students in a shakespeare workshop

Unsurprisingly, most English degrees will involve a large amount of reading in comparison to GCSE and A Level. In addition to studying texts, you will be reading journals and articles and other scholarly texts in order to support your own ideas.

Reading and researching a broad range of topics is a useful way to prepare for the course as well as watching film versions of plays and texts. Below we have listed some useful resources that can get you started:

Academic recommendations

Our academics from across the English department have listed their tips and recommendations for preparing for the range of disciplines we offer at Birmingham:

English Literature

English and Film

English Language and Linguistics

Ted Talks

These are a great way to learn a little bit more about a topic that interest you, in a short amount of time. Below are some ideas which cover quite broad topics:

Reddit /AskLiteraryStudies

A reddit community for discussions on all things relating to literature! This subreddit has discussions on pretty much anything you would want to ask during your degree- from how to effectively analyse characterisation to different translations on Beowolf.

Literary theory

You will be expected to engage with literary theory (feminism, Marxism etc.) to inform your reading of other texts. You will find that there are some texts that are particularly useful that come up time and time again; the ones below may be worth your while to get a head start!

    • The Death of the Author by Roland Barthes - An essay arguing against using the author’s experiences to create a definitive explanation of a text
    • Gender Trouble by Judith Butler - A collection of critical essays about traditional feminism
    • A Room of One’s Own by Virginia Wolf - an extended essay based on two lectures Wolf delivered
    • 22 Books to Read Before you Die
    • Can a Children’s Book Change the World?