their subtleties. You should possess good writing skills and be willing to work hard and research critical and contextual material, both inside and outside the classroom.
English Literature as a ‘pure’ subject or in combination is, of course, an attractive option. A good A-level or degree in English Literature is much respected academically. Professions such as Law, Advertising, Journalism, Teaching, Publishing, TV and other media work are obvious ‘ways on’. The business world, the area of Human Resources, Medical Administration and Office Management also value this qualification.
Indeed, whatever life holds in store, the kind of human and intellectual development enabled by an understanding and enjoyment of great literature will be an asset.