A* in my eyes - Journey to Modern Languages at Sheffield

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    Hallo liebe Leute

    I'm now in year 13 (though I am a bit older; 20 years old) and next year I will be heading off to university. I have already achieved an A in A-Level Sociology and this year I am doing A-Level German & Philosophy.

    My targets are going to be:

    A-Level German: A* (AS = A)
    A-Level Philosophy: A (AS = C, 1 mk off B)

    My firm uni will be Sheffield and the course will be modern languages (majoring in German & Beginner's Russian), with Leeds being my insurance and I think my other choices were Birmingham, Manchester and another that I must search for. Sheffield requires ABB and since I already have the A achieved I only need 2 Bs this year, but hey I'm aiming high.

    I've never achieved an A* (at GCSE or A-Level) so this year I really wanna try and do that in German. Because my speaking was a B at AS my teacher doesn't want to predict me the A*, so I'm hoping I can surpass my A grade prediction

    I think most updates I post in here will be related to German and I'll try and post like at least twice a week I guess.

    So yeah uh that's me I hope you... enjoy this idunno.
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    (Original post by Inexorably)
    Hallo liebe Leute

    I'm now in year 13 (though I am a bit older; 20 years old) and next year I will be heading off to university. I have already achieved an A in A-Level Sociology and this year I am doing A-Level German & Philosophy.

    My targets are going to be:

    A-Level German: A* (AS = A)
    A-Level Philosophy: A (AS = C, 1 mk off B)

    My firm uni will be Sheffield and the course will be modern languages (majoring in German & Beginner's Russian), with Leeds being my insurance and I think my other choices were Birmingham, Manchester and another that I must search for. Sheffield requires ABB and since I already have the A achieved I only need 2 Bs this year, but hey I'm aiming high.

    I've never achieved an A* (at GCSE or A-Level) so this year I really wanna try and do that in German. Because my speaking was a B at AS my teacher doesn't want to predict me the A*, so I'm hoping I can surpass my A grade prediction

    I think most updates I post in here will be related to German and I'll try and post like at least twice a week I guess.

    So yeah uh that's me I hope you... enjoy this idunno.
    Good luck it would be interesting to see your learning process, particularly for German
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    Thank you Sean^
    --
    Hello my first update! 21/09

    I've pretty much mainly done stuff for German this week, not really any philosophy as we haven't got '''too deep''' into any theories yet... kinda.
    --
    So this week I've done quite a lot considering it's only Wednesday

    - Started recording a bunch of useful idioms for my German A-Level fromTHIS BOOK.
    - Been working on so-called 'verbalisation' grammar withTHIS BOOK (If you're looking for /really/ difficult grammar, buy this lmao.)
    - Learning all my environment vocab for the goddamn boring environment section of A-Level; have some on Anki but most on GoConqr.
    - On tumblr some1 made a 30 day challenge where you write/speak about whatever the theme is for that day and I've been doing that (speaking and writing a transcript) and yeah it's helping w/ my speaking skills.
    - We have a native German who speaks with us after class now so yeah we did that today... honestly i must have dealt with spoken german for like 4 hours today kill me.
    - Our teacher gave us a grammar booklet to go through the other week and it was menna last like two months but uh I did it in 10 days lmao.
    - Have done a first draft of my german-russian PS, had my teacher look at it today and she said it was a very good first draft and there's only a few things I need to change woo.
    - Borrowed 2 German books and started reading one of them (Kleider Machen Leute) - the other is die Verwandlung.

    Phew yeah and just other sheets for like German class and stuff. Right now I have a small writing homework task to complete yeah so that'll be funnn.
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    Soz I didn't post the whole 2 times a week causee I got into a really *****y emotional state and didn't really do anything for a while. But here I am
    ---
    > Put all the idioms I'd recorded into Anki, gonna record the final bunch next week.
    > Started (and nearly done actually) learning all the verbs which have irregular subjunctive forms (so like... essen > äße (not aß)) for fun.
    > Got my hands on a LOT of pdf books for German grammar, vocab etc. and working through one on verb tenses atm.
    > MY PS IS ALMOST DONE I'm having one last check on Wednesday and it should be fine by then AhhhhHHH!!!
    > Gave up on Kleider Machen Leute as it wass sooooo out of my ability range, now reading bilingual version of Die Verwandlung.
    > Started going through modal particles again and recording example sentences in Anki.
    > I've pretty much completed my UCAS wooo, got all 5 choices (Leeds, Sheffield, Birmingham, Manchester, Nottingham)!
    > Still doing that talking with a native speaker and it's now more about debating so yeah eyah gotta learn those key phrases like "you're out of your mind how can you say that!?" lmfao
    > Started going through a russian textbook thing w.e. in prep for next year

    Ok i can't think anymore. Next time I post there'll be more philosophy (been realllyyy lax with it lately)!
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    Hi Inexorably,

    I'm in an similar situation to yours. I am 19 and retaking A Levels - English and Spanish; and studying German A2 for the first time. My UMS breakdowns are on this link (https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets...it?usp=sharing). I also want to get into Sheffield in 2017, to study the triple joint honours degree Spanish and German with linguistics. Last year (2015-16) I got BCC at A level and want to bring it up to ABB for Sheffield. My UMS scores are close to getting there, but I find German very difficult (I am retaking my Unit 1 this year). I own Wort Für Wort and Hammer's German Grammar (both of which I would strongly recommend), but I am wondering if you have any tips on how to ace the A2 course? My Spanish is fine (the AS is an A, and I'm trying to get the A2 up to at least an A); but my German is not so good. I hate one of my cultural topics (the fall of the Berlin Wall), and I'm pretty bad at the speaking. If you could give me any advice, I would much appreciate it.
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    Also do you have any tips on how to acquire more confidence in the speaking in general? It's the main area in which I lack confidence :/

    Vielen Dank
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    I am so so sorry about the slow reply. I didn't post this week and so didn't check the thread ah apologies.

    (Original post by Nuestro rey)
    Also do you have any tips on how to acquire more confidence in the speaking in general? It's the main area in which I lack confidence :/

    Vielen Dank
    (Original post by Nuestro rey)
    Hi Inexorably,

    I'm in an similar situation to yours. I am 19 and retaking A Levels - English and Spanish; and studying German A2 for the first time. My UMS breakdowns are on this link (https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets...it?usp=sharing). I also want to get into Sheffield in 2017, to study the triple joint honours degree Spanish and German with linguistics. Last year (2015-16) I got BCC at A level and want to bring it up to ABB for Sheffield. My UMS scores are close to getting there, but I find German very difficult (I am retaking my Unit 1 this year). I own Wort Für Wort and Hammer's German Grammar (both of which I would strongly recommend), but I am wondering if you have any tips on how to ace the A2 course? My Spanish is fine (the AS is an A, and I'm trying to get the A2 up to at least an A); but my German is not so good. I hate one of my cultural topics (the fall of the Berlin Wall), and I'm pretty bad at the speaking. If you could give me any advice, I would much appreciate it.
    You'll have to be a bit more specific about what you're struggling with and as I'm only like a month into the A2 I can only give you limited advice x)

    My main thing to say is just, learn all the ****ing vocab and grammar. Most importantly, learn all of the grammar NOW so you have all year to practice it. That's how I aced my AS and once the grammar was out of the way I just learnt vocab. Seriously you need to be very committed if you want to pass the course. I recommend using Anki and writing down ALL of the words you don't understand (yep all of them) and then recording them on Anki (it's flashcard software) and making sure you use them enough to remember them.

    Also, you need to go through the textbook and look very specifically at what the examiner's are going to want you to do at the end of every exam. If you've got the AQA A2 book it says in the contents what the Topic Objectives are. E.g.

    #1 Umweltverschmutzung
    A) Ursachen und Auswirkungen - Discuss types, causes and effects of pollution - Use fixed and dual case prepositions.
    B) Umweltfreundlich unterwegs? - Describe the effects of transport on the environment - Translate the English gerund into German.
    C) Was kann man dagegen tun? - Evaluate measures to reduce pollution. Discuss individual vs. collective responsibilities and actions. - Manipulate verbal and idiomatic phrases with prepositions.

    Thisis what the exam board want you to do and you need to have all the vocab and grammar to be able to do this. Moreover pay attention to what they want in terms of grammar - they especially want to see people using idioms in A2, as well as difficult language such as Konjunktiv I + II, the passive, rarer tenses, etc. Aktion Grammatik! is designed for the A-Level and I'd recommend it over Hammer's - I use Hammer's but it is very intense and tbh only if you want a detailled overview of every possible situation.

    I really wish I could give you help on cultural but we've not started that yet. even as much as you hate it, just try to find something in it that you enjoy and realise that you're doing it for the sake of getting a good grade. For the cultural writing (and probably speaking) you'll need to learn a lot of specific terms as well as (esp. writing) the imperfect tense of many verbs.

    Ah ok I just checked the spreadsheet and you struggle more on the written paper. Honestly pour your heart and soul into writing mock essays and getting your teacher to write them. As for listening and reading... just keep doing it enough and enough + write down any vocab you don't know. Go through all the past papers, kerboodle if your college has it, the entire book and even another textbook (I'm going through 3), go through examiner's reports etc. just learn what the exam board want you to do.

    As for confidence, I really can't give much solid advice here. My confidence only became boosted because I got an A at AS and realised I wasn't as **** as I thought I was. But honestly, even if you're not confident, just fake it and pretend that absolutely everything you're saying is right. Because if you hesitate and it was right anyway, it'd be a waste.

    And naturally incorporate German into your life - listen to music, watch youtube vids/films/tv shows, read newspapers, books and so on. Just throw yourself into it Good luck.
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    Hey, hope you get those amazing grades that you deserve!

    What would you recommend to anyone starting AS German this year? (i.e. me? :hide:)
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    (Original post by TheOtherSide.)
    Hey, hope you get those amazing grades that you deserve!

    What would you recommend to anyone starting AS German this year? (i.e. me? :hide:)
    Eugh it's actuall really hard to do this because of course they've changed the spec and it's all so groovy and different (honestly be so thankful you don't have to do goddamn environment). But as some general tips.

    - Learn ALL the grammar for both years, NOW. It will benefit you soooo much in AS exams and mean you're already prepared for A2 and once it's out of the way you can just focus on vocab and everything else. Tbh there's not even much to learn, just make sure you can do subjunctive I + II, passive in various tenses and irregular verbs in all tenses.

    - Pay close attention to what you're marked on in essays and what question is being asked - content matters so much and you need to make sure absolutely everything you're saying is relevant to what you're being asked. Oh and also use lots of complex grammar cause yeah they're obsessed with it tbf, especially in speaking.

    - Make sure you incorporate the language a lot into your life , as I said to the other guy.

    - But yeah mainly just pay attention to what the exam board actually /want/ you to do and make sure you're doing that. Also learn so much vocab, just learn vocab every. single day. I think it's been over a year for me now where I had more than like 3 days in which I didn't learn a single new german word. But yes learn vocab related to your topics, and very importantly learn about when to use X word instead of Y word (synonyms).

    This book is all about German synonyms and explains which one you should use in what situation and why:

    www.mercaba.org/SANLUIS/IDIOMAS/Alemán/Using German Synonyms.PDF

    I greatly recommend paying attention to:

    - to change
    - to improve
    - to increase

    As they have a plethora of synonyms and appear in A Level all the time.
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    (Original post by Inexorably)
    Eugh it's actuall really hard to do this because of course they've changed the spec and it's all so groovy and different (honestly be so thankful you don't have to do goddamn environment). But as some general tips.
    On the contrary, environment was the first theme we did..

    - Learn ALL the grammar for both years, NOW. It will benefit you soooo much in AS exams and mean you're already prepared for A2 and once it's out of the way you can just focus on vocab and everything else. Tbh there's not even much to learn, just make sure you can do subjunctive I + II, passive in various tenses and irregular verbs in all tenses.

    - Pay close attention to what you're marked on in essays and what question is being asked - content matters so much and you need to make sure absolutely everything you're saying is relevant to what you're being asked. Oh and also use lots of complex grammar cause yeah they're obsessed with it tbf, especially in speaking.

    - Make sure you incorporate the language a lot into your life , as I said to the other guy.

    - But yeah mainly just pay attention to what the exam board actually /want/ you to do and make sure you're doing that. Also learn so much vocab, just learn vocab every. single day. I think it's been over a year for me now where I had more than like 3 days in which I didn't learn a single new german word. But yes learn vocab related to your topics, and very importantly learn about when to use X word instead of Y word (synonyms).

    This book is all about German synonyms and explains which one you should use in what situation and why:

    www.mercaba.org/SANLUIS/IDIOMAS/Alemán/UsingGermanSynonyms.PDF

    I greatly recommend paying attention to:

    - to change
    - to improve
    - to increase

    As they have a plethora of synonyms and appear in A Level all the time.
    Thank you so much for that advice! Okay, so if I live German, learn vocab, become a German grammar Nazi and become an expert at understanding German examiners, I'll be fine?

    Seriously though, looks like I'll have to spend even more time on memrise :afraid:


    BACK to you: What would you say is your favourite grammar rule in German, if you have one? :holmes:
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    (Original post by TheOtherSide.)
    On the contrary, environment was the first theme we did..



    Thank you so much for that advice! Okay, so if I live German, learn vocab, become a German grammar Nazi and become an expert at understanding German examiners, I'll be fine?

    Seriously though, looks like I'll have to spend even more time on memrise :afraid:


    BACK to you: What would you say is your favourite grammar rule in German, if you have one? :holmes:
    Oh are you on AQA? I assume not, cause AQA removed environment in their updated spec. It looks so much better than what we're doing.

    Yes pretty much ;-)

    My favourite grammar rule?!?! Lmaoo I honestly don't think I have one but the most interesting element of German grammar for me is the impersonal passive. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Impers...e_voice#German
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    (Original post by Inexorably)
    Oh are you on AQA? I assume not, cause AQA removed environment in their updated spec. It looks so much better than what we're doing.

    Yes pretty much ;-)

    My favourite grammar rule?!?! Lmaoo I honestly don't think I have one but the most interesting element of German grammar for me is the impersonal passive. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Impers...e_voice#German
    Edexcel. :sad:

    I actually can't get my head around the impersonal passive. :rofl:
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    (Original post by TheOtherSide.)
    Edexcel. :sad:

    I actually can't get my head around the impersonal passive. :rofl:
    Oh I see, am soz you're with them

    It's a hard concept to understand but you just get used to it as time goes on. Literally all you should do is translate "(es) wird" to "there is/people are/someone is" and the past participle to "verb-ing". (not for the dative passive tho)

    Es wird auf der Party getanzt. >> There is/people are/someone is dancing at the party.
    Es wird in der Bibliothek geraucht. >> There is/people are/someone is smoking in the library.
    Zum Supermarkt wird gelaufen. >> There is/people are/someone is walking to the shops.
    Heute wird zu Hause gegessen. >> There is/people are/someone is eating at home today.

    "People are" is probably the best translation, but depends on context.
    --
    It's hard because English always requires a subject for the passive to work and so we can't use intransitive verbs in the passive, so we can't say

    People are walking to the shops (active) > To the shops was walked [by people].

    As "walk" isn't transitive in this case so English can't do it.. But it's possible to in German.

    Though I should note doing it in that way is pretty odd and Es wird auf der Party geraucht is a better example:

    People are smoking at the party (active) > At the party is smoked [by people].

    Smoking isn't transitive in this case, so once again English can't do it, but German can.
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    (Original post by Inexorably)
    Oh I see, am soz you're with them

    It's a hard concept to understand but you just get used to it as time goes on. Literally all you should do is translate "(es) wird" to "there is/people are/someone is" and the past participle to "verb-ing". (not for the dative passive tho)

    Es wird auf der Party getanzt. >> There is/people are/someone is dancing at the party.
    Es wird in der Bibliothek geraucht. >> There is/people are/someone is smoking in the library.
    Zum Supermarkt wird gelaufen. >> There is/people are/someone is walking to the shops.
    Heute wird zu Hause gegessen. >> There is/people are/someone is eating at home.

    "People are" is probably the best translation, but depends on context.
    Still seems like a completely foreign idea to what I'm used to in English :lol: But this would definitely spice up any one of my essays.
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    (Original post by theotherside.)
    still seems like a completely foreign idea to what i'm used to in english :lol: But this would definitely spice up any one of my essays.
    you replied before i saved the edit >: (
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    (Original post by Inexorably)
    you replied before i saved the edit >: (
    Oops..

    (Original post by Inexorably)
    Oh I see, am soz you're with them

    It's a hard concept to understand but you just get used to it as time goes on. Literally all you should do is translate "(es) wird" to "there is/people are/someone is" and the past participle to "verb-ing". (not for the dative passive tho)

    Es wird auf der Party getanzt. >> There is/people are/someone is dancing at the party.
    Es wird in der Bibliothek geraucht. >> There is/people are/someone is smoking in the library.
    Zum Supermarkt wird gelaufen. >> There is/people are/someone is walking to the shops.
    Heute wird zu Hause gegessen. >> There is/people are/someone is eating at home.

    "People are" is probably the best translation, but depends on context.
    --
    It's hard because English always requires a subject for the passive to work and so we can't use intransitive verbs in the passive, so we can't say

    People are walking to the shops (active) > To the shops was walked [by people].

    As "walk" isn't transitive in this case so English can't do it.. But it's possible to in German.

    Though I should note doing it in that way is pretty odd and Es wird auf der Party geraucht is a better example:

    People are smoking at the party (active) > At the party is smoked [by people].

    Smoking isn't transitive in this case, so once again English can't do it, but German can.
    Okay, it now makes a bit more sense, except I still don't think I could fully get my head around this. :emo:
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    (Original post by TheOtherSide.)
    Oops..



    Okay, it now makes a bit more sense, except I still don't think I could fully get my head around this. :emo:
    Just keep practicing ;-) I had a solid rant on my blog when I first discovered the impersonal passive and then like 2 days later I was like "ukno actually i get it and it's kinda useful for showing general activity".

    Tbf though chances of you encountering it in A-Level are not excessive and idk if I've ever actually used it in any like proper exam, perhaps in some essays.
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    I'm applying to Sheffield too, good luck.
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    (Original post by Nirvana1989-1994)
    I'm applying to Sheffield too, good luck.
    Thanks!

    Hate waiting for offers makes me so angsty
    --
    God I am so bad at updating this aren't I, well let me just try and sum everything I've done/going to do:

    - I've updated the hell out of my Anki flashcards. I've learnt pretty much everything in Subjunctive II deck & Essay vocab; right now I'm going through the environment vocab deck which has.... 500 words in it lmao. And I've been creating a vocab deck for the foreign citizens section of the book which we'll do in da future yeahh.. that only has like 100 words atm.

    - In the half term I'm gonan go to college library and do some past papers on the environment section + some extension worksheets from kerboodle. I need to go through and grab vocab off of those now that I think about it hmm.

    - In half term I also totally need to do those philosophy notes... like honestly my philosophy of mind ones are okay but moral philosophy is just everywhere and half of the time they're just filled with me saying "WHY SHOULD I CARE ABOUT OTHER PEOPLE'S HAPPINESS THIS IS A DUMB THEORY" lmao.

    - yeah idk what else im doing i am just gnna hardcore learn german i think
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    (Original post by Inexorably)
    Thanks!

    Hate waiting for offers makes me so angsty
    --
    God I am so bad at updating this aren't I, well let me just try and sum everything I've done/going to do:

    - I've updated the hell out of my Anki flashcards. I've learnt pretty much everything in Subjunctive II deck & Essay vocab; right now I'm going through the environment vocab deck which has.... 500 words in it lmao. And I've been creating a vocab deck for the foreign citizens section of the book which we'll do in da future yeahh.. that only has like 100 words atm.

    - In the half term I'm gonan go to college library and do some past papers on the environment section + some extension worksheets from kerboodle. I need to go through and grab vocab off of those now that I think about it hmm.

    - In half term I also totally need to do those philosophy notes... like honestly my philosophy of mind ones are okay but moral philosophy is just everywhere and half of the time they're just filled with me saying "WHY SHOULD I CARE ABOUT OTHER PEOPLE'S HAPPINESS THIS IS A DUMB THEORY" lmao.

    - yeah idk what else im doing i am just gnna hardcore learn german i think
    I haven't even finished my PS yet haha, but I'm going to dread waiting for offers.

    It sounds like you have a good revision plan sorted
    I definitely need to do a revision timetable for half-term.
 
 
 
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