Higher English

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This qualification consists of a coursework portfolio, a talk component and a final examination.

The exam in May covers everything you've done in the course, so it shows that you've understood what you've learned while working towards your qualification and can put it in context. The exam also helps to decide your overall grade.


  • English: National 5 (A/B), Intermediate 2 (Credit), Standard Grade (1/2)

    This course is at SCQF Level 6 therefore applicants must have English/Communication at a minimum SCQF Level 5. Those with alternative relevant experience and learning may be considered following discussion with the Course Leader.

    Due to the high number of applications received, not all applicants who meet the minimum requirements can be selected for interview. Therefore, a well-written personal statement will be supportive in this process.


Prelim Examination: There is a prelim examination in March.

External Examination: The examination is in May. This is set by SQA and you sit it at the same time as all students in Scotland.

Skills, knowledge and understanding for the course

The following provides a broad overview of the subject skills, knowledge and understanding developed in the course:

  • development of key communication and literacy skills in reading, writing, talking and listening
  • understanding, analysis and evaluation of detailed and complex texts in the contexts of literature, language and media, including Scottish literature
  • production of detailed and complex texts in a range of contexts
  • knowledge and understanding of language

For the purposes of the course, the skills of reading, writing, talking and listening are further defined as: 


  • engaging with, considering, and selecting the main ideas of a text
  • identifying and selecting detailed and complex information from a text
  • analysing and evaluating a writer’s choice and use of language
  • evaluating the overall effects and impact of a text


  • communicating detailed and complex ideas
  • communicating detailed and complex information
  • exploring, reflecting on, and communicating personal experience
  • writing creatively and imaginatively in a literary form (prose fiction, poetry, drama, etc)


  • discussing and communicating detailed and complex ideas and/or personal experience
  • communicating detailed and complex information
  • using aspects of non-verbal communication
  • demonstrating listening by responding to detailed and complex spoken language