April 1, 2019, by Sunita Tailor

English at A Level vs English at Degree Level

This blog was written by first year English student, Harriet Mills.

Having nearly completed my second term at University (scary) I have looked back at some of the differences to studying English at A Level vs Degree level.

Firstly, I did 2 books for my A Levels, which seems almost too easy compared to the new book and play we get each week here. At first I thought no way can I keep up with this, impossible. However, what I soon realised is that yes it is pretty impossible to read a book, study and analyse all its meaning every single week, so what you have to do is be selective. That doesn’t mean do nothing until you find the one book you like that week. Cover them all but understand that you will prefer some books/weeks to others. Take it as a positive that you get so much choice compared to you’re A Levels where if you didn’t like the book you were studying all year then tough luck.

Secondly, as harsh as it sounds I don’t think I could give you the names of every single person I’ve spoken to or seen in my lecture halls or in the School of English. Where as for A Level, you had 1 maybe 2 teachers; here it’s someone different every week. Learning becomes much more independent and liberal allowing you to work out what is best for you in your own way.

A big change is lectures. Going from classes of 20 or less to 200 is quite a shock, but in a good way. There’s someone new to talk to every time. Also, it allows you to move at your own pace, so when the seminar comes around more like an A Level sized class you’ve had a bit of information before hand and you can be prepared to discuss it in greater detail.

Each class has a different room. Going from auditoriums to an open stage space or a classic cosy classroom. Things don’t seem as repetitive or monotonous and you get to wander around the pretty campus while you do it.

It’s a change, which at first seems like a lot, but like everyone says, you get used to it, and soon A Levels will seem like a trap compared to the freedom you get at University.

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