The written work is marked by English tutors. In the case of pre-qualification applicants, this should ideally be a marked essay produced in the normal course of school or college work, and should not have been rewritten after marking. For those applying post-qualification, or as mature students, it may well be preferable (but is not necessary) to produce a new piece of work - you may want to give a clearer reflection of your current abilities - and in these circumstances we understand that it may not be possible to have it marked. In any case, there is space on the form for you to describe the circumstances in which the work was produced.
Preferably it should be an analytical discussion of a topic or topics in the field of English literature; an English language topic is permissible, but candidates should carefully consider the criteria below, and submit the work which they believe can best demonstrate these qualities. There are no fixed parameters here: send us the work which shows you at your best. Ideally it would not be a short timed essay (because you give yourself less scope to show what you can do), or a brief critical commentary on short passages of text (for the same reason). Do not submit a piece of creative writing. The essay should not exceed 2,000 words, but candidates are welcome to submit an excerpt from a longer piece if they believe it to represent their best work (you may add a note to explain the context of the excerpt). Tutors will take into account the circumstances under which the work was written (for example, the time allowed for the exercise, the level of the exercise, and the resources made available to candidates) and will assess it using the following criteria:
- Attention to the literary aspects of texts
- Sensitivity to the creative use of language
- Evidence of careful and critical reading
- An analytical approach
- Coherence of argument and articulacy of expression
- Precision, in the handling of concepts and in the evidence presented to support points
- Relevance to the question
- Independence of thought
More information on how to submit written work and specific requirements can be found here.
Joint Schools applicants can find additional information on written work and selection criteria here. History and English applicants are required to submit two pieces of written work.