Updated: Jun 21
English Literature A-Level is one of the most difficult A-Level subjects (The General Certificate of Secondary Education Advanced Level is obtained after a 2 year course usually starting at the age of 16). Students taking this course have to write two exam papers in addition to the non-exam assessment that includes a comparative critical study of two texts of their choice. In order to achieve success, they need to draw on their own experience, work and think independently, be creative and dig deeper. Even the choice of a text for analysis requires thoughtful exploration — for example, looking into long/shortlists for literary and non-fiction prizes, such as the Booker, Costa, Forward, Orwell and Baillie Gifford prizes.
Although A-level English Language and Literature students cannot use websites like SparkNotes to ease their learning burden, there is a number of free online resources that make their life a little bit easier:
Seneca is a website and an app that are great for A-Levels preparation in general. It has such helpful resources as exam questions and topics, and uses bitesize chunks, GIFs, animations, and videos as well as AI technology to teach the material in an entertaining way and help students revise different topics quickly and effectively.
Andrew Bruff — English teacher, YouTuber, and author who creates helpful content covering various aspects of GCSE and A-Level English Language and Literature. His official website mrbruff.com and YouTube channel Mr Bruff are full of useful resources — from short videos to free worksheets and books. He gives amazing tips on how to approach literary texts and revise like a pro.
One of the oldest UK universities has a number of excellent podcast series that give you a taste of how English Language and Literature are taught at the university, including introductory lectures for undergraduates and more.
Harvard University's courses
These two free courses called Masterpieces of World Literature and Modern Masterpieces of World Literature give a great insight into the history of world literature, the fundamentals of literary analysis and the wider historical and cultural context in which these books were written.
Another great English Literature course offered by the Open University. An in-depth reading of Icarus’ story as told by the Roman poet Ovid can help improve literary and visual analysis skills and get inspiration for one's own coursework explorations.
Want to know more about what it's like to study as an international student in the UK and how to become one? LEO International Online School offers a diverse and intensive two–year A-Level programme designed to prepare students for entry to universities in the United Kingdom. Learn more about this programme and our other courses here, and don't hesitate to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.