Is it possible to study French at A level without a GCSE in French? Watch

QuincyHopper
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I want to study French at A level but I haven’t studied it at GCSE level. I study Spanish and have reached quite a high level quite fast and I now take part in A level classes. I am passionate about languages and thought I would really enjoy taking French at A level, but would I be able to? The head of languages at my school said possibly I could but I’d have to learn a lot fast, which is a challenge I’m willing to accept. Is there any actual legal requirement to take French at GCSE or can I study it if I reach a decent level by the time I begin 6th form. (I haven’t taken my GCSE exams yet)
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bluemuffin
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It’s up to your school to decide, but really if you’re pretty good already and are passionate about languages, I don’t see why you shouldn’t be able to take French at a level. Try some past papers in French gcse and see how well you do. Also remember that a level French is quite a bit harder than at gcse, but that will be the same for everyone.
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MontyZuma
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(Original post by QuincyHopper)
I want to study French at A level but I haven’t studied it at GCSE level. I study Spanish and have reached quite a high level quite fast and I now take part in A level classes. I am passionate about languages and thought I would really enjoy taking French at A level, but would I be able to? The head of languages at my school said possibly I could but I’d have to learn a lot fast, which is a challenge I’m willing to accept. Is there any actual legal requirement to take French at A level or can I study it if I reach a decent level by the time I begin 6th form. (I haven’t taken my GCSE exams yet)
No, there isn't any sort of legal requirement for you to have done GCSE French. The only thing stopping you is your school or college saying no.

If you want to go ahead with it, then do. Just be wary that A-Level is a huge step up from GCSE as it is. Would you be starting French completely from scratch or have you done any before? If it is the former, I would probably advise against it, though if you feel you could you would just have to do a ton of work over the summer (you would certainly need some sort of private tutor or have to go to a course in France) as you would be way way behind the others doing FR A-Level at your school. If it is the latter, then you would still have to put lots of work in this summer.

It is your decision, though. You are obviously a talented linguist and doing 2 modern foreign languages at A-Level is fantastic if you're passionate about them, so if you feel you can put the work in, go for it.
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sundae
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(Original post by QuincyHopper)
I want to study French at A level but I haven’t studied it at GCSE level. I study Spanish and have reached quite a high level quite fast and I now take part in A level classes. I am passionate about languages and thought I would really enjoy taking French at A level, but would I be able to? The head of languages at my school said possibly I could but I’d have to learn a lot fast, which is a challenge I’m willing to accept. Is there any actual legal requirement to take French at A level or can I study it if I reach a decent level by the time I begin 6th form. (I haven’t taken my GCSE exams yet)
It completely depends on your college. I know mine has let a few people do that and they ended up with good grades so it's definitely possible to do well w/o the GCSE. I'm doing A level French right now but only started the GCSE in Year 10 meaning we had to rush through a lot (I literally went into my first A level lesson not knowing any number after 20), but all is well

Good luck!
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QuincyHopper
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(Original post by MontyZuma)
No, there isn't any sort of legal requirement for you to have done GCSE French. The only thing stopping you is your school or college saying no.

If you want to go ahead with it, then do. Just be wary that A-Level is a huge step up from GCSE as it is. Would you be starting French completely from scratch or have you done any before? If it is the former, I would probably advise against it, though if you feel you could you would just have to do a ton of work over the summer (you would certainly need some sort of private tutor or have to go to a course in France) as you would be way way behind the others doing FR A-Level at your school. If it is the latter, then you would still have to put lots of work in this summer.

It is your decision, though. You are obviously a talented linguist and doing 2 modern foreign languages at A-Level is fantastic if you're passionate about them, so if you feel you can put the work in, go for it.
Literally the only experience I have is attempting to learn it by myself for about 2 weeks but that was last summer. However, I feel I could transfer skills from Spanish, which I learnt 90% in the summer at home studying. I think you’re right about the tutor though! Thanks for the advice
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Coughlin
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(Original post by QuincyHopper)
Literally the only experience I have is attempting to learn it by myself for about 2 weeks but that was last summer. However, I feel I could transfer skills from Spanish, which I learnt 90% in the summer at home studying. I think you’re right about the tutor though! Thanks for the advice
To be honest it really does sound like you know what you're doing. French is not a very hard language to learn, it's very similar to English and of course Spanish, and you will probably be able to pick it up quite quickly. When I was in the same position as you last summer for German, what I did was use the Michel Thomas tapes to get a grounding in the language, and then tested myself with GCSE past papers. Even though I didn't understand most of what was going on I could still average an A/A star on the reading and listening from sheer exam technique, and that's what you've got to remember - half the people who did well at GCSE had no idea what was going on either, so you honestly won't be that far behind.

Getting a tutor would certainly not be a bad idea, neither would language classes in France, but those are both fairly expensive. If you are a dedicated linguist you will most likely not have any trouble picking up enough French to roll with in September, especially since, as I say, I think the jump up to A-Level is quite exaggerated for languages especially. Thinking back to my first French lesson, all we did was conjugate verbs in the present tense, so you will definitely have chance to catch up
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QuincyHopper
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Thanks for the support! I definitely think it’ll be a challenge to learn so fast but like you said, there will be people who don’t know that much either. I’m going to try and convince my 6th form to let me study it given that I reach an appropriate level
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HT2412
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(Original post by QuincyHopper)
Thanks for the support! I definitely think it’ll be a challenge to learn so fast but like you said, there will be people who don’t know that much either. I’m going to try and convince my 6th form to let me study it given that I reach an appropriate level
If you want to go to very best universities that want A*/As that would certainly be a risk to do it and have to achieve them in French in 2 years. I'm not saying a risk not worth taking, I'm just saying it would be tough. An A*A*C application (for example) would look a bit strange and universities, generally, wouldn't view such applications favourably. Speak to your teachers / head of department and if they're happy you can do it, and do it to same level as your other subjects in 2 years, then go for it. They know you best, and will know what you're capable of achieving in 2 years.

Having 2 languages at A-Level would be brilliant for future prospects, and you're obviously very talented so don't let me put you off, that's not what I'm trying to do at all. I'm just trying to be practical for you. Good luck whatever you decide.
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QuincyHopper
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(Original post by HT2412)
If you want to go to very best universities that want A*/As that would certainly be a risk to do it and have to achieve them in French in 2 years. I'm not saying a risk not worth taking, I'm just saying it would be tough. An A*A*C application (for example) would look a bit strange and universities, generally, wouldn't view such applications favourably. Speak to your teachers / head of department and if they're happy you can do it, and do it to same level as your other subjects in 2 years, then go for it. They know you best, and will know what you're capable of achieving in 2 years.

Having 2 languages at A-Level would be brilliant for future prospects, and you're obviously very talented so don't let me put you off, that's not what I'm trying to do at all. I'm just trying to be practical for you. Good luck whatever you decide.
Thanks for the advice! I haven’t thought too much about universities so that’s definitely something I should think about
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azby1098
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(Original post by sundae)
It completely depends on your college. I know mine has let a few people do that and they ended up with good grades so it's definitely possible to do well w/o the GCSE. I'm doing A level French right now but only started the GCSE in Year 10 meaning we had to rush through a lot (I literally went into my first A level lesson not knowing any number after 20), but all is well

Good luck!
Most schools start gcses in year 10?? I will have finished all of the content by Feb 2019??
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sundae
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(Original post by tedholbrook)
Most schools start gcses in year 10?? I will have finished all of the content by Feb 2019??
What do you mean? This was back in the ''old days'' with the old spec.
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