Which is harder? History or English lit A level?

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I don't know whether to take one of them or both! But if I take both I'm worried I won't be able to cope with so many essays!

Posted: 12-05-12 22:51 by furuba fan

Wot do ya want to do for a career? :) 

Posted: 12-05-12 22:55 by Leah

I think history will be harder 

Posted: 12-05-12 23:12 by LP-FTW

depends what you find easier, i think it would be history though like having to remember dates and stuff, english is more about interpretation 

Posted: 13-05-12 12:30 by adelle

@leah, I'm not sure yet! Which is why I'm finding it so difficult to choose A levels!

Posted: 13-05-12 18:29 by furuba fan

Ah, i see :)

Posted: 13-05-12 18:36 by Leah

Hi! I take both of these subjects at a-level.

In my opinion, I find English Lit harder because you have to make a lot more in depth and analytical points (about 7 or 8) when writing about a text in the exam, as well as trying to hit the assessment objectives such as making alternative interpretations and referring to the social context of the text- which I find hard to do in a limited amount of time. 

History is also hard because there is a lot to learn in terms of key figures and dates but there's a technique to answering the questions which requires linking points, evaluating it's advantages and disadvantages as well as evaluating the most important reason which is kinda similar to GCSE level (I think). 

Posted: 13-05-12 20:37 by Z95

I take both too! Personally I find history MUCH harder. There are so many specific things to remember. With English, once you've learnt how to pick a text to pieces, you can do it with any!

Posted: 14-05-12 17:16 by Emily

Thanks for replying! :)

I personally love reading but I don't enjoy analysing every single detail in the novel as much :/ And for history, well, I love learning about it but I find it so hard to remember all the dates and can't quite get the hang of writing about sources... I have a feeling this is going to be impossible to choose from :(

I really admire zara and emily though for taking two such challenging subjects! Let's hope I can cope if I ever do choose these two...

Posted: 15-05-12 15:55 by furuba fan

Aww! Thanks! :)

Good luck in your decision! :)

Posted: 15-05-12 15:58 by Z95

Thank you :) Good luck with whatever you choose- personally I love analysing texts. I get really excited when I think of things no one else has :)

Posted: 15-05-12 16:03 by Emily

Hi, I also take both English Literature and History at A level;

History is much harder in my opinion, but I enjoy them both.

The coursework in English Literature was relatively easy as long as you apply yourself, the actual English exam is difficult as the examiners tend to be pedantic about small things.

I also do French and I find this harder than both English and History- I think this is because English and History support eachother, the skills needed for essay writing, for example, are much the same in both. Also universities value both subjects immensely which is always a plus point. 

Hope this has helped, choose both!

Posted: 15-05-12 16:07 by Elizabeth

aaah i'm trying to decide exactly the same thing! I only want to take one of them for AS though as I want to do medicine, so what do you think would be better as a fourth with maths, bio and chem? ***

Posted: 15-05-12 17:17 by Terrie


If you want to do it for enjoyment, do English as it's such a good feeling when you know loads about a poem and work things out that others haven't thought of. 

Posted: 15-05-12 17:50 by Elizabeth

Thanks Amy! 

I do really like English so I probably will take it :) also this is slightly off topic, but I have my english GCSE next week and when writing a poetry comparative essay between two poems, how would you structure it? My teacher recommends writing about the first and then talking about the second but constantly comparing it to the other one when doing so. I like this method but all the websites are recommending the comparative approach when you compare both the whole way through. What would you recommend? **

Posted: 15-05-12 21:20 by Terrie

I do both, initially history seems harder, however once you get into it, it is fine. Literature on the other hand is difficult and many of my friends who got A's and A*'s are not coping well with the demands of the course. Don't fall under impression that Art's subjects are easy, they take more time that Sciences and in my opinion are generally harder, expecially History and Literature! They're probably the most academically challenging of all the Arts.

Posted: 15-05-12 21:25 by Saira


With regards to the English exam...

I personally like to make a point about one poem and then make a comparative point regarding the other one going into depth about the point using the poems to compare and contrast.

I'm sure the method your teacher told you is fine too but personally I wouldn't like that way. My advice would be to do what you've practiced. You could always do a past exam and give the constant comparison and see if you like it, if not don't do it. You'll be marked on your ability, your interpretation and your knowledge of subject vocab etc not on the structure. As long as you make your argument clear at the beginning and at the end and make it clear in throughout then you'll be fine. Hope all goes well, anything else you want to know, ask me :) x

Posted: 15-05-12 21:45 by Elizabeth

Thank you saira, that is what I find with history currently at GCSE, is A level much harder? Oh and what topics do you learn?
And thank you so much amy, I've practiced some essays with the comparative approach and some of them I like and some I don't like, I think I'll see on the day but I was just worried whether using one stucture would improve/ lower my mark but thank you for reassuring that for me :) Good luck on as/alevels if you have them coming up ** 

Posted: 15-05-12 22:05 by Terrie

Unless you submerse yourself in the subject both will be equally hard. There is a lot of context in both subjects and its not just content like the sciences. If you're ready to dedicate yourself; why not pick both ;D

Posted: 16-05-12 16:20 by Daryl Ladd

No problem! But, don't listen to me! If you enjoy a subject, you should pick it! The final grade is only a bonus, what you get out of the course in terms of enjoyment is more important!

I do modern political and economic history, but we do unusual topics: The Unification of Italy and The Unification of Germany, i think most colleges do Stalin and Russia for their Unit 1 though.

 And, we also study the Indian part of the British Empire for our Unit 2. It's really interesting, and the information sticks quite well, it's more about getting the essay practice in!

But, i prefer literature. Admittedly, it's much harder than history, but i like how you're able to forge your own opinion of texts.

At my college we do WJEC Literature which is fairly interesting! I studied The Great Gatsby and The Picture of Dorian Gray for my first piece of coursework and then emulated the written style of Ian McEwan for my second and third pieces. For our exam we do a play by David Mamet and study around 60 Larkin and Abse poems! Hard, yet very interesting! 

I'd pick both!! :) 

Posted: 17-05-12 23:51 by Saira