English Language

Specification AQA B

Why study English Language?

Our A level English Language specification offers opportunities for students to develop their subject expertise by exploring key language concepts and engaging with a range of texts and discourses. The specification explores the study of English language both as a medium of communication and as a topic in its own right, with an emphasis on the ability of students to pursue lines of enquiry, analyse texts produced by others and debate different views.

What will I study?

During the AS course the following topics will be studied:

  • Language and the individual – this unit will introduce students to language study, exploring textual variety as well as methods of analysis to explore concepts such as audience, purpose, mode, genre and representation.
  • Language varieties – this unit will cover the key concepts of audience, purpose, genre and mode and will explore language in its wider social and geographical contexts. Students will study varieties of English within the British Isles. This part of the subject content also requires students to study social attitudes to, and debates about, language diversity.

In the full A Level course, topics will be researched in more detail with focal areas of language diversity and change over time and child language acquisition. There will also be the chance to work on an individual language investigation on a topic of their choice and create a piece of original writing for the purpose of persuasion, storytelling or giving information.

What is assessed?

For the AS qualification you will study for two exams:

Paper 1 (Language and the Individual): three questions, two on unseen texts linked by topic or theme, one question comparing the two texts.

Paper 2 (Language varieties): two sections, one discursive essay on language diversity, with a choice of two questions and a directed writing task on attitudes to language.

For the A Level qualification you will study for two more exams and one non-exam assessment:

Paper 1 (Language, the individual and society): two sections.

  • Section A: Textual variations and representations – two questions on unseen texts (one contemporary and one older) and one question comparing the two texts.
  • Section B: Children’s language development – a discursive essay on children’s language development.

Paper 2 (Language diversity and change): two sections.

  • Section A: Diversity and change – choice of two evaluative essays on either language diversity or language change.
  • Section B: Language discourses – two texts linked to diversity/change topic, one analysis question and one directed writing task linked to the same topic.

Non-exam assessment – a language investigation and piece of original writing totalling 3500 words.

Assessment pattern

AS Level:

Paper 1 & Paper 2: 2 exams of 1 hour 30 minutes each = 100% of AS Level

A Level:

Paper 1 & Paper 2: 2 exams of 2 hours 30 minutes each = 80% of A Level Language investigation & creative writing = 20% of A Level.

Entry requirements

Students can be accepted onto the course if they have passed GCSE at grade C or higher in English Language; grade B or above is a good indicator of their aptitude for study at this level.

Course expenses

There are no set texts for this course, although students will be encouraged to buy a course textbook and reference materials like language encyclopaedias. These will cost between £15 and £20 each.




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