Literary Connections: making the right connections with literature
AQA A Level English Literature Specification A: 2009 onwards (2740)

Second year: the A2 Course

The second year of the new AQA course offers teachers and students a great deal of freedom. With that, of course, comes responsibility to ensure that the requirements are being met. Here's an outline, but always check with the AQA Specification and keep in touch with your moderator too.

Key requirements of the A2 course
  • The examination will be based on unseen passages on the theme Love Through the Ages.
  • The coursework unit is a sustained comparative essay on three texts; one must be by Shakespeare; the other two can be any suitable texts. Possible approaches include:
    • Three texts linked by the theme of 'Love Through the Ages', to tie in with the examination unit
    • Texts linked in other ways to provide alternative themes
    • A mix of Shakespeare and later texts, fiction and poetry, etc - there is considerable freedom to develop interesting courses of reading and study
    • Elizabethan/Jacobean plays by Shakespeare and other dramatists, linked with another text if only two plays are chosen.
Example tasks can be found in the Specification and in AQA support materials.
AQA A2 English Literature: Students' Book
You are strongly recommended to look at the specially written students' book for this course by Stella Canwell and Jane Ogborn which is now available from Amazon or from Nelson Thornes; this will be supplemented by interactive units from the English and ICT team.

Writing about love
  • The Truth about Love: a collection of writing on love through the ages, edited by Stephen Siddall and Mary Ward in the Cambridge Collections series is strongly recommended by a senior examiner for the A2 examination. 'It provides plenty of extracts without excessive commentary.'
  • The Literature of Love by Mary Ward in the Cambridge Contexts in Literature series provides a useful overview with many brief extracts. Necessarily succinct, it needs to be supplemented by wider reading - and it offers plenty of guidance on where to go.