spotlight on… english literature

We take a closer look at A-Level English Literature which is available for you to study here at Cowley Sixth Form.

We asked one of our current students to give us a bit of insight into the course, what’s involved and what it’s like studying it here at Cowley Sixth Form College.


When did you first consider studying English Literature at Sixth Form?

Since Year 10, I had always looked forward to my English lessons, so Literature was definitely a contender for my options at Sixth Form.

What was it that captured your interest in the subject?

Studying literature allows you to think for yourself and see many other people’s viewpoints, so there isn’t just one correct answer.

What has surprised you most about the subject?

I am surprised by how the lessons are so enjoyable as all of the English teachers are wonderful and understanding. They are always there for when you need help or a push in the right direction. I am not as anxious about work being “incorrect” as I know the teachers are willing to help and will never be judgemental.

Some students worry that studying literature at A Level would impact on their love of reading. Is that your experience?

Personally, I have read more than ever since studying this course. Reading texts from different time periods definitely makes reading more enjoyable. The set texts are varied and interesting so, if anything, I think it would make you enjoy reading more.

If you are struggling with a question/topic what support is available?

Emailing the teacher with any concerns is an amazing benefit at Sixth Form. They are usually available for a non-judgemental talk either during or after the lesson. I would recommend letting them know if you have any concerns as it is beneficial to you.

What do you enjoy most about the lessons?

I really enjoy class discussions. I used to be intimidated to share my own thoughts with a class, but now I look forward to sharing my interpretations of texts and listening to what other class members think too.

What have you found the most challenging? 

Analysing unseen texts has been difficult for me. I believe it is simply because it is a new text so I am not as certain about my answers. However, the work we do surrounding that topic is very detailed and helpful. It doesn’t put me off Literature at all as I know it helps my understanding and I can apply my skills to unknown texts.

What advice would you give someone thinking of taking the subject at Cowley Sixth Form College?

I would say make sure you are committed to the subject, as if you are not interested in reading or interpretation, it may bit a little difficult for you. It is definitely a subject you need a personal connection to as it makes everything so much more interesting and enjoyable.

If you had to pick your subjects again, would you still pick English Literature? If yes, why? If no, why not? 

I believe I would pick Literature again, yes. It goes a lot further than it did at GCSE and it’s very fitting with my personality. It is the perfect course for me.


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