How difficult is French A-level compared to GCSE?

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Retired_Messiah
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I'm doing really well at GCSE french, my predicted grade is an A, I'm currently redoing a writing piece that I got a B on and if I get A* in that my french teacher reckons I could get an A* overall, so long as I don't **** up the exams (unlikely that that'll happen, A and A* in my two mocks and all that...)

So I've been considering taking French for A level, as I have no real career plan I figure I'd take subjects I currently enjoy and am good at. However I've been hearing that french A level is really hard, so how difficult is it compared to GCSE?
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Mariee16
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well I don't actually do French but the step up to Spanish A level was so hard, infact i've dropped out of the exam this year and am doing the AS over 2 years. I would guess the step up is similar, i wouldn't say don't do it but really be prepared for it
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chloevictoria
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To be honest, you can get a good grade in an A-level language if you have in-depth opinions on a variety of issues (as well as the basic foundations of grammar of course). If you want a good grade at A-level, be prepared (I'm talking A/A*) because some people who get A/A* at GCSE in a language go on to get Cs and below in AS/in the overall A-level. I found the bit people (including myself) often struggled with was doing the extra work for it. You've also got to be able to speak spontaneously etc for the speaking exams... you can't simply learn it off by heart. My teacher called GCSE French a lie because it gave people false impressions of their ability. However it doesn't mean everyone does badly! I'd say go for it because it can be really rewarding. I read somewhere that French is the second most difficult A-level after Chemistry (probably not entirely true... but you get the idea :P)
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pseudonymegg
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totally agree, GCSE languages are a walk in the park compared to AS/A2 - don't be put off though, if you're passionate about French you won't find the work too arduous and you should be willing to put the effort in that is required.
The subjects in AS are more or less the same as GCSE but in more depth. However, GCSE requires you to basically just memorise what you've written before, it's a test of memory not of your command of the language. AS oral and an essay you have to write in the exam forces you to improvise and be able to write/speak efficiently in French without pre prepared answers.
Really enjoyed French A-Level and am currently studying French at Warwick uni, definitely recommend!
Bonne Chance!
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Nadin123k
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(Original post by Retired_Messiah)
I'm doing really well at GCSE French, my predicted grade is an A, I'm currently redoing a writing piece that I got a B on and if I get A* in that my French teacher reckons I could get an A* overall, so long as I don't **** up the exams (unlikely that that'll happen, A and A* in my two mocks and all that...)

So I've been considering taking French for A level, as I have no real career plan I figure I'd take subjects I currently enjoy and am good at. However I've been hearing that French A level is really hard, so how difficult is it compared to GCSE?
Hey I'm an A2 French student and I'm not gonna like, it's not easy, but I definitely enjoy it. The step up between AS and GCSE isn't that big, you just have to be very open minded, I didn't work much on french during AS (I was more focused on Biology and chemistry because those require a lot more work) and somehow still managed to get a B. The good thing about french is, if you take it on for A2 redoing your AS at the end of year 13 is so much easier, and you're likely to go up a grade, and you don't have revise much for the speaking/ written exam because your vocabulary etc will have developed immensely.

For A2 we study debatable topics such as religion, immigration, the burqa, books over movies etc. We have also just finished studying france during world war 2 and we are currently studying a book called Un Sac de Billes.

A2 french is so interesting, I didn't do History for GCSE so I really enjoyed learning about the wars etc, and the debatable topics you study are also really interesting (a lot more interesting then the AS topics i.e. smoking, obesity etc lol)

Regarding your GCSE grade, if you have A*s in your controlled assessments then you are guaranteed an A* overall (my teacher said to me; even if you get a B in the listening and reading, you will still have an A* overall)

Seeing as you're undecided about your future career plans, then I would definitely recommend doing French as it is very highly regarded amongst universities, as well as employers ( apparently, in London, over 70% employers want to see that you are able to speak in a different language, and this percentage will only increase and the number of foreigners living in the UK increases)

If you have any questions regarding french, or any a level choices then feel free to PM me, I'll be happy to help
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antisansculotte
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Current AS French student here, I got an A last year and 2 A*'s on my exams and I definitely found the transition difficult. Ended up getting a D on my mock because I didn't really understand how the speaking and writing sections worked, but I've made a steady improvement since then. French is absolutely very homework heavy (my most homework heavy subject, even though I take four other essay subjects) but you shouldn't underestimate how much you can improve when you have more lessons (I had five hours up from two) and a much smaller class (my class is only 8 people!).

The good news is that French is very well respected as an A-Level, and when you do well you feel a great sense of achievement.
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cyrillics
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I found the transition quite easy, but I went to a secondary with a specialism in languages so I was well versed in all the grammar rules etc that we did during the first term (I got an A* at GCSE). For me, the main issue was being able to write/speak without any aids or memorisation or anything - I don't know about other exam boards, but on Edexcel, you have to write a 240 word essay in the exam and speak on a specified topic with an external examiner without having prepared set phrases like you can at GCSE. I found that really scary at first but after practice, it was easy and I got a high A in AS.

I absolutely love French and have chosen to do it at degree so I would highly recommend. It's useful for any humanities or social science course at uni and the lessons aren't that taxing compared my other two (English lit and History).
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Nadin123k
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(Original post by cyrillics)
I found the transition quite easy, but I went to a secondary with a specialism in languages so I was well versed in all the grammar rules etc that we did during the first term (I got an A* at GCSE). For me, the main issue was being able to write/speak without any aids or memorisation or anything - I don't know about other exam boards, but on Edexcel, you have to write a 240 word essay in the exam and speak on a specified topic with an external examiner without having prepared set phrases like you can at GCSE. I found that really scary at first but after practice, it was easy and I got a high A in AS.

I absolutely love French and have chosen to do it at degree so I would highly recommend. It's useful for any humanities or social science course at uni and the lessons aren't that taxing compared my other two (English lit and History).
Congrats!
Mind me asking where you've applied?
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cyrillics
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(Original post by Nadin123k)
Congrats!
Mind me asking where you've applied?
I've applied for French and Russian at Bristol, Durham, UCL, Manchester and Edinburgh. I've had offers from everywhere except Edinburgh ☺️
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Nadin123k
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Aaw wow congrats! Which one's your favourite?
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lucie18
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French A-level, as everyone has said above, isn't a subject you can just fly past with, you need to work!!! But if you work hard, the subject should be easy. I'm currently sitting on a predicted A*, and I guess the best advice I can give you is work from the very beginning- this means all the vocab and grammar- and tadah! An easy A
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lucie18
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(Original post by lucie18)
French A-level, as everyone has said above, isn't a subject you can just fly past with, you need to work!!! But if you work hard, the subject should be easy. I'm currently sitting on a predicted A*, and I guess the best advice I can give you is work from the very beginning- this means all the vocab and grammar- and tadah! An easy A
the only scary thing is the speaking exam :O
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