languages at alevel?

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ellebooker
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#1
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#1
i really want to french and german at a level because at gcse they were my best and so the best option but would you say they are unsafe options as they are really hard to do really well in and get into a good university for.

Do you do languages at a level - what are french and german like?
Also is there anything you recommend me to do over summer to be extra prepared?
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L_stMemories
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#2
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Personally from what I've heard around me the leap between (I)GCSE Languages and A-Level Languages is absolutely huge, but don't let this discourage you. The fact that you really intend to pursue it further into the higher stages of education clearly says something about your interest in these subjects. Two languages is indeed quite a lot, however.

I think Languages are considered facilitating subjects, meaning that they demonstrate strong and balanced skills which is what universities favour, so taking languages definitely won't hamper your chances of getting in (neither would any subject in general). Other facilitating subjects include Mathematics, English Literature, History, Geography, Biology, Chemistry, Physics...

To summarise, the only caveat is the gap between GCSE and A-Level, but a few things can help bridge this potential gap:
- I'm sure some apps or online (free!) services can help. You probably heard of Duolingo; I've used for a brief moment of time before. Not sure how well it really works for learning languages beyond a proficient level though (which may be required at A-Level).
- Start engaging in French or German literature. Many people in my year studied actual French/German texts for their A-Levels (which evidences the big gap between GCSEs and A-Levels)! Watching movies of French/German-related stuff also might help - honestly, this doesn't sound productive but I think it helps to illuminate what you will be studying at A-Level.
- I think you might have to study French/German history as well (so it's not just about grammar as in the case of GCSEs...I think). It's worth doing something on that too.

What do you think your third (or even fourth?) subject might be? And what plans do you have for university? I think Languages (needless to say) and even Law really favours you having a strong language base. I'm sure any additional subjects will be very complementary as well.

Note: I didn't study a foreign Language - not even at IGCSE level (I did First Language Chinese) - so do make sure you confirm everything with teachers or older students with actual experience.

Hope all this is helpful.
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marniepippa
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#3
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#3
I'd like to do french alevel I know may unis love for a laungage it's the world we live in today
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bvfh
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#4
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youre jokin right?
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11singhd
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#5
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I did German A Level, i did quite well at GCSE but the jump is massive, as with all A Levels you should only do them if you have a genuine interest in them, I found studying the literature and things to be a bit of a bummer but if you do enjoy the languages then I do recommend take it because I have really enjoyed it, class sizes are normally much smaller than the average as they are less popular choices
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mabelchiltern
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#6
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i literally had my last german a-level exam this morning. i absolutely loved german at gcse, and french and latin for that matter, and i've been predicted an A* at a-level (fingers crossed, but would be v happy with an A). for me, there was obviously a big gap between gcse and as. but by the time i got to a2, the gap between as and a2 was much more obvious. i did aqa german at gcse and a-level, so this may not apply to you if you're studying a different spec.

the topics are definitely more interesting and relevant - germany's role in the EU, germany's role with the refugee crisis - very very up to date, recent stuff. my listening exam this year talked about what merkel said about the eu and brexit this year itself! whereas gcse is mostly family, fashion, etc. so the fact that you like it so much now likely means you'll love it in 6th form. it is hard work, though. engaging more in class (verbally in particular) is a must. it might be awkward, but the only way you'll make fewer mistakes in speaking is if you put yourself out there. use quizlet for vocab - don't end up with a bunch of lists of things to learn at the end of the year. be prepared to put in extra work on top of homework etc, because it is definitely not an easy a-level.

the a2 spec for me has been incredible; if you don't do aqa you're bound to have interesting content as well. the vocab and knowledge gained from lessons can be so easily applied in the real world; i was on a plane home from a holiday earlier this year and there were news headlines on the screens in most languages - i was able to understand 90% of the german articles that were going on about trade deals and other political matters, which just shows how many skills you can gain from the a-level.
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ellebooker
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#7
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#7
(Original post by L_stMemories)
Personally from what I've heard around me the leap between (I)GCSE Languages and A-Level Languages is absolutely huge, but don't let this discourage you. The fact that you really intend to pursue it further into the higher stages of education clearly says something about your interest in these subjects. Two languages is indeed quite a lot, however.

I think Languages are considered facilitating subjects, meaning that they demonstrate strong and balanced skills which is what universities favour, so taking languages definitely won't hamper your chances of getting in (neither would any subject in general). Other facilitating subjects include Mathematics, English Literature, History, Geography, Biology, Chemistry, Physics...

To summarise, the only caveat is the gap between GCSE and A-Level, but a few things can help bridge this potential gap:
- I'm sure some apps or online (free!) services can help. You probably heard of Duolingo; I've used for a brief moment of time before. Not sure how well it really works for learning languages beyond a proficient level though (which may be required at A-Level).
- Star engaging in French or German literature. Many people in my year studied actual French/German texts for their A-Levels (which evidences the big gap between GCSEs and A-Levels)! Watching movies of French/German-related stuff also might help - honestly, this doesn't sound productive but I think it helps to illuminate what you will be studying at A-Level.
- I think you might have to study French/German history as well (so it's not just about grammar as in the case of GCSEs...I think). It's worth doing something on that too.

What do you think your third (or even fourth?) subject might be? And what plans do you have for university? I think Languages (needless to say) and even Law really favours you having a strong language base. I'm sure any additional subjects will be very complementary as well.

Note: I didn't study a foreign Language - not even at IGCSE level (I did First Language Chinese) - so do make sure you confirm everything with teachers or older students with actual experience.

Hope all this is helpful.
thank you this has been really useful, i think i might do maths as my third option and maybe languages at uni - perhaps french and arabic?
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ellebooker
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#8
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#8
(Original post by 11singhd)
I did German A Level, i did quite well at GCSE but the jump is massive, as with all A Levels you should only do them if you have a genuine interest in them, I found studying the literature and things to be a bit of a bummer but if you do enjoy the languages then I do recommend take it because I have really enjoyed it, class sizes are normally much smaller than the average as they are less popular choices
thank you, how did you do or was it this year?
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ellebooker
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#9
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#9
that does sound really interesting and useful for just general life as well - i really enjoyed latin at gcse too. would you say it is hard to revise for becuase it is not necessarily facts or easier as there are other options eg. watching films and it is enjoyable?
(Original post by mabelchiltern)
i literally had my last german a-level exam this morning. i absolutely loved german at gcse, and french and latin for that matter, and i've been predicted an A* at a-level (fingers crossed, but would be v happy with an A). for me, there was obviously a big gap between gcse and as. but by the time i got to a2, the gap between as and a2 was much more obvious. i did aqa german at gcse and a-level, so this may not apply to you if you're studying a different spec.

the topics are definitely more interesting and relevant - germany's role in the EU, germany's role with the refugee crisis - very very up to date, recent stuff. my listening exam this year talked about what merkel said about the eu and brexit this year itself! whereas gcse is mostly family, fashion, etc. so the fact that you like it so much now likely means you'll love it in 6th form. it is hard work, though. engaging more in class (verbally in particular) is a must. it might be awkward, but the only way you'll make fewer mistakes in speaking is if you put yourself out there. use quizlet for vocab - don't end up with a bunch of lists of things to learn at the end of the year. be prepared to put in extra work on top of homework etc, because it is definitely not an easy a-level.

the a2 spec for me has been incredible; if you don't do aqa you're bound to have interesting content as well. the vocab and knowledge gained from lessons can be so easily applied in the real world; i was on a plane home from a holiday earlier this year and there were news headlines on the screens in most languages - i was able to understand 90% of the german articles that were going on about trade deals and other political matters, which just shows how many skills you can gain from the a-level.
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L_stMemories
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#10
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#10
(Original post by ellebooker)
thank you this has been really useful, i think i might do maths as my third option and maybe languages at uni - perhaps french and arabic?
You're welcome.

Maths is definitely a solid option for an A-Level regardless what you plan to do at university.

Since you plan to do languages at university, I'm sure both French and German will be of huge benefit to you. Just be aware that two languages can be quite a task, but doubtless you should be fine.

I would not recommend working too hard over the summer after your GCSEs. Those were your first-ever (probably) external examinations and the completion of them should be celebrated in some way, such as relaxing during the long holdiay next. Nonetheless some French or German films may be fun to watch but certainly A-Levels should not be on your mind until you start school again.

Good luck with the rest of your exams.
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MaioftheBlizzard
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#11
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#11
My advice is to go on UCAS and see what unis require for different degrees. There will be a uni that will accept you no matter what A-Levels you did but the better ones are usually pretty specific about what they want you to do at ALevel.
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ellebooker
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#12
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#12
(Original post by 11singhd)
I did German A Level, i did quite well at GCSE but the jump is massive, as with all A Levels you should only do them if you have a genuine interest in them, I found studying the literature and things to be a bit of a bummer but if you do enjoy the languages then I do recommend take it because I have really enjoyed it, class sizes are normally much smaller than the average as they are less popular choices
gcse is probably my best subject at gcse but i completely messed up my speaking which is really annoying, is the literature like english at gcse or harder or easier?
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ellebooker
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#13
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#13
(Original post by L_stMemories)
You're welcome.

Maths is definitely a solid option for an A-Level regardless what you plan to do at university.

Since you plan to do languages at university, I'm sure both French and German will be of huge benefit to you. Just be aware that two languages can be quite a task, but doubtless you should be fine.

I would not recommend working too hard over the summer after your GCSEs. Those were your first-ever (probably) external examinations and the completion of them should be celebrated in some way, such as relaxing during the long holdiay next. Nonetheless some French or German films may be fun to watch but certainly A-Levels should not be on your mind until you start school again.

Good luck with the rest of your exams.
great, you have really encouraged me thank you
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gracewb_93
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#14
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#14
Im year 12 and doing French. It definitely is my subject that I worry most about grade-wise. I got a solid A* at GCSE and am predicted an A/B at A level (I need an A for uni which is why I’m worried). I’ve started having a tutor to try secure an A. The step up is hard but my textbook had bridging work, AS work and A level work so you aren’t completely thrown in at the deep end.
The topics are much more interesting, as someone previously mentioned, and with my exam board at least you do an individual research project as part of your speaking exam which is really interesting.
I’d say it’s my favourite subject to learn, even though I’m most worried about it, because I have such a passion for it. If you really are interested then it’s worth it but it is harder than any of my other subjects because it’s a skill not content based subject, so make sure you’re really certain.
I don’t regret taking it at all, I just worry that it may limit the unis I can apply to and get into, whereas I may have got a better grade in another subject eg economics.
Feel free to ask anymore questions
I hope this helped☺️
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ellebooker
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#15
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#15
(Original post by gracewb_93)
Im year 12 and doing French. It definitely is my subject that I worry most about grade-wise. I got a solid A* at GCSE and am predicted an A/B at A level (I need an A for uni which is why I’m worried). I’ve started having a tutor to try secure an A. The step up is hard but my textbook had bridging work, AS work and A level work so you aren’t completely thrown in at the deep end.
The topics are much more interesting, as someone previously mentioned, and with my exam board at least you do an individual research project as part of your speaking exam which is really interesting.
I’d say it’s my favourite subject to learn, even though I’m most worried about it, because I have such a passion for it. If you really are interested then it’s worth it but it is harder than any of my other subjects because it’s a skill not content based subject, so make sure you’re really certain.
I don’t regret taking it at all, I just worry that it may limit the unis I can apply to and get into, whereas I may have got a better grade in another subject eg economics.
Feel free to ask anymore questions
I hope this helped☺️
yes this was very helpful thank you so if i do work really hard would you say it is accessible to get an a/a* or is that only for really good candidates?
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mabelchiltern
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#16
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#16
(Original post by ellebooker)
that does sound really interesting and useful for just general life as well - i really enjoyed latin at gcse too. would you say it is hard to revise for becuase it is not necessarily facts or easier as there are other options eg. watching films and it is enjoyable?
i'd def say start reading books in the language in year 12 to ease into it. start off with german short stories; i found these in the library and they're good because they're written for people learning the language. it's quite hard to revise because the exams don't really use much of the vocab you learn in parts of the exam like the unseen extract, etc. but getting to grips with a wide range of vocab is the best thing you can do. i watched some films which also helped, with english subtitles at first, then german when i got used to it. reading german news articles or listening to german radio (i listen to inforadio) really does help as well! i used to put on the radio when i was cooking or something and it helped quite a bit
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gracewb_93
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#17
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#17
(Original post by ellebooker)
yes this was very helpful thank you so if i do work really hard would you say it is accessible to get an a/a* or is that only for really good candidates?
If you work really hard you can definitely get those grades. But don’t put all your energy into learning the content. It’s better to really emerse yourself in the languages, read books, watch films, find a french/German-speaking person to talk to, go to the countries if you have a chance. Grammar is important too but you’ll do a lot of that in class so just go over it to remember it.
If you put the effort in you can get the higher grades.
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11singhd
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#18
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#18
(Original post by ellebooker)
thank you, how did you do or was it this year?
Yep, just had my final A2 german exam on friday, had a good feeling about it but we'll wait and see
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