What happens in Spanish a-level? Watch

RJohnson
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Could anyone who does spanish say in detail exactly what you need to do for each section of spanish and how its different from GCSE?

Also how difficult each section is would be useful too
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Arturo09
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(Original post by RJohnson)
Could anyone who does spanish say in detail exactly what you need to do for each section of spanish and how its different from GCSE?

Also how difficult each section is would be useful too
The a level is made up of 2 exams, oral (speaking), and then a reading/writing'listening paper all crammed into one. The below is for the AQA specification.

Im in AS at the moment, so I do not really know much about A2, however, I am pretty sure it is the same style of exam, just different topics.

The speaking makes up around 30% of your final grade, the other 70/majority of your grade is based on the reading/writing/listening paper. The content that you should cover for the paper is split into many different topics, such as fashion,media,television/cinema,advertising,different types of holidays,relationships,music,hea lthy eating and many more topics that should allow you to gain knowledge when going to a Spanish speaking country and communicating with others. The topics are not that broad, however, at AS, they still expect you to give more broad answers than at GCSE, they want you to chain sentences together, and emphasize more on justifying your opinion. Saying "me gusta el futbol porque es divertido" is not good enough any more. You need to learn new phrases, and avoid using words such as "divertido and aburrido"

To get higher marks, a wide range of tenses need to be used when writing and speaking, and irregular verbs, reflexive verbs and other stem changing verbs also need to be learnt. The verb endings are probably the most annoying for students and most likely create the problems. Therefore, the only way to improve not making silly mistakes like these is to revise the verb endings for every tense, day in, day out. If you don't practice and practice them, you will never improve and they will most likely eat you up in the exam. Will be even worse if you make frequent tense mistakes in the speaking :O

The speaking exam is slightly different to what you did at GCSE, and is slightly longer also.
The aim of the speaking is to be able to have a detailed discussion with the examiner about topics you have covered, giving a range of different opinions and being able to communicate confidently.

There are 2 parts to the speaking:

1) The first part is a structured conversation. You will be given 2 cards, that will contain an image, a headline, and some questions at the bottom. You have to pick 1 of the 2 cards given to you and prepare answers to the questions at the bottom.
Once you choose your card, you are given around 20 minutes to go off and prepare your answers. This should be a good introduction to the exam as at least you have some time to prepare what you are going to say!
As far as i know, you can write as many words in Spanish as you want!, and can write your answers out exactly as you are going to say them, however, I would still try to look at the examiner when speaking to them :O

After the 20 minutes preparation time, you will start the speaking exam. The examiner will ask you the questions at the bottom of the card, and you should have some notes/answers to help you along the way. The examiner may word some questions differently to the way they are set, so try not to panic! just keep your cool and listen to what they are saying, if you don't understand what they said or didn't here, you can always say "puedes repetir por favor" that should give you a few extra seconds to think about something or recall some content that you may not remember.

After you have answered all the questions on the card (usually about 5), the second part of the speaking exam will begin.

This second part is slightly shorter than the first part, and hopefully by now you should be feeling a little confident and more settled than before you started!

The second part of the speaking is a formal discussion/conversation with the examiner. I cannot recall how it is structured off the top of my head but I know it goes something like they give you a few topics that were not originally on the card/first part of the exam (such as television,fashion,holidays,adve rtising). You then get the choice to pick 1 or 2 of these topics to speak about, and then the examiner gets to pick 1 of their choice. I cannot remember what the benefit of picking your topics was but I do remember that it is best to pick the harder topics that you don't want. There was some benefit of doing this.

The aim of that second part of the speaking exam is to have a detailed conversation with the examiner. There are no specific questions to these topics, so therefore the examiner will be firing random questions at you and you'll have to show confidence and knowledge by replying quickly. For example, one of the topics that you picked may have been on "el cine" and the examiner may ask you random questions such as "what is your favorite type of film" "what was the last film you watched" "do you prefer to watch movies at home or in the cinema and why" (obviously they will say them to you in spanish xD)

Your topics that you pick take up most of the time of the second part of the exam, so technically the exam is in your favor throughout.

Be sure to give a range of opinions, use phrases, and if you're feeling really confident, why not ask the examiner about their views (such as asking them what is their favorite type of film, or if the have a different view). I do this with my teachers during my mocks and speaking practice, and it goes down really well, however, I have no idea how an external examiner will see it, but whatever happens, they cannot mark you down just because you asked them what their favorite type of film was, besides, it is a 2 way conversation, and the best that can happen is that they mark you up because you showed confidence!

All in all, It should be a good exam to do and I can't wait for my mine

One other thing that I should mention is that during the listening exam, you will be assigned your own headphones and own audio file, so you can listen to the file as many times as you like! much better than in the GCSE exam where you all had to listen to one tape, twice and everyone would just rattle their chairs or snivel -__-

Sorry for the awfully long reply, but if you have any questions about the exam, or want to know some good techniques/info about the topics, feel free to ask

Buena suerte! :yep:
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RJohnson
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thanks so much! i wanted a really detailed answer and you gave a really good one hopefully with some preparation over summer before AS level i should be ok. Good luck for yours!
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llamaspoon
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(Original post by RJohnson)
thanks so much! i wanted a really detailed answer and you gave a really good one hopefully with some preparation over summer before AS level i should be ok. Good luck for yours!
Just to add to what has already been said, I'm an A2 student and A2 Spanish is easier than AS. You study two cultural topics (for example I am studying Almodovar's 'Volver' and the Spanish civil war) and you speak about these two cultural topics for two thirds of the oral exam. Therefore, you will be thoroughly prepared! No nasty questions will be sprung upon you. You will also write an essay on one of these two cultural topics (and you can choose which one!) so you will have generic ideas about them you can apply to any essay title that comes up. There is, however, a translation section on the exam, which may seem scary at first but isn't actually that bad.

PS. Spanish is an excellent choice!
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