A level English Language AND A level English Literature???

(53 Posts)
Wuldric Tue 17-Sep-13 22:20:51

DD is just working out her choices for A level and making applications now. She thinks she might like to do both Englishes. Back sometime in prehistory, I did an English degree but I have no experience of anyone doing A level English Language. It simply was not taught.

What would a university admissions tutor say to someone applying to read English if they did both Englishes at A level? Would it be viewed negatively? Because if so then she probably shouldn't do both. Do you have any insight on this?

<tears hair out>

AuntieBrenda Tue 17-Sep-13 22:23:36

It's a bit bonkers to be honest, wouldn't recommend it. There is a combined a level eng Lang/lit. What about this?

Wuldric Tue 17-Sep-13 22:27:27

The places she is applying to offer either English Literature alone or English Literature and English Language as separate A levels. Thanks for replying. Glad to note that she shouldn't do both.

GirlWithTheDirtyShirt Tue 17-Sep-13 22:29:34

I was categorically told not to do this 17 years ago, so I doubt it's changed much. I chose language as that's what I was interested in. I later got accepted at Liverpool and Newcastle to study English Lit so I think they must be very similar in some content.

beachyhead Tue 17-Sep-13 22:29:57

Typically, from what I understand, English Lit is the traditional and more highly sought A level. She should probably aim for that one, then add on others to complement it.

I can't imagine doing both would help a great deal.

Wuldric Tue 17-Sep-13 22:34:52

Thanks very much all! So the consensus is to avoid doing both. Gotcha.

soda1234 Tue 17-Sep-13 22:47:46

Neither of the schools my dc's attend (independent) offer English Lang as an A level option, just saying!

Wuldric Tue 17-Sep-13 22:49:23

That's interesting. DD is applying only to selective independent schools for 6th form. One of them offers both, the other two offer only Eng Lit.

Thewhingingdefective Tue 17-Sep-13 23:04:42

I began Eng Lang and Eng Lit A levels back in the 90s and nobody advised against it, but after three weeks studying prefixes and suffixes I was bored out of my tiny mind with Eng Lang, so dropped it.

BackforGood Tue 17-Sep-13 23:13:44

ds was made to do did Eng Lang AS in Yr11, and English went from being one of his favourite subjects, to hating it. Fortunately, he was still able to do English Literature when he started 6th form, and it's restored his faith.
If she has other subjects she enjoys, I'd suggest doing Eng Lit and other subjects.

longingforsomesleep Wed 18-Sep-13 05:32:05

Our (selective) sixth form offers A levels in English Language and English Literature, but it's not possible to select both. I don't know if this is because of timetabling or because of overlap between the subjects.

I too did an English degree Wuldric, but Eng Lang wasn't an A level option offered in my day either (I'm not sure it was on offer at university either!) but the course does look very interesting!

Not sure about aiming for Eng Lit because it is more traditional and perhaps more respected. When DS was choosing A level options last year the Head of English said that Eng Lit was the more traditional subject, but an A in Eng Lang was probably more respected than a B in Eng Lit so students should choose according to their strengths.

lainiekazan Wed 18-Sep-13 09:33:51

Ds is struggling to choose a 4th A Level which they take to AS. Would Eng Lang be a good fourth choice given that Eng Lit is one of his main ones? And that they drop it after a year?

BlackMogul Wed 18-Sep-13 11:12:08

I think the question is,does having Eng lang Language A level help with the course she may want to follow in the future. If it does, and is specified, then do it. If not I would just do the literature. As far as I am aware, English Literature is the sought after one. This probably means you have a decent grasp of English anyway. Do the two if there is really nothing else DD can do.

Wuldric Wed 18-Sep-13 11:34:49

Contacted the school who were adamant that she would not be in any way disadvantaged by doing both ... More food for thought.

RustyBear Wed 18-Sep-13 11:49:38

DS did a combined Lit and Lang A level, one of his friends on that course went on to do a Creative Writing degree at UEA. DD was interested in doing the same, but her school didn't offer the combined course, so she went to a sixth form college which allowed her to do both Lit and Lang - she also did History and Psychology, as well as the required General studies - the college required all students to do 4 courses + gen. Studies in the second year, so she took all of them to A2. She enjoyed the course, but I'm not sure whether she would have carried on with it if she'd only been doing 3 A2s.

What I found interesting was that at parents' evening, the History and Psychology tutors praised DD's excellent use of language in her writing, while the English tutors emphasised how good she was at 'jumping through the necessary hoops' to get good marks...

In the event, she found she preferred Psychology and ended up doing that at Exeter.

snickersnacker Wed 18-Sep-13 12:03:14

I'd advise against doing both. Eng Lit is more sought-after for a range of degree courses and IMO is much more enjoyable.

If she wants to read English then she'll be able to do a Lang and Lit degree with only Lit A Level.

Wuldric Wed 18-Sep-13 12:32:32

Thanks all - input truly appreciated smile

I am coming around to the school of thought that she could do both at A/S level (pesky things that never existed in my day) and then she could drop one if appropriate for A2.

It does put more pressure on her 3rd and 4th choices - which are currently History and Government and Politics, but at least it keeps all options open.

Does that sound like a plan?

minsmum Wed 18-Sep-13 18:16:07

My DD started studying both of these at AS but 6 weeks in decided she hated English Language and switched to Geography. She is off to study English and American Literature at the weekend at UEA. She was glad she made the swap as she thinks the geography gave her more of a choice when looking at which courses to apply for.

jammiedonut Thu 19-Sep-13 09:46:41

I'm going to go against the others and say it may be useful to do both, dependent on what she sees herself doing in the future. I'm an English lit graduate training to become a ks3&4 teacher and am now doing eng Lang a level. Probably would've been easier to have done it earlier! If it has to be one or the other, certainly choose eng lit as is far more enjoyable, especially if she's opting for history and politics too. I chose history, politics, eng lit, film studies and general studies. You have no idea how nice it is to just read a book or watch a film as part of your studies!

leylandii Thu 19-Sep-13 13:37:14

DD did English Lit/Lang with AQA so a bit of both in one A level.

LaQueenForADay Thu 19-Sep-13 15:40:44

Back in the Dark Ages I did A level English Lit, and went on to study English Lit at university.

A Level English Lang just wasn't available at my sixth form (which was considered probably best in the area).

ExcuseTypos Thu 19-Sep-13 16:11:33

My dd did both Eng Lang and Lit A level. She started uni at the weekend, studying Eng Lit at a good uni, so it hasn't held her back at all.

my DD did the combined version, & loved the Lang part so much she went on to do a Linguistics degree (with no Lit component at all, which is unusual) because of it

now teaches English up to GCSE but was lucky, without any post-A-Level Lit, to get on to the PGCE course (I can't remember how she finagled it now)

LaQueenForADay Thu 19-Sep-13 17:13:12

Actually I wish I had been able to do an English Lang A level, or at least a combined one with English Lit.

I didn't actually study English Language until I took some linguistics courses at university, and really loved them all smile

englishteacher78 Thu 19-Sep-13 19:36:59

I did this back in 1997. I dropped biology after a term and a half and it was English Language or Business Studies. So, my A Levels were English Language, English Literature, History (and General Studies). I got offers from St Andrews and Reading.
I now teach at one of the best schools in the country.
The only thing I would never recommend is the joint A Level. It is neither one thing nor the other. AQA have just started a Creative Writing A Level, might that be a possibility - we are offering it as extra curricular choice.

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