A Level English Literature

Key Information

Examination Board Cambridge International Examinations
Syllabus Code 9695
Entry Requirements IGCSE Grades B in Literature and First Language English


The syllabus aims to develop:

  • appreciation of and informed personal response to literature in English in a range of texts in different forms, and from different periods and cultures
  • the interdependent skills of reading, analysis and communication
  • effective and appropriate communication
  • wider reading and an understanding of how it may contribute to personal development.

Course Content

Year 12 (AS)

Students will take Paper 3 and Paper 4 as outlined below.

Paper 3 is based on Poetry and Prose.

The poetry element involves the study of a selection of Elizabeth Jenning’s or Ted Hughes’poetry.

For the prose element, students will study House of Mirth by Edith Wharton.

Paper 4 is based on Drama and includes the study of Antony and Cleopatra by William Shakespeare and Absurd Person Singular by Alan Ayckborn.

Year 13 (A2):

Students will take Paper 5 and Paper 7.

Paper 5 is based on a Shakespeare text and another pre-20th century text.

Paper 7 is based on previously unseen literature.

All examinations for English Literature at AS and A Level are closed-book examinations, which means that no books are allowed in the exam room and therefore students have to commit quotations to memory.


Year 12  

Poetry and Prose Paper 3 – 2 hour paper

Candidates answer two questions: one question from Section A Poetry and one question from Section B Prose.

Drama  Paper 4 – 2 hour paper

Candidates answer two questions on two plays.


Year 13  

Shakespeare and Other Pre-20th Century Texts Paper 5 – 2 hour paper

This paper contains two sections: Section A: Shakespeare; Section B: other pre-20th Century Texts.

Candidates answer two questions: one question from Section A and one question from Section B.  At least one of the questions candidates answer must be a (b) passage-based question, chosen from either section.

Critical Appreciation Paper 7 – 2 hours

Candidates answer two questions on different, previously unseen texts out of a choice of three.

Careers and Progression

A Level English Literature is useful for a range of careers from Law to Politics

For more information, contact Ms Donlon