i want to take Spanish A level but i don't know if i should do? Watch

Bobjim12
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hi, im doing my gcses this year which means in September i will "hopefully" begin A levels.

as of now my plans are to do: maths, physics, further maths/philosophy (have to philosophy but i can drop it for further maths) and spanish.

now im not from a spanish background at all but i have excelled in learning it and i really enjoy it. i say "excell" but gcse is really easy and i assume A level is going to be a lot harder.

i got A* in all 4 of my mock exams (2 reading 2 listening) and both provisional A* on my writings (marked by my teacher from northern Spain) so the language is there, but i dont know whether it is worthwhile taking spanish.

i suppose i could do some teaching on the side, not professionally of course.

but what does A level involve? is it more grammar or is it like spanish literature? i already hate English literature!
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Bobjim12
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Bumpity bump.
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Arturo09
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(Original post by Bobjim12)
Bumpity bump.
I do AS currently, but I do know what the A2 exam involves as well.

AS is quite different to AS, not greatly but then again, that might be me saying that because I do come from a Spanish background.

No, in all honesty, there is a LOT of grammar work, we have to make sure we learn every tense ending, and every irregular verb to go with it, grammar and tenses in Spanish is probably one of the most important pieces of content to understand and master if you want to get a high grade. In the essay, you have to make sure you use a wide range of tenses, and a wide range of opinions and justifications to go with it, so yes, it is quite a tough process, but if you revise them and learn them then it should be a stroll in the park.

I can tell you more about the exam structure if you need to so please ask if necessary
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Bobjim12
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(Original post by Arturo09)
I do AS currently, but I do know what the A2 exam involves as well.

AS is quite different to AS, not greatly but then again, that might be me saying that because I do come from a Spanish background.

No, in all honesty, there is a LOT of grammar work, we have to make sure we learn every tense ending, and every irregular verb to go with it, grammar and tenses in Spanish is probably one of the most important pieces of content to understand and master if you want to get a high grade. In the essay, you have to make sure you use a wide range of tenses, and a wide range of opinions and justifications to go with it, so yes, it is quite a tough process, but if you revise them and learn them then it should be a stroll in the park.

I can tell you more about the exam structure if you need to so please ask if necessary

Hi, thanks for the reply.

When you say revise endings. Do you mean fully know them? Is it strongly criticised if you forget the odd one?

i know strongly the present, perfect and conditional. But i suppose i could master the tenses over the summer.

Do you speak much spanish in class? Im confident in speaking it so i would like to practice it.


Lastly, how large is your class? The current A2 class in my school is 3! Perhaps thats a good thing though, no?
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Arturo09
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(Original post by Bobjim12)
Hi, thanks for the reply.

When you say revise endings. Do you mean fully know them? Is it strongly criticised if you forget the odd one?

i know strongly the present, perfect and conditional. But i suppose i could master the tenses over the summer.

Do you speak much spanish in class? Im confident in speaking it so i would like to practice it.


Lastly, how large is your class? The current A2 class in my school is 3! Perhaps thats a good thing though, no?
1) Yes, you need to learn every tense ending as well as every irregular verb to go with it, and you need to learn this off by heart. Honestly it is the most time consuming part of Spanish and therefore causes the most problems in the exam, as well as where the most marks are dropped. No, of course you can forget the odd endings, it won't be the end of the world but you will need lots of tenses for every part of the exam, for example in the speaking the moderator will be listening to hear if you can use a range of tenses appropriately. In the writing exam, it is likely that there will be a grammar section (there was one in our mock, it was out of 10 and I got the highest mark which was 3 :eek:) so yeah, different tenses and verb ending will be needed for pretty much every part of the exam, so it is very important that you know and cover as much of them as you can!

2) Our teacher is not foreign, she is English which usually means that she does not speak as fluently as a foreign teacher, but no, she speaks to us pretty much all the time in Spanish, and she has a very good accent and pronunciation, sometimes she makes us speak to each other in Spanish for certain exercises, other wise we get punished such as extra homework/missed break etc. So all in all, yeah, it is important that you speak as much Spanish as you can, and persuade your teacher to as well! At the end of the day, it benefits you all!

3) My current AS class is quite large, around 15 students, which is a nice size to have. It means there are students of various abilities as well as backgrounds. It's very common to have small language classes, but sometimes that can be a good or bad thing, it's all down to the way you feel about it.
I know for a fact that the majority of my classmates/friends are going to drop Spanish after AS, so yeah, I am pretty sure numbers will drop significantly. However, the ones that are going to continue in to A2 are the more advanced students and the ones that are "my competition" in a sense
For me I think it will be better to have a smaller class at A2, as well as a class full of the more advanced students. I just think this because it means I can speak as fluently as I want to them, as well as we can have good detailed conversations (alright, maybe they are not that advanced yet). This is also good for not just me, but for all of us in the A2 class because it means that we can cover the syllabus much quicker and not have to spend so much time on topics and waiting for the others to "catch up". This means at the end of the day, we will have more time to go over the topics and vocabulary that cause us issues, as well as having more teacher attention and focus.

Sorry for the awfully long message

Anything else, just ask
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Ben4
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(Original post by Arturo09)
1) Yes, you need to learn every tense ending as well as every irregular verb to go with it, and you need to learn this off by heart. Honestly it is the most time consuming part of Spanish and therefore causes the most problems in the exam, as well as where the most marks are dropped. No, of course you can forget the odd endings, it won't be the end of the world but you will need lots of tenses for every part of the exam, for example in the speaking the moderator will be listening to hear if you can use a range of tenses appropriately. In the writing exam, it is likely that there will be a grammar section (there was one in our mock, it was out of 10 and I got the highest mark which was 3 :eek:) so yeah, different tenses and verb ending will be needed for pretty much every part of the exam, so it is very important that you know and cover as much of them as you can!

2) Our teacher is not foreign, she is English which usually means that she does not speak as fluently as a foreign teacher, but no, she speaks to us pretty much all the time in Spanish, and she has a very good accent and pronunciation, sometimes she makes us speak to each other in Spanish for certain exercises, other wise we get punished such as extra homework/missed break etc. So all in all, yeah, it is important that you speak as much Spanish as you can, and persuade your teacher to as well! At the end of the day, it benefits you all!

3) My current AS class is quite large, around 15 students, which is a nice size to have. It means there are students of various abilities as well as backgrounds. It's very common to have small language classes, but sometimes that can be a good or bad thing, it's all down to the way you feel about it.
I know for a fact that the majority of my classmates/friends are going to drop Spanish after AS, so yeah, I am pretty sure numbers will drop significantly. However, the ones that are going to continue in to A2 are the more advanced students and the ones that are "my competition" in a sense
For me I think it will be better to have a smaller class at A2, as well as a class full of the more advanced students. I just think this because it means I can speak as fluently as I want to them, as well as we can have good detailed conversations (alright, maybe they are not that advanced yet). This is also good for not just me, but for all of us in the A2 class because it means that we can cover the syllabus much quicker and not have to spend so much time on topics and waiting for the others to "catch up". This means at the end of the day, we will have more time to go over the topics and vocabulary that cause us issues, as well as having more teacher attention and focus.

Sorry for the awfully long message

Anything else, just ask
Also like the OP I am interested in doing Spanish but don't know whether too or not. Did you do it at GCSE? What would you say would be the ideal grade to show that you should/could go through with the A-Level.
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Arturo09
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(Original post by Ben4)
Also like the OP I am interested in doing Spanish but don't know whether too or not. Did you do it at GCSE? What would you say would be the ideal grade to show that you should/could go through with the A-Level.
I would go ahead with it, in fact I would like to learn another language (Chinese) mainly because they are a very good attribute to have and will help you in employment all over the world! They can be quite fun sometimes as well, which is a rare thing in my eyes at A Level

I did it at GCSE yes, and got an A*, I think I only dropped 2 marks, got 39 out of 40 in both external exams (bloody harsh moderators in my eyes with trick questions). Usually, it would be helpful if you had a strong grade in a language, so A being the minimum, a B would be pushing it but that's if the student in my eyes is willing to put in the effort as to fixing where they went wrong.

Learning a language is tough, especially Spanish, this is mainly because of all the bloody tenses that you have to learn, and all the endless number of irregular verbs. But honestly a language is like a sport for example, if you practice and practice, and learn to fix your weak areas, then it should be not trouble!

Put it this way, i'm finding it tough because of the tense endings, mainly because I don't bother to learn them, but I assure you, this is going to change right now, there is no room for error... :O
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Ben4
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(Original post by Arturo09)
I would go ahead with it, in fact I would like to learn another language (Chinese) mainly because they are a very good attribute to have and will help you in employment all over the world! They can be quite fun sometimes as well, which is a rare thing in my eyes at A Level

I did it at GCSE yes, and got an A*, I think I only dropped 2 marks, got 39 out of 40 in both external exams (bloody harsh moderators in my eyes with trick questions). Usually, it would be helpful if you had a strong grade in a language, so A being the minimum, a B would be pushing it but that's if the student in my eyes is willing to put in the effort as to fixing where they went wrong.

Learning a language is tough, especially Spanish, this is mainly because of all the bloody tenses that you have to learn, and all the endless number of irregular verbs. But honestly a language is like a sport for example, if you practice and practice, and learn to fix your weak areas, then it should be not trouble!

Put it this way, i'm finding it tough because of the tense endings, mainly because I don't bother to learn them, but I assure you, this is going to change right now, there is no room for error... :O
Oh right, thank you for replying. I am not as good as you at gcse. I am not fluent but I achieved an A* in the reading mock and an A in the writing assessments, however last year I got a C in the speaking but I am redoing it next month. Any tips for the GCSE speaking exams?


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Arturo09
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(Original post by Ben4)
Oh right, thank you for replying. I am not as good as you at gcse. I am not fluent but I achieved an A* in the reading mock and an A in the writing assessments, however last year I got a C in the speaking but I am redoing it next month. Any tips for the GCSE speaking exams?


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Don't worry man, i'm struggling currently as well so it is normal...

Yeah, for the speaking exam, try to show confidence if you can, you need to deliver phrases accurately and pronunciation needs to be very good, so that means express the accents on words, like extrano or Espana (can't get the n with accent on my keyboard but you know what I mean...)

Use some nice phrases as well, such as "desde mi punto de vista" which means from my point of view, because it is likely that your teacher will ask you for your opinion on some topics.
The way to get high mark is to show confidence in speaking, so if you do muck up or hesitate slightly in the exam, just say "perdon" or "disculpe" to show that you know you have made a mistake and then carry on. Also like I just said, use some nice phrases that the teacher would not expect to use, this too shows confidence as well as your ability to use a range of vocabulary.
One final thing to get high marks is to use a range of tenses, there is not point talking in the past or just the present if you want to get a high mark, use the conditional tense and the future as well if you can, so when you do say what you did yesterday or the week before, try to fit in what you plan to do this weekend, or what you'd like to do in the future etc. A range of tenses is a great way to bump up the marks and improve your confidence as well. It's a nice feeling to use big words you know your teacher will like!

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19jkl
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(What I'm about to tell you is for the Edexcel A Level Spanish, however I believe it's pretty much the same on all exam boards).
I got an A* at GCSE Spanish and then got an A at AS. The AS exam involves reading, writing, speaking and listening exercises, almost like a test. However, one big difference from GCSE is that you will roughly know what you will have to discuss, but not in anywhere near as much detail as at GCSE.
A2 involves quite hefty essays and a translation exercise. You have to do 2 essays, one based on a film/play/book that you've studied in class, and one on something more ethical, such as immigration, abortion, cloning... etc. The translation is English to Spanish, and focuses greatly on your vocabulary and grammar.
Anyway, it sounds like with the grades you've been getting lately that you'd do fine at Spanish A Level.
Good luck with your decisions and let me know if you need any more help/advice; I'd be happy to talk
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Bobjim12
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Thank you both. I think i will do it because it will be one i can enjoy after the stress of the harder subjects i will be doing (maths and physics :/). I also believe i can get quite high a grade in it.

I spoke to the A level maths teacher and she said that i should really please to be getting A*. Tbh only about 6 of us out of about 60 spanish got A* (although quite a few got A!).

She also said that GCSE is quite limiting and that there is a lot more freedom. I like to learn new verbs and nouns for my writing/speaking assessments but my teacher says to stick to ones in class, (which i ignored and still got A* in my assessments.). Is it more open to use indepentely learned NEW vocabulary?

Lastly, im a bit worried about my speaking exam i just did.

I used every tense, i used a wide range of vocab, only a bit of hesitation. A good accent, yadda yadda. But when it came to the unknown question i have to answer, i paniced.

It was "¿prefieres estudiar español o frances?" To which i stupidly replied: "prefiero español porque la comida es mejor que el frances y si no lo prefiero, no estaría aqui"

I knew it meant spanish and not Spain. Would you think i've failed that now answering the quedtion like that?
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incoqnito
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(Original post by Bobjim12)
Thank you both. I think i will do it because it will be one i can enjoy after the stress of the harder subjects i will be doing (maths and physics :/). I also believe i can get quite high a grade in it.

I spoke to the A level maths teacher and she said that i should really please to be getting A*. Tbh only about 6 of us out of about 60 spanish got A* (although quite a few got A!).

She also said that GCSE is quite limiting and that there is a lot more freedom. I like to learn new verbs and nouns for my writing/speaking assessments but my teacher says to stick to ones in class, (which i ignored and still got A* in my assessments.). Is it more open to use indepentely learned NEW vocabulary?

Lastly, im a bit worried about my speaking exam i just did.

I used every tense, i used a wide range of vocab, only a bit of hesitation. A good accent, yadda yadda. But when it came to the unknown question i have to answer, i paniced.

It was "¿prefieres estudiar español o frances?" To which i stupidly replied: "prefiero español porque la comida es mejor que el frances y si no lo prefiero, no estaría aqui"

I knew it meant spanish and not Spain. Would you think i've failed that now answering the quedtion like that?
The trick questions are hard for everyone, youll find that only the really naturally talented will be able to come up with something good on the spot, as everything else has been prepared. I got an A* in gcse spanish but it gets a lot more difficult at a level, as you have to do a lot of independent practice, constantly improve your vocabulary, and you get a lot of grammar homeworks. For me it was really fun though, and our school did an exchange which was amazing too. Getting a good grade wont be hard as long as you regularly practice and keep on top of work, and im not sure if it's still the same but for A2 there is a literature exam which is boring as **** but doable if you revise the books well enough.
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Arturo09
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(Original post by Bobjim12)
Thank you both. I think i will do it because it will be one i can enjoy after the stress of the harder subjects i will be doing (maths and physics :/). I also believe i can get quite high a grade in it.

I spoke to the A level maths teacher and she said that i should really please to be getting A*. Tbh only about 6 of us out of about 60 spanish got A* (although quite a few got A!).

She also said that GCSE is quite limiting and that there is a lot more freedom. I like to learn new verbs and nouns for my writing/speaking assessments but my teacher says to stick to ones in class, (which i ignored and still got A* in my assessments.). Is it more open to use indepentely learned NEW vocabulary?

Lastly, im a bit worried about my speaking exam i just did.

I used every tense, i used a wide range of vocab, only a bit of hesitation. A good accent, yadda yadda. But when it came to the unknown question i have to answer, i paniced.

It was "¿prefieres estudiar español o frances?" To which i stupidly replied: "prefiero español porque la comida es mejor que el frances y si no lo prefiero, no estaría aqui"

I knew it meant spanish and not Spain. Would you think i've failed that now answering the quedtion like that?
I hope you do choose it, it is such a fun and attractive language to learn!

Hmm, I think your teacher knows best, when she says stick to the vocab in class it is because she is trying to make the speaking exam easier and less stressful for you guys, I mean, yes, it is beneficial for you to use your own independently studied vocab, but as long as you make sure it makes sense and has relevance to what you are saying, in that case, you should be gaining marks if anything, not dropping them!

Yes, the unknown question is quite harsh, especially in the controlled conditions. Like stated by the above, it seems to be only the naturally gifted speakers that can come up with something detailed and relevant on the spot, but even then, we are all human and we will all hesitate and struggle so do not worry...

About your question, yes I do see where you made a mistake, and to be honest, I do not really know what to say on it, I mean, the question asked you "Do you prefer to study Spanish or French" to which you replied " I prefer to study Spanish because the food is better than in France etc..."
I can kind of see some relevance to it, I mean, would some people choose to study Spanish over French because of the food?
In all honesty, yeah I think you might have lost it a little bit there, but it is perfectly normal! It was something you had to answer out of the blue so I think your teacher will cut you some slack!

My advice to avoid the same situation would be to think about what the teacher asked you/what was the question, and then think about it for a few seconds, so do all the so called "really bad" things like "hmm" "estoy pensando" .... that way, you are telling and showing your teacher that you are thinking about the situation, and not just creating a massive silence or even rushing and answering the question wrong :O

That was probably hard to understand what I just said, but in short, just think about the question for a few seconds, and don't rush it! but then again, do not create a long silence while you think!
Trust me, it is better to think for a bit and answer the question correctly rather than rush off the spot and say some gibberish

Hope that helped
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Bobjim12
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Yeah i suppose, i will probably have to redo it then as i want to get A* in all my coursework. Im only worried about the unknown question anyway so i'll just take my time with it. Than you!
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Arturo09
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(Original post by Bobjim12)
Yeah i suppose, i will probably have to redo it then as i want to get A* in all my coursework. Im only worried about the unknown question anyway so i'll just take my time with it. Than you!
No problem my friend
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