A level Spanish AQAWatch
Is a level spanish difficult compared to gcse spanish ? what is the specification for this a level? And how are the exams in both year 12 and 13 ? I am currently in year 11 and my predicted grade for gcse spanish is an 8.
I'm in Year 13, the first year doing the new AQA spec, and I wouldn't say that personally I found it too difficult when I started Year 12. I got an A* at GCSE, and am looking to continue it at uni.
In terms of exams, all of them are at the end of Year 13 assuming you are definitely on AQA. It was a new specification starting Sept 2016, so everything is done at the end of the second year.
To begin with, your speaking practice is going to be essential at A Level. Your speaking exam is split into two sections:
1) a presentation about a topic you choose (e.g. immigration into the US from Mexico, War of Drugs etc) + discussion -- this is prepared a while beforehand
2) roleplay -- pure spontaneous speaking, no preparation allowed
The speaking exam is worth 30% of your total grade, so I cannot stress how important it is. If you're not fond of spontaneous speaking, or you get nervous, however, I wouldn't panic too much. I hate it myself, but with the amount of practice you should get in A Level classes, by Year 13, you should much more confident.
Next, 50% of your final grade comes from the Reading, Listening and Writing paper.
This paper includes comprehension, synonym-finding, listening comprehension, summarising what you've heard in 90 words (bane of my life!) and also two translations -- one to English, one to Spanish.
The exam I think is 1h 15m, though . . . Don't quote me on that . . . Just in case . . .
The final 20% of your grade comes from a purely written exam.
For this, you have to study one Spanish film and one Spanish text (a book), or two books, depending on what your school picks.
I'm studying 'Maria, llena eres de gracia' for the film and 'Requiem por un campesino español' and I have to write an essay in Spanish on each, about a page and a half long, and each essay is therefore 10%.
With these, it works a lot like English Literature or Media Studies. You have to be able to read into deeper meanings and speculate, and use the context of the film/text especially if you want to get the top marks. With a film, you're also expected to talk about camera shots to back up any points you make (which seems a little ludicrous if you ask me, but hey, I need to pass).
Finally, I wouldn't let any of this put you off. The sound of the exams terrified me when I went to sign up for Spanish, but it was the topics that drew me in.
At A Level, you debate a lot more and discuss social, current topics in both Spain and South America -- a big step up from GCSE.
Some topics include:
- Hispanic Festivals
- Family and how it has changed
- Dictatorships of S.A.
- Women in Spain
And there are lots of sub-topics; that list is just an overview of what I can remember studying.
Overall, I think that it all depends on how you feel you can develop, what you can deliver in terms of ideas and grades, and how the subject could benefit you.
A Level is a bigger jump from GCSE than it is from A Level to university, so they say, and it is extremely important that you make the right decisions for you. No matter what subject you take, it requires a lot of dedication and extra reading and research, so you have to be prepared to put in that 101% to come out the other side on top.
If you choose to take Spanish, I would recommend listening to Spanish radio, reading Spanish newspapers (like 'El País' or even reading a Spanish text if you can find one -- even online. Practice makes perfect, after all!
I hope this helped you somewhat. I think that Spanish and any subject is only really 'difficult' if you make it hard for yourself. If you can keep on top of the work, I don't think you'll struggle all that much.
If you have any more questions, don't be afraid to ask!
¡Buena suerte con tus exámenes!