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    If you haven't done GCSE French/Russian, it will be very difficult. You may be able to manage if you're very enthusiastic and devoted, but I'm afraid that's unlikely.

    Reaching A-level fluency in one year is extremely ambitious, a GCSE French course lasts 2 years!
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    (Original post by ChesterTree)
    Thanks for the help. There's another thread in the languages forum regarding GCSE French and how easy it is; nearly everyone is saying how easy GCCE French is, and some are saying that it would be possible to get a decent grade in GCSE french in just a few weeks! Have you dont the French GCSE and A level? Is the A level really that much of a step up from GCSE? Do you have to be completely fluent in French to be able to get a top grade at A level?
    GCSE is easy. It wouldn't be too difficult for you to get an A in a French GCSE alongside your A-Levels. A-Level French is a different matter though. I can't speak for anyone else, but personally I'm finding it a massive step up from GCSE. You don't need to be fluent at the end, by no means, but it certainly requires a lot of work and dedication.
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    (Original post by ChesterTree)
    Thanks for the help. There's another thread in the languages forum regarding GCSE French and how easy it is; nearly everyone is saying how easy GCCE French is, and some are saying that it would be possible to get a decent grade in GCSE french in just a few weeks! Have you dont the French GCSE and A level? Is the A level really that much of a step up from GCSE? Do you have to be completely fluent in French to be able to get a top grade at A level?
    GCSE languages are generally easy, because they tend to focus on basic reading, writing, listening and speaking skills. Things like expressing very basic desires and opinions and talking about yourself complemented by social phrases, such as greetings and asking people how they are. The problem is, A Level French would almost certainly already expect you to know these things, so diving right into A Level French without having GCSE knowledge would be like joining an intermediate class with almost no knowledge of the language. Another thing is, A Levels are a huge step-up from GCSE, so the work will be a lot harder and move at a faster pace (although, having said that, GCSE French dawdled along at the pace of a turtle with 3 broken ankles).

    I don't mean to put you off the idea, because it's certain possible, but your heart would really have to be in it for you to succeed, and even then, it would still be extremely difficult to achieve an A grade level of proficiency in those two years.
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    There's no point busting a gut to get a good A level grade in French or Russian unless you want to study a language (any language) at uni. If you do want to learn a language, GCSE in either French or Russian alongside your A levels might be realistic.

    Many unis let you study a language degree from scratch even if you don't have a language A level, so keep that in mind. And many unis have a language centre of some sort so that you can learn a language on the side while you're studying something else - don't get fixated on the idea of having a qualification if you don't need it.

    There ARE rapid ways to learn a language - skilled linguists can read a newspaper in a new language after about 4 weeks - but only if you know two or three already and you don't have much else to do with your time.

    The standard of Russian A level is lower than French. This is because it's assumed that students of French have been doing it since they were 11, whereas Russian GCSE is sometimes taken in one year, with A level after a further year. So if it's Russian you're interested in, talk to the Russian teacher at your college about this possibility. Russian has its peculiarities - the alphabet, and something called 'aspect' - but don't let that put you off if it fascinates you.

    If you drop anything, don't drop maths. It's really useful and impressive. Kill off one of your other subjects instead.
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    (Original post by ChesterTree)
    Thank you for the reply. So would you say, in the grand scheme of things, that to get a top grade in A Level French, one would have to be at a modest - high intermediate level of fluency?
    Yes, I would say so. Whereas at GCSE you can get away with just learning set phrases and recognizing key words, at A-Level you need to be able to infer meaning from texts, actually write stuff, and be able to spontaneously speak French on a a variety of topics. You don't need to be amazing, but they do expect proficiency a lot beyond what you need at GCSE.

    Even a very dedicated person would struggle to get an A with no prior knowledge, although I wouldn't say it's impossible if you have natural ability.
    Are you thinking of doing an entire A-Level or just the AS? You could start learning French now(in school, by yourself, with a tutor, or whichever you want) then continue studying it over the summer, going to France if possible, and then start the AS at school next September. If you were dedicated enough, I don't think an A or a B would be an unreasonable goal. You'd have to be careful not to put your A-Levels at risk in such a crucial year though.

    Although I'd imagine the standard required for Russian A-Level is probably a little lower than French, I think it would be more difficult because the basics(new alphabet etc.) would take longer to learn.

    Why don't you ask the MFL teachers at your college what they think? i'm sure they'll have had some experience with this sort of stuff.
    Good luck.
 
 
 
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