GCSEEnglish Literature

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  • Payment Plan : Deposit £65 | £36.66/month
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  • Guided Learning Hours : 120 - 140
  • Support Period : Through to Summer 2019 results

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Studying English Literature broadens your horizons both intellectually and career-wise, as it helps you to develop valuable analytical and expressive skills that are highly prized by any employer.

In the GCSE English Literature online course you'll examine some of the great masterworks of English literature and analyse the styles and techniques of their authors. You'll learn how the great writers inform, connect and persuade, and develop your own techniques to do the same.

You'll study a novel by George Eliot and two plays, one by Shakespeare, one by J.B. Priestley. You'll examine how the styles vary by era and explore their themes, plots and characterisation. You'll also look at poetry from a range of periods in order to compare the variety in their form and structure.

A skillful grasp of the nuances of English is invaluable in professional, personal and academic life, and there's no better way to learn than by studying some of the most respected writers of all time.

This course will prepare you for the Edexcel GCSE English Literature (1ET0 specification) exams. You'll study a mix of prose, drama and poetry.

Components covered:

  1. Shakespeare and Post-1914 Literature
  2. 19th Century Novel and Poetry since 1789

Component 1: Shakespeare and Post-1914 Literature

Section A: "The Merchant of Venice" by Shakespeare
You'll answer a two part question.

Part a) requires you to analyse a 30-line extract and discuss how language, form and structure can create meanings and effects.

Part b) requires you to discuss how a theme from the extract is explored elsewhere in the play.

Your focus will be on maintaining a critical style and demonstrating an understanding of the relationship between the text and the context in which it was written.

Section B: Post-1914 Literature - "An Inspector Calls" by J B Priestley

You'll answer one essay question from a choice of two.

Questions will focus on one or more of the following areas: plot, setting(s), character(s) and theme(s). You'll be required to explore the question in relation to the context of the text. You'll also get marks for accurate vocabulary, spelling, punctuation and grammar.

Component 2: 19th-Century Novel and Poetry since 1789

Section A: 19th-Century Novel - "Silas Marner" by George Eliot

You'll answer a two-part question.

Part 1) is focused on a close language analysis of an extract of approximately 400 words.

Part 2) questions may focus on different aspects of the text, requiring exploration of one or more of the following areas: plot, setting(s), character(s), theme(s).

Section B: Poetry since 1789

Using the Pearson Edexcel Level 1/Level 2 GCSE (9–1) Poetry Anthology, you'll compare language, structure, form and contextual features of various poems from the anthology. You'll study all 15 poems from the ‘Conflict’ Collection.

The section is split into two parts.

Part 1) You'll answer one question on one named poem from the poetry anthology collection, reproduced on the question paper, and one other poem of your choice from the anthology. You'll compare the two poems. Questions will focus on the language, form and structure of the poem (AO2) and the contexts in which the poems were written.

Part 2) You'll answer one question comparing two unseen contemporary poems that are linked  by a theme. You'll be required to compare the poets’ portrayals of the theme through their use of language, form and structure.

The GCSE English Literature course is perfect if you're looking to fill gaps in your school education or prepare for college or university. 

It's the essential foundation if you're thinking about studying English Literature at A Level or at university. Many other college and university courses require an English GCSE. You should check with the institution you're interested in to find out if this is the case.

Studying English Literature will also demonstrate that you have excellent communication and analytical skills, valuable traits in the workplace.

You don't need any previous experience or qualifications to enrol on our GCSE English Literature course. That's because we believe in making learning - and a rewarding future - as accessible as possible. 

If you have any disabilities which you believe may impact your studies or assessments, please inform your Course Advisor before enrolment so that we can advise you on whether reasonable adjustments can be made to accommodate your needs.

A GCSE in English Literature will give you vital skills that can lead onto A Level and further studies in English Literature, and could lead to a career in one of its associated fields.

It's particularly useful to those interested in marketing, media, writing and journalism, law, business, teaching, performing arts, academia, politics, and linguistics.

In the workplace, you'll find your GCSE English Literature will demonstrate to employers that you have the ability to commit to learning, and have acquired excellent reasoning and analytical skills - essential in practically every walk of life.

If you're aiming to attend university, you'll likely continue your study with A Levels. If you have a specific course in mind, you should contact the institution directly to find out their entry requirements.

You could also do an apprenticeship, or take a vocational course related to a specific job or sector such as an NVQ or BTEC.


We believe in making learning accessible and affordable for all, so you'll have the option to pay for your course through an interest-free payment plan. You'll be able to get started right away with a small deposit and pay the rest by monthly direct debit. Our plans are flexible, so you can pay your balance off sooner if you choose.

If your company will fund your course, we can help you arrange this.

Speak to our course advisors for more information on our payment plans.

Extensive Resources

Once you enrol, you’ll have access to our Student Community, which will allow you to see your course materials, contact your tutor, submit your assignments and connect with your fellow students. 

Your course materials have been specially designed for online learning by experts in the field. You'll work through step-by-step units so you can easily keep track of your progress.

You'll have the opportunity to join a live induction webinar when you start your course. It's designed to help you navigate your way around the student community, to offer you help and support, and most importantly to give you a warm and friendly welcome to ICS Learn. We usually hold one a week, and you can attend any one that suits you.

You’ll have access to a huge range of resources that will aid your studies, including:

  1. Interactive Resources
  2. Progress Checks
  3. Peer Discussions
  4. Personal Journal
  5. Awarding Body Resources

Unlimited Support

You’ll be assigned an expert academic tutor who'll be with you from enrolment to graduation. Their support is unlimited and you can contact them by phone or via the Student Community. They’ll answer any questions you have about coursework, study materials, and assessments, and help you work through any part of the course you’re stuck with.

They’ll also give you test papers and mock exams to ensure you’re ready to pass your exams. All your papers will be given constructive feedback so you know exactly what your strengths are and what you can improve.

Our dedicated student support team will be on hand to assist you with administrative tasks, using the Student Community, and any other non-academic queries you may have.

You'll have to source your own set texts for this course. They are:

  1. The Merchant of Venice, William Shakespeare
  2. An Inspector Calls, J.B. Priestley
  3. Silas Marner, George Eliot

There are two final assessments:

  1. Paper 1: Shakespeare and Post-1914 Literature
  2. Paper 2: 19th-century Novel and Poetry since 1789

Your qualification will be graded and certified on a nine-grade scale from 9 to 1, where 9 is the highest, using the total mark across both papers.

These final assessments are nationally set by Edexcel. The exam diets are in May/June every year.

For further information on the GCSE Specification changes, please see the Edexcel GCSE (9-1) English Literature information here.

Important Exam Information

Please note that you're responsible for making your own exam arrangements. We'll remind you when it's time to do this, and you'll arrange to sit your exams as a private candidate at a local school or college. The school or college will charge a fee for this.

Find out more about arranging your exams here.

You'll have to purchase the following books for this course:

  1. The Merchant of Venice, William Shakespeare
  2. An Inspector Calls, J.B. Priestley
  3. Silas Marner, George Eliot

Many can be found cheaply second-hand, or for free online.

Exam fees aren't included in your course fees, as they'll be paid directly to the exam centre. The cost will vary depending on the centre you choose, with private schools and colleges being more expensive than state schools. 

Find out more about arranging your exams here, or speak to one of our course advisors. We're happy to help!