Turn on thread page Beta

History and French - but A not A* in French at GCSE! watch

    • Thread Starter
    Offline

    6
    ReputationRep:
    Hoping someone can help me!

    I plan to apply for History and French with a slightly odd situation. I did IB MYP instead of GCSE's so IB marking used where 7 is equivalent to A*, 6 equivalent to A etc. Overall I got 10 7s so 10 A* and 2 6s so 2 As. While I'm happy with these, the issue is that my As were in French and German. This was a combination of poor teaching methods, me personally not working on my weakest grammatical errors, and high marking standards seeing that the IB assumed a lot of prior knowledge that GCSE wouldn't have. However, starting AS-Level I have improved in leaps and bounds and hopefully will have a comfortable A in French come results day. The issue is that given how much emphasis Oxford put on GCSEs, would it be detrimental that I've got my lowest grades in languages when planning to read a languages joint honours degree?


    TL;DR Got an A not A* at GCSE French, hope to do History and French, so how much will Oxford care?
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    Well, an A is not a catastrophe! It may well have not been the top mark but at the end of the day you have shown improvement and what they tend to look for in the interviews is passion and knowledge of the subject at that time. And as your results are good as an overall I don't think it will detract from your application.
    From what I know, they use GCSE results only when there are two fairly equal candidates going for one place on a course. Just make sure you nail your AS and A2s
    Don't let it put you off!
    Offline

    16
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by xcartoonheart)
    Hoping someone can help me!

    I plan to apply for History and French with a slightly odd situation. I did IB MYP instead of GCSE's so IB marking used where 7 is equivalent to A*, 6 equivalent to A etc. Overall I got 10 7s so 10 A* and 2 6s so 2 As. While I'm happy with these, the issue is that my As were in French and German. This was a combination of poor teaching methods, me personally not working on my weakest grammatical errors, and high marking standards seeing that the IB assumed a lot of prior knowledge that GCSE wouldn't have. However, starting AS-Level I have improved in leaps and bounds and hopefully will have a comfortable A in French come results day. The issue is that given how much emphasis Oxford put on GCSEs, would it be detrimental that I've got my lowest grades in languages when planning to read a languages joint honours degree?


    TL;DR Got an A not A* at GCSE French, hope to do History and French, so how much will Oxford care?
    It probably won't count much against you if you do really well at AS (You can alway get your referee to mention any particularly good scores). Also, remember that you will have to take the MLAT, which is another opportunity to show you current language skills and potential.

    p.s. If you have any further questions about the French aspect of application/the Oxford course, feel free to ask.
    • Thread Starter
    Offline

    6
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by jgpartington)
    Well, an A is not a catastrophe! It may well have not been the top mark but at the end of the day you have shown improvement and what they tend to look for in the interviews is passion and knowledge of the subject at that time. And as your results are good as an overall I don't think it will detract from your application.
    From what I know, they use GCSE results only when there are two fairly equal candidates going for one place on a course. Just make sure you nail your AS and A2s
    Don't let it put you off!
    Thank you! Hopefully it will work out
    • Thread Starter
    Offline

    6
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by qwertyuiop1993)
    It probably won't count much against you if you do really well at AS (You can alway get your referee to mention any particularly good scores). Also, remember that you will have to take the MLAT, which is another opportunity to show you current language skills and potential.

    p.s. If you have any further questions about the French aspect of application/the Oxford course, feel free to ask.
    You do straight French at Oxford, right? :eek: What made you decide to focus on it/where did your interest stem from? I guess what I'm most worried about is most people telling me its quite hard to get onto joint honours with a language just because the French department want to ensure you have a high a level of language as possible...slightly scared it won't be up to par.
    In terms of the MLAT, from what I've seen it should be in a language you're studying to A2 level: however, at the point of taking it I would only be a few months into my A2 course! I hope to take some classes/go on a French immersion camp during summer, but even then not sure if my language would be at A2 standard What level would you say you were when you took the test?
    Also, I've heard that the course is quite literature-based, which I don't mind in theory, just haven't actually read that widely in French at all: my AS exams have just finished so I literally took out a whole bagful of extra reading but not really sure what to start out in terms of proper novels/poetry that isn't at too high a level, but still interesting; do you have any recommendations?
    Do you know anyone doing a joint honours with French such as History or English or Classics? How do they find the workload?
    Lastly, any general tips to improve my language? My weak points are probably speaking and making sure I'm completely accurate in all my written work.

    Whew, I've taken advantage of your kind offer! Thank you so much in advance!
    Offline

    16
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by xcartoonheart)
    You do straight French at Oxford, right? :eek: What made you decide to focus on it/where did your interest stem from? I guess what I'm most worried about is most people telling me its quite hard to get onto joint honours with a language just because the French department want to ensure you have a high a level of language as possible...slightly scared it won't be up to par.
    In terms of the MLAT, from what I've seen it should be in a language you're studying to A2 level: however, at the point of taking it I would only be a few months into my A2 course! I hope to take some classes/go on a French immersion camp during summer, but even then not sure if my language would be at A2 standard What level would you say you were when you took the test?
    Also, I've heard that the course is quite literature-based, which I don't mind in theory, just haven't actually read that widely in French at all: my AS exams have just finished so I literally took out a whole bagful of extra reading but not really sure what to start out in terms of proper novels/poetry that isn't at too high a level, but still interesting; do you have any recommendations?
    Do you know anyone doing a joint honours with French such as History or English or Classics? How do they find the workload?
    Lastly, any general tips to improve my language? My weak points are probably speaking and making sure I'm completely accurate in all my written work.

    Whew, I've taken advantage of your kind offer! Thank you so much in advance!
    I discovered my interest in the language from chatting with the French assistants at my school and then going to France to work on a farm in the summer after GCSEs (and every summer thereafter). I then started to look at the culture of France when I decided in year 11/12 that I wanted to do French at university - I love English lit anyway so reading in French was a natural extension.

    Don't worry about applying for joint honours - if you do well in one subject but not in the other, they frequently give offers for single honours (So if you're good enough for History but not for French, that won't necessarily stop you getting into Oxford).

    Well the MLAT is around A2 level, but they don't expect people to get full marks or anything. The average mark for offer holders is around 70% for French, according to my tutor. They test the same things every year: irregular verbs, uses of the subjunctive, some vocab, use of tenses, use of prepositions. When I took the test I would say I had a level beyond A2, but only because I panicked and basically made notes on every chapter of Ferrar's 'A French Reference Grammar': this is totally not necessary (though helpful) and there's actually a great variation in grammar ability in 1st year. Some people actually did pretty awfully at the test and still got in because of other factors (like their interview).

    The course is very literature based, but as a dual honours student you could actually reduce your finals papers to one literature module, if you opt for linguistics/advanced translation papers instead. In first year you will have 2 literature papers covering around 10 novels/plays/poetry collections etc.

    I would recommend trying a variety of genres and works of different periods:

    Theatre:
    Phèdre by Racine is a classic example of 17th century tragedy.
    Le bourgeois gentilhomme by Molière is a good starting point for 17th century comedy.

    More modern stuff: Ionesco, Sartre, Beckett - their plays are simple to read but hard to understand on a thematic level.

    Poetry:
    Les fleurs du mal by Baudelaire. You can read it here, with English translations: http://fleursdumal.org/1868-table-of-contents

    It might be worth buying a poetry collection like this one: http://www.amazon.com/Penguin-Book-F...+french+poetry

    Try to think about how form informs thematic considerations in the poems. You don't need to know technical vocabulary, but doing a bit of research on French versification might help with this goal.

    Novels/Stories:
    Candide by Voltaire is quite accessible.
    I loved Le Grand Meaulnes. It might be a bit of a challenge, but it's a nice story.
    Un sac de billes is also good. (It's about two jewish kids trying to reach the zone libre in Occupied France).


    The joint honours people don't seem to have that much more work than other courses (at least for Modlangs + English) but the work can be a bit more unevenly spread due to the organisation of each subject (so one term my friend doing French and English only had 4 essays to do in one term and then the next he had like 14).

    As for improving your language skills: try to speak in French as much as possible. A summer course is a good idea, though it would also be good to speak French to natives outside of the classroom if possible, because it really boosts confidence.

    The accuracy thingis just a matter of practice - be methodical in checking your work and make sure you're grammar is solid - after a while you will just naturally avoid/spot errors much quicker as you get a greater 'sense' for the language. As for vocabulary, I've become addicted to memrise.com, which turns vocab learning into a sort of game with leaderboards etc.
    • Thread Starter
    Offline

    6
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by qwertyuiop1993)
    I discovered my interest in the language from chatting with the French assistants at my school and then going to France to work on a farm in the summer after GCSEs (and every summer thereafter). I then started to look at the culture of France when I decided in year 11/12 that I wanted to do French at university - I love English lit anyway so reading in French was a natural extension.

    Don't worry about applying for joint honours - if you do well in one subject but not in the other, they frequently give offers for single honours (So if you're good enough for History but not for French, that won't necessarily stop you getting into Oxford).

    Well the MLAT is around A2 level, but they don't expect people to get full marks or anything. The average mark for offer holders is around 70% for French, according to my tutor. They test the same things every year: irregular verbs, uses of the subjunctive, some vocab, use of tenses, use of prepositions. When I took the test I would say I had a level beyond A2, but only because I panicked and basically made notes on every chapter of Ferrar's 'A French Reference Grammar': this is totally not necessary (though helpful) and there's actually a great variation in grammar ability in 1st year. Some people actually did pretty awfully at the test and still got in because of other factors (like their interview).

    The course is very literature based, but as a dual honours student you could actually reduce your finals papers to one literature module, if you opt for linguistics/advanced translation papers instead. In first year you will have 2 literature papers covering around 10 novels/plays/poetry collections etc.

    I would recommend trying a variety of genres and works of different periods:

    Theatre:
    Phèdre by Racine is a classic example of 17th century tragedy.
    Le bourgeois gentilhomme by Molière is a good starting point for 17th century comedy.

    More modern stuff: Ionesco, Sartre, Beckett - their plays are simple to read but hard to understand on a thematic level.

    Poetry:
    Les fleurs du mal by Baudelaire. You can read it here, with English translations: http://fleursdumal.org/1868-table-of-contents

    It might be worth buying a poetry collection like this one: http://www.amazon.com/Penguin-Book-F...+french+poetry

    Try to think about how form informs thematic considerations in the poems. You don't need to know technical vocabulary, but doing a bit of research on French versification might help with this goal.

    Novels/Stories:
    Candide by Voltaire is quite accessible.
    I loved Le Grand Meaulnes. It might be a bit of a challenge, but it's a nice story.
    Un sac de billes is also good. (It's about two jewish kids trying to reach the zone libre in Occupied France).


    The joint honours people don't seem to have that much more work than other courses (at least for Modlangs + English) but the work can be a bit more unevenly spread due to the organisation of each subject (so one term my friend doing French and English only had 4 essays to do in one term and then the next he had like 14).

    As for improving your language skills: try to speak in French as much as possible. A summer course is a good idea, though it would also be good to speak French to natives outside of the classroom if possible, because it really boosts confidence.

    The accuracy think is just a matter of practice - be methodical in checking your work and make sure you're grammar is solid - after a while you will just naturally avoid/spot errors much quicker as you get a greater 'sense' for the language. As for vocabulary, I've become addicted to memrise.com, which turns vocab learning into a sort of game with leaderboards etc.
    Ooh, definitely going to make sure my grammar base is secure and try and find a program where I can stay with a family/only speak french...
    This has honestly helped me immensely, thank you!
    Offline

    2
    ReputationRep:
    (Got an offer for French and German this year for Oxford)

    I was in the same boat as you, I only (!) had an A in German but was applying for it. When you're in the applying mindset it seems like a really big deal, but what'll make it irrelevant is doing well at AS. My German mark was in honest terms poor exam board marking (the whole controlled assessment and only taking a sample to mark is ludicrous) which my school mentioned on my reference, but if you get a good A at AS then the GCSE marks won't matter.

    I didn't really worry about literature until the summer; max. 5 books is definitely enough.

    I would say making your grammar really good would be extremely beneficial - especially as French is so complex. I got a grammar book and worked through it all. Somehow (thankfully) got high MLAT scores because of that which I think helped me get my offer.

    As the others (who definitely are more wised-up [not wished-up, typo] than me) said if you've got any specific questions (I have gathered I am the most recent to go through the application process?) then I'll try my best
    • Thread Starter
    Offline

    6
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by enimpri)
    (Got an offer for French and German this year for Oxford)

    I was in the same boat as you, I only (!) had an A in German but was applying for it. When you're in the applying mindset it seems like a really big deal, but what'll make it irrelevant is doing well at AS. My German mark was in honest terms poor exam board marking (the whole controlled assessment and only taking a sample to mark is ludicrous) which my school mentioned on my reference, but if you get a good A at AS then the GCSE marks won't matter.

    I didn't really worry about literature until the summer; max. 5 books is definitely enough.

    I would say making your grammar really good would be extremely beneficial - especially as French is so complex. I got a grammar book and worked through it all. Somehow (thankfully) got high MLAT scores because of that which I think helped me get my offer.

    As the others (who definitely are more wised-up [not wished-up, typo] than me) said if you've got any specific questions (I have gathered I am the most recent to go through the application process?) then I'll try my best
    Wheww that has reassured me a bit! Definitely will start going over grammar, seems like it will help in all other aspects of the language so it makes sense! For your personal statement how did you manage to balance your interest in the subject and why you were good for it? I have a lot of stuff I like about French lit/culture/history but not really sure how to 'sell myself'? (Not really sure I really want to/can..

    Posted from TSR Mobile
    Offline

    2
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by xcartoonheart)
    Wheww that has reassured me a bit! Definitely will start going over grammar, seems like it will help in all other aspects of the language so it makes sense! For your personal statement how did you manage to balance your interest in the subject and why you were good for it? I have a lot of stuff I like about French lit/culture/history but not really sure how to 'sell myself'? (Not really sure I really want to/can..

    Posted from TSR Mobile
    Good! Small details... Consider in the grand scheme of things when tutors have grades reference statement MLAT and then you in front of them.. a couple of As won't matter!

    I think I know what you mean.. If you talk about for example a book you found interesting, you're selling yourself just by talking about it because you're showing wider reading. Obviously the statement is open to your ideas so if there's something interesting you've found that proves your love for the subject then include it! Literature is the most common to mention especially in preparation for interview (discussed books from my statement at one point in both my interviews), whereas culture/history tend to be a bit wider.

    In simple terms I think in writing what you're interested in, you're already showing you're good for the subject
 
 
 

University open days

  • Sheffield Hallam University
    City Campus Postgraduate
    Wed, 17 Oct '18
  • Staffordshire University
    Nursing and Midwifery Undergraduate
    Wed, 17 Oct '18
  • Teesside University
    Undergraduate open day Undergraduate
    Wed, 17 Oct '18
Poll
If a uni gives me an unconditional offer they....
Useful resources

The Student Room, Get Revising and Marked by Teachers are trading names of The Student Room Group Ltd.

Register Number: 04666380 (England and Wales), VAT No. 806 8067 22 Registered Office: International House, Queens Road, Brighton, BN1 3XE

Write a reply...
Reply
Hide
Reputation gems: You get these gems as you gain rep from other members for making good contributions and giving helpful advice.