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How difficult are foreign language A-Levels? watch

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    I've chosen to take French and German for A-Level and was just wondering how much harder will they get. I found French and German GCSE really easy but I know it's going to get really difficult and it frightens me haha. Will I find the start of year 1 impossible or will it seem okay and the second year will seem impossible?
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    It all depends on how prepared you are and on how well you've been taught at GCSE.

    As a French teacher, I can say that grammar is the key so you would do well to revise all the grammar you've learnt so far before you start in the Sixth Form. Particularly your verbs! Make sure you know all the conjugations in all the tenses, and all the irregular verbs, in both languages. That will certainly help the transition. I think the transition from GCSE to AS is harder than from AS to A2.

    I don't know what is available for German, but for French I work with this book with my students who say they really like it because it's so clear:

    http://www.amazon.co.uk/French-Gramm.../dp/095706120X

    Lots of verb exercises there! And the first chapter is really helpful as it explains all the basic grammar stuff.

    Bon courage!
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    Hi, I've just finished AS French and I must say it's quite different to GCSE, particularly with the exams. Rather than simply learning a pre-prepared response to known questions for the speaking/writing exams, you have to actually be able to speak and use the language confidently. However I moved schools and I still found the transition really smooth, with AQA and I can imagine other boards too, there's a 'transition module' which gives you a taster of the vocab etc you will face in AS so it's not an impossible leap!!
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    Oooh and well done for doing languages!! They're dying in most schools and I feel sad! :L
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    I just finished doing AS German and i absolutely loved it. Well for me the thought of being able to communicate to people of a different language fascinated me. And being fluent in German honestly makes me feel like i've achieved something so if you love languages and feel as though you are willing to work hard through out the year i'm sure it wouldn't be that difficult. All A-Levels are difficult but put in the effort and work hard and it'll all pay off.
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    Flipping solid.... I done a2 French n I'm getting my results soon... It's no walk in da park compared to gcses.... Alevel French requires u to know all ur vocab n grammars n if nt den gud luck... I did wjec board n it was very hard

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    (Original post by pseudonymegg)
    Oooh and well done for doing languages!! They're dying in most schools and I feel sad! :L
    Thanks for your opinion and yeah, I've noticed that too. There are only 4 people taking French and 4 people doing German in my sixth form.
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    (Original post by Tee Logan x)
    I just finished doing AS German and i absolutely loved it. Well for me the thought of being able to communicate to people of a different language fascinated me. And being fluent in German honestly makes me feel like i've achieved something so if you love languages and feel as though you are willing to work hard through out the year i'm sure it wouldn't be that difficult. All A-Levels are difficult but put in the effort and work hard and it'll all pay off.
    Thanks, I'd love the achievement of being fluent in German too and I'd like to do it at uni. So would it be fair to assume it's straight forward if you are willing to put the work and dedication in?
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    (Original post by zain59)
    Flipping solid.... I done a2 French n I'm getting my results soon... It's no walk in da park compared to gcses.... Alevel French requires u to know all ur vocab n grammars n if nt den gud luck... I did wjec board n it was very hard

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    I'm doing WJEC too , sounds like a lot of work
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    (Original post by Anna Schoon)
    It all depends on how prepared you are and on how well you've been taught at GCSE.

    As a French teacher, I can say that grammar is the key so you would do well to revise all the grammar you've learnt so far before you start in the Sixth Form. Particularly your verbs! Make sure you know all the conjugations in all the tenses, and all the irregular verbs, in both languages. That will certainly help the transition. I think the transition from GCSE to AS is harder than from AS to A2.

    I don't know what is available for German, but for French I work with this book with my students who say they really like it because it's so clear:

    http://www.amazon.co.uk/French-Gramm.../dp/095706120X

    Lots of verb exercises there! And the first chapter is really helpful as it explains all the basic grammar stuff.

    Bon courage!
    Thanks, it sounds like it's straight forward enough if you are willing to put the work in, is that a fair assumption? If i find my self struggling I may purchase that book so thanks for that
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    (Original post by JamesJones777)
    Thanks, I'd love the achievement of being fluent in German too and I'd like to do it at uni. So would it be fair to assume it's straight forward if you are willing to put the work and dedication in?
    Well if you want to do it at uni, it's compulsory to do it at A Level right? yeah well i did Edexcel German and i think at least for AS if you put in the hard work it is straight forward. I'm dropping German for A2 because A2 covers much harder topics (euthanasia, abortion etc) but yeah think about A2 later so yeah go ahead if you've got a real passion and if you're dedicated. I know the feeling of speaking German and thinking 'oh my, i can actually fluently speak German' (excluding all the different cases and articles) it's a very big achievement indeed
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    They're honestly piss easy, as long as you have a genuine interest in learning languages (which I would assume you do having chosen two of them!). It's obviously a step up from GCSE, in terms of the level of grammar and vocabulary needed as well as how well you're expected to express your ideas, but if you are able to understand key grammatical concepts and can learn vocab then it shouldn't be a problem. Books like Mot à Mot/Wort für Wort help with vocab, and I can't stress enough that listening to radio/watching TV in the native language helps so much even if it doesn't feel like it at first! There's been a great French TV series on Channel 4 called the Returned, you should be able to find it on 4oD.

    I've actually studied French/German as my degree so let me know if you have any questions!
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    (Original post by JamesJones777)
    I'm doing WJEC too , sounds like a lot of work
    I did WJEC - it's fine generally if you know your vocab and, in particular, your grammar. There's little emphasis on grammar at GCSE, so it's something a bit new, I suppose. If you get those things sorted, then you could probably improvise your way through the essays quite well. Mainly though, I'd advise practising all of your skills - I found writing to be very easy because my grammar's good, but my listening and speaking skills are poor because I practised them far less.
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    (Original post by JamesJones777)
    I'm doing WJEC too , sounds like a lot of work
    I did GCSE French in Year 9 (one year course). I can't speak for A2 French, but I have just done AS French in Year 11 alongside my GCSES.

    To be honest, it seemed by far easier than Maths, English Lit. and Science GCSEs. If you have a geniune interest to speak French fluently, then you'll thrive. Unlike other subjects, you either do well or do bad. I was the only A grade in my class of 10, but that's only because I put a lot of REGULAR effort in.

    Language takes time to develop, unlike maths/science/english skills, which you can learn straight away and apply. If you prefer cramming and intense revision, then languages aren't for you. But, if you prefer to dedicate 15 minutes a day learning vocabulary from September onwards, you'll thrive!

    WJEC is great exam board. The topics are simply about life and they value communication over grammar. So, if you forget a verb ending, but keep trying to talk, you'll still pick up the marks. For the exams, you have to answer questions like:

    • "Is a year abroad worth the cost?"
    • "Is alcohol worse than smoking"
    • "Are women equal to men?"
    • "Are friends more important than family to a young person?


    The oral is easier than it seems, and I had to argue with an examiner over women's right to paid maternity leave, and then whether the olympics were worth the cost. Just make sure you talk a lot in lessons and outside of lessons, keep thinking and immersing yourself in French from the outset.

    The listening is difficult a GCSE, but you get a CD and you can listen to the extracts as much as you like. The listening is only about 15 of the 60 marks in the exam anyway!

    You do have to be good at translating though, and know you're basic grammar rules well enough. These skills can be built up though with practice. Good luck!.

    (I'm taking Spanish/German at AS in September, very excited).
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    (Original post by JamesJones777)
    I'm doing WJEC too , sounds like a lot of work
    If u put da hours in den u will pull out wiv a grade A/B if nt den gud luck.... I didn't put any effort in AS French n I came out wiv a C n den in a2 I did a resit in Jan n came out wiv an A overall... All bout da effort u put in.... In AS u just gtta know ur vocab n ur tenses n gt a good grasp of translating.... Once u gt dat den u shud b fine.... As long as u keep practising past papers u Cnt go wrong... Bt dnt rely on past paper too much... Do vocab n tenses mainly
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    I did Spanish at A Level and tbh it was my most difficult subject compared to English Lit and Sociology (History at AS as well). It requires a LOT of hard work and discipline in learning vocab and grammar - I didn't really do this so that may be why i didn't find it as easy as others. But yeah, golden rule: LEARN YOUR VOCABULARY.
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    (Original post by JamesJones777)
    Thanks, it sounds like it's straight forward enough if you are willing to put the work in, is that a fair assumption? If i find my self struggling I may purchase that book so thanks for that
    Yes, I think it is fair to say with languages that putting the work in is essential - and once you get the basics sorted the rest will come much more easily. The trouble with GCSE is that many people can get a top grade by learning a whole lot of stuff off by heart, without understanding the underlying structures. You can't do that for AS or A2 -which is why it's a good idea to make sure you really understand the grammar.
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    (Original post by Tee Logan x)
    I just finished doing AS German and i absolutely loved it. Well for me the thought of being able to communicate to people of a different language fascinated me. And being fluent in German honestly makes me feel like i've achieved something so if you love languages and feel as though you are willing to work hard through out the year i'm sure it wouldn't be that difficult. All A-Levels are difficult but put in the effort and work hard and it'll all pay off.
    You're fluent? :eek:
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    (Original post by JamesJones777)
    I've chosen to take French and German for A-Level and was just wondering how much harder will they get. I found French and German GCSE really easy but I know it's going to get really difficult and it frightens me haha. Will I find the start of year 1 impossible or will it seem okay and the second year will seem impossible?
    I took French and German to AS and got 2 As. German was a lot of work, but the exam was very easy because I'd been taught so well. French was very little work, but both subjects require you to have a good grasp of the language, grammar, tenses and more colloquial terms. Being able to respond spontaneously to random questions and talk at some length and justifying your arguments are the key to doing well. Good luck!
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    (Original post by JamesJones777)
    I've chosen to take French and German for A-Level and was just wondering how much harder will they get. I found French and German GCSE really easy but I know it's going to get really difficult and it frightens me haha. Will I find the start of year 1 impossible or will it seem okay and the second year will seem impossible?
    I did French to A2, and like you I found GCSE to be a bit of a walk in the park. The transition was fairly simple, the listening exams are the only really shock - going from them repeating it twice at snails pace to a full blown radio article is quite different, but you get used to it quickly. The oral exams requires more spontaneity and fluency, but on the whole I found it easier than my other A levels (sciences). Also, another thing is the topics are more demanding, rather than food and drinks and clothes etc, at A2 we did politics, anti-semitism in Europe, crime and punishment, drugs, marriage...more culturally relevant stuff, it's a lot more interesting imo
 
 
 
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