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    I'm considering taking French and/or Spanish and would like to know from A-Level language students how they found the course, how hard it was, whether it was enjoyable etc/. Any information would be appreciated! Thanks in advance for any replies
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    I can't help about French but I do study A Level Spanish! I personally really enjoy it, it's one of my favourite subjects, however I would say there is a definite big step up from GCSE. If you did well at GCSE just by blagging your way through or memorising chunks of coursework then it might be a bit of a surprise - in AS you need to understand your tenses and grammar well. I'd say to go for it - I have friends who do both - and I'm sure you'll enjoy it! Just be prepared to learn your grammar in the first term XD
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    I do A level french it is quite hard but I depends how good at french your are! Basically you learn all if the tenses and loads of grammar then in your speaking exam you talk about a chosen topic and a few others! Definitely worth doing if you're good at french and are thinking of going to UNI


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    I've just finished my AS in French and German this year. I started the year regretting taking German as I was finding it really hard and I only had a D in my mock. With time it got better and I ended the year being predicted an A in it. (whether or not I'll get it is another story.)

    It isn't as difficult as I thought. Languages are like a Jigsaw, the more knowledge you have the more pieces you get. You get enough pieces and everything fits together nicely. Grammar is key. You need to know your tenses. If you can express yourself clearly and find more than one way to say the same thing you will be fine.

    Lastly they are the most rewarding of all subjects. (imo) I can read things and say things that I could never have seen myself doing in year 7 and 9. (when I started French and German respectively) It is also exciting to know that your language skills can only get better.
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    (Original post by JamesJones777)
    I've just finished my AS in French and German this year. I started the year regretting taking German as I was finding it really hard and I only had a D in my mock. With time it got better and I ended the year being predicted an A in it. (whether or not I'll get it is another story.)

    It isn't as difficult as I thought. Languages are like a Jigsaw, the more knowledge you have the more pieces you get. You get enough pieces and everything fits together nicely. Grammar is key. You need to know your tenses. If you can express yourself clearly and find more than one way to say the same thing you will be fine.

    Lastly they are the most rewarding of all subjects. (imo) I can read things and say things that I could never have seen myself doing in year 7 and 9. (when I started French and German respectively) It is also exciting to know that your language skills can only get better.
    Yes, that's what I love about languages and I agree that they can be very rewarding. Thanks for your help and I hope you get that A your predicted despite your doubts I will try to focus on grammar more, I know it's the key to a solid understanding but I always avoid it! Thanks again for your reply, it was very helpful.
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    (Original post by scavi2008)
    I can't help about French but I do study A Level Spanish! I personally really enjoy it, it's one of my favourite subjects, however I would say there is a definite big step up from GCSE. If you did well at GCSE just by blagging your way through or memorising chunks of coursework then it might be a bit of a surprise - in AS you need to understand your tenses and grammar well. I'd say to go for it - I have friends who do both - and I'm sure you'll enjoy it! Just be prepared to learn your grammar in the first term XD
    Yes I hope I will since I am really passionate about languages and genuinely enjoy learning them. I will have to prepare myself for the grammarXD What are the exams like? I mean how do you find each component and how do they vary in difficulty in your opinion. Thank you for your reply
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    (Original post by Thinedivine)
    Yes, that's what I love about languages and I agree that they can be very rewarding. Thanks for your help and I hope you get that A your predicted despite your doubts I will try to focus on grammar more, I know it's the key to a solid understanding but I always avoid it! Thanks again for your reply, it was very helpful.
    No worries! Grammar is my least favorite aspect of Language learning despite being the most useful. If I'm honest I just pick up Grammar by using the language I rarely sit down and recall verb tables, it doesn't work for me.
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    (Original post by Thinedivine)
    I'm considering taking French and/or Spanish and would like to know from A-Level language students how they found the course, how hard it was, whether it was enjoyable etc/. Any information would be appreciated! Thanks in advance for any replies
    It's very intensive at the start of the year, I think 7 people dropped out of my French and dropped out of my Spanish class in the space of 3 weeks. Eventually there were only 2 people in my Spanish class and 4 in my French class.

    However, don't let this put you off at all. Unlike most A level subjects, languages have a reversed learning curve. So while you might find your January mock results aren't that great, it's completely linear so your skills keep progressing and you'll notice how much you improve throughout the year.

    The exams themselves are challenging. There is an oral exam which is essentially 10 minutes of talking that determines 40% of your grade. The good news is that it's organised well and it's easy to gain high marks. Plus the examiners are always really nice and make you feel comfortable. The 2 hour 30 minute written paper is harder, and requires you use grammar, translate, write an essay as well as do reading and listening exercises. But if you work hard from the outset you will actually find this rather fun.

    The course is basically PSHE but in a different language. Each topic is either a debating topic (like smoking, drugs, media, citizenship) or a descriptive topic (hobbies, education, travel). You write essays and have discussions with other students over issues.

    For example in my Spanish exam I had to write an essay on whether domestic violence was a greater threat to people than discrimination. Or in my French oral I had to discuss whether sportsmen were positive role models and if they deserve their high salaries.

    But, despite the odd hiccup here and there, I've really enjoyed French and Spanish and I plan to continue them at A2 as well as study Spanish at uni. When you get to A2, you get to watch films, read books and research the culture of a francophone/Hispanic country which is by far the best bit of the A Level.
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    (Original post by Iggy Azalea)
    It's very intensive at the start of the year, I think 7 people dropped out of my French and dropped out of my Spanish class in the space of 3 weeks. Eventually there were only 2 people in my Spanish class and 4 in my French class.

    However, don't let this put you off at all. Unlike most A level subjects, languages have a reversed learning curve. So while you might find your January mock results aren't that great, it's completely linear so your skills keep progressing and you'll notice how much you improve throughout the year.

    The exams themselves are challenging. There is an oral exam which is essentially 10 minutes of talking that determines 40% of your grade. The good news is that it's organised well and it's easy to gain high marks. Plus the examiners are always really nice and make you feel comfortable. The 2 hour 30 minute written paper is harder, and requires you use grammar, translate, write an essay as well as do reading and listening exercises. But if you work hard from the outset you will actually find this rather fun.

    The course is basically PSHE but in a different language. Each topic is either a debating topic (like smoking, drugs, media, citizenship) or a descriptive topic (hobbies, education, travel). You write essays and have discussions with other students over issues.

    For example in my Spanish exam I had to write an essay on whether domestic violence was a greater threat to people than discrimination. Or in my French oral I had to discuss whether sportsmen were positive role models and if they deserve their high salaries.

    But, despite the odd hiccup here and there, I've really enjoyed French and Spanish and I plan to continue them at A2 as well as study Spanish at uni. When you get to A2, you get to watch films, read books and research the culture of a francophone/Hispanic country which is by far the best bit of the A Level.
    Thank you for your thorough reply; it was very helpful. I think I am going to take both subjects but I plan to prepare myself by going over grammar and vocabulary in the summer. I wish you luck in your future ambition to study Spanish at university!
    If you don't mind answering, how was the step-up between GCSE and A-Level? Was it a manageable jump or an extremely challenging one?
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    (Original post by Thinedivine)
    Thank you for your thorough reply; it was very helpful. I think I am going to take both subjects but I plan to prepare myself by going over grammar and vocabulary in the summer. I wish you luck in your future ambition to study Spanish at university!
    If you don't mind answering, how was the step-up between GCSE and A-Level? Was it a manageable jump or an extremely challenging one?
    No problem.

    The step-up is challenging but manageable if you approach it with the right attitude. The lessons are mostly in French/Spanish and you will ask questions without having a prepared answer (unlike GCSE where everything is scripted). Plus, if you're shy it can be difficult to have spontaneous conversations in French/Spanish. I also did get a lot of grammar homework, since they like to fill in the gap between GCSE-AS. But it is very rewarding when you realise what you can do by the end of the course.

    I strongly recommend you learn your tenses and verb endings. They are usually a stumbling block for most people and it will make your speaking and writing so much easier.

    Also you might find that because you do both languages, you might initially get a little muddled from time to time. I did, but it's a temporary thing as you get used to frequently speaking two different languages.
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    (Original post by Thinedivine)
    Yes I hope I will since I am really passionate about languages and genuinely enjoy learning them. I will have to prepare myself for the grammarXD What are the exams like? I mean how do you find each component and how do they vary in difficulty in your opinion. Thank you for your reply
    I'm on Edexcel for my Spanish A Level, hence I had to do an 8 minute Speaking exam and a 2 1/2 hour Reading/Writing/Listening exam.

    I found the Speaking exam pretty good - you have plenty of time to prepare and you pick your favourite area of the course (Youth Culture, World Around Us, Education & Employment or Healthy Living) for it to be centred on. Unlike at GCSE, you don't know what you'll be specifically asked about - just that it will relate to the topic you chose, so you can't really memorise anything or 'prepare' as such. Whilst this made it a bit more scary to do, the exam itself was fine! As long as you do plenty of mock run throughs with past papers and keep calm, it's fairly straightforward.

    For the 2 1/2 hour exam, the majority of my class found it difficult but I didn't have any major problems with it. As long as you actually revise (!) and really put an effort into learning vocab and wider reading, you should be able to cope with the majority of questions. It's actually a really long exam for the amount of work you have to do (for a change!) so I had plenty of time to double-check answers, grammar etc. I think the main mistake people make with the Languages end-of-year exams is just assume that they don't really need to do any revision for them - it sounds stupid but people just get caught up focusing on their other subjects! Make sure you know your grammar and tenses well, look over past papers, go through your textbook and again learn some wider vocabulary for the weirder questions which will undoubtedly come up and you shouldn't have any problems getting an A or B.

    Hope that helps!
 
 
 
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