Spanish A level - how I got an A only working in study leave

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rebeccatwsykes
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Hey this is just a massive post on help, tips and advice on how to do well at Spanish A level. I absolutely hated it for the whole 2 years, did the bare minimum, only worked during study leave and got an A. This is how I did it:

so basically its all about working smart not hard. all throughout school they got us to do rubbish that wasn't helping but ill try and outline what I did in like a month (this was the structure of my exams - AQA new spec):
-ORAL CONVERSATION
go through the textbooks and write notes about the USEFUL content (not like the poems haha). for vocab and grammar, make sure to stretch yourself but not too much, think what you would reasonably be able to say in the exam. as you go through, start 2 lists of cool words/phrases useful for that topic and for anything. learn your notes!! if you have time: read about the topics using Spanish news articles, especially peoples' opinions. I found that the hardest thing about this exam was what I was gonna say, not the fact it was in Spanish bc some of the questions are kinda bad and I don't have much to say on them haha
-ORAL PRESENTATION
write headings/questions and start off with bullet points of random info then prepare some sentences/answers and make it flow so you don't freak out as soon as you're asked a question. try and prepare for loads of questions just in case, and choose a topic with things like benefits, consequences, processes, ie not just factual stuff
-LISTENING/READING
you literally can't prepare apart from learn vocab n grammar which you will have done. just go and do your best. the listening bit you'll just pick up naturally, listening to stuff a native speaker would listen to will scare you as this is too hard, both speed and vocab wise
-FILM&TEXT ESSAYS
don't write essay after essay, most useless thing my teacher made me do. went from getting 50% in school up until may to 81% in the exam. basically go through the film/text and at EVERY scene big or small, make notes on every theme/character you can squeeze out of that section!! write about every little thing you could possibly want to make a point about. this way there is a finite amount of notes to make, unlike picking random themes and selecting the scenes that fit, theres no end to that and you'll feel like you haven't accomplished anything. throughout all of this have a translator on hand to add to vocab lists when words pop into your head that you wanna say. I kinda forgot how important vocab is here bc you may come up with new points in the exam that you haven't planned so the only thing you'll need is vocab. I honestly don't think you need to practise 'essay skills,' thats not what they're examining, just answer the question clearly with balanced points and make sure you're sticking to the question thats all
-VOCAB
only learn words that could be useful in the exams! write list English to Spanish, read through, write Spanish again slowly, keep this list in your bag and take it out whenever you have a spare few mins. then don't forget about it!! write it out a month later when you've probs forgotten it. I must admit I sucked at learning vocab though haha
I also when for example I was travelling, would get out my vocab list and make up sentences using each word. don't know where I was going with it but definitely helped them to stick and engaged my brain more
-GRAMMAR
we finished the grammar after AS and then I guess it comes naturally after that, and hopefully you've had read a lot so you can pick it up. verb tables are boring but you gotta learn them thoroughly. only active revision I did was playing verb games online which really helped even if it did stress me out when I got it wrong lol
-GENERAL
make sure all your notes are yours, use resources but they may be too easy/hard so adjust them. I made the mistake of my AS notes being too easy as I wanted to just learn the content, but I ended up completely re-doing them - I gave consideration to the difficulty level I was writing in, making sure it pushed me but I was capable of saying/writing it.
even the exercises in the textbook will ONLY be useful if you learn something from them. write notes on the content and add to vocab lists. then come back to them in a few weeks.
and if you have friends doing Spanish, have conversations with them as they're probably at a similar level to you and you can each gain a lot from hearing what the other has to say

this was effort so pls appreciate lol *gets no replies*
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Shushaxx
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Thanks so much I’ve been looking for a useful spanish forum of advice I’m currently struggling with speaking fluently and like our school says read and listen to spanish br don’t recommend any good resources do u have any? Xx
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rebeccatwsykes
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(Original post by hanaahxox)
Thanks so much I’ve been looking for a useful spanish forum of advice I’m currently struggling with speaking fluently and like our school says read and listen to spanish br don’t recommend any good resources do u have any? Xx
No problem hmm I'm not sure I can answer that as I honestly didn't do anything to actively improve my speaking fluency, it just came naturally throughout the 6 years that I was exposed to the language. just keep speaking, even if you get it wrong you have to make mistakes to be able to learn from them! For the presentation I watched loads of youtube videos, some were too hard and some were perfect, I also tried BBC Mundo and El Pais (Spanish newspapers) which can be very useful, just type in a topic you need to learn or find something you're interested in x
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georgebiss
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I totally agree with you about the oral exams, I absolutely hate the questions as I sometimes wouldn’t even know what to say in English ahah. What topic did you do for your presentation and what films and texts did you do, out of curiosity?
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katea16
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Why does everyone hate language a levels? Ive just started French as a yr 12 and im worried i will end up hating it too
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Shushaxx
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It’s just hard to balance spanish for me because I do two sciences
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rebeccatwsykes
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(Original post by georgebiss)
I totally agree with you about the oral exams, I absolutely hate the questions as I sometimes wouldn’t even know what to say in English ahah. What topic did you do for your presentation and what films and texts did you do, out of curiosity?
ikr I don't get why the people that write the questions struggle to write good ones!! maybe try and think 'what kinda things would the examiner want me to be saying in response to this question'. I also found a couple of sample oral exams on the AQA website which helped, and don't forget you can try and twist the conversation into a direction you want it to go to link to something you can talk about. I did tourism in Barcelona, how and why it came about and advantages & disadvantages to the residents, and did Volver and La Case de Bernarda Alba x
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rebeccatwsykes
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(Original post by katea16)
Why does everyone hate language a levels? Ive just started French as a yr 12 and im worried i will end up hating it too
don't worry about it!! when I tell you I was the only one in my year to not like it, I really mean that. everyone else (16 others) and even those that dropped after AS absolutely loved it they literally almost thought they were hispanic lmao. I think the only thing was the frustration of not understanding what stuff means, but thats obviously to be expected and if you like it you'll be fiiiine
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rebeccatwsykes
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(Original post by hanaahxox)
It’s just hard to balance spanish for me because I do two sciences
I did maths and physics as my other subjects and got A and B (2 marks off an A) respectively so I found the balance okay (also had a lot of s*** go down during the 2 years so I couldn't work all that much), but dw you'll smash it
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georgebiss
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(Original post by rebeccatwsykes)
ikr I don't get why the people that write the questions struggle to write good ones!! maybe try and think 'what kinda things would the examiner want me to be saying in response to this question'. I also found a couple of sample oral exams on the AQA website which helped, and don't forget you can try and twist the conversation into a direction you want it to go to link to something you can talk about. I did tourism in Barcelona, how and why it came about and advantages & disadvantages to the residents, and did Volver and La Case de Bernarda Alba x
Oh nice I’m doing the same play and film too and yeah I’ve got to do my oral exams this year so I’m definitely gonna need to practice some of these questions
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rebeccatwsykes
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(Original post by georgebiss)
Oh nice I’m doing the same play and film too and yeah I’ve got to do my oral exams this year so I’m definitely gonna need to practice some of these questions
ah good luck with them, not sure I can help as I've forgotten most of it but I think they're the best ones. hopefully your practice pays off x
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etherealism
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this is so helpful and kinda inspiring bc i do the same A levels as you did

how much would you recommend rereading the book and rewatching the movie?
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rebeccatwsykes
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(Original post by etherealism)
this is so helpful and kinda inspiring bc i do the same A levels as you did

how much would you recommend rereading the book and rewatching the movie?
ahh thats so good to hear!! I think obviously watch/read the whole thing in one go at the beginning and at the end, and maybe once or twice throughout the year(s) but when analysing its kinda only necessary to focus on parts, as long as you can remember the plot and everything
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Zainab4hmed
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I found this incredibly useful as I have my Spanish A level coming up soon and I've been struggling a bit with the Oral.
Thank you so much!

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rebeccatwsykes
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(Original post by Zainab4hmed)
I found this incredibly useful as I have my Spanish A level coming up soon and I've been struggling a bit with the Oral.
Thank you so much!
no problemo, good luck with it! x
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username1876553
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Your advice is honestly the best I've seen. The content and research are just the building blocks, the examiners just want adequate delivery in the language itself. Legit, use the subjunctive and they will be over the moon. *Uses haya and quizás in every essay*

For the oral presentation, I’m just gonna billy bullshi-t about overpopulation in Hispanic countries and pray for that A

I’ve never revised content before a reading and listening exam, the only thing that puts me off is when it’s a deep voice, I can’t decipher it for mierda

Freaking LCDBA, Bernarda that puta just had to put leashes on her kids just for them to fall head over heels for this Pepe guy. Let’s not get started on Volver, I still don’t know if Irene is a fantasma or not, the woman just crawled out the boot of a car like it was nothing.

How's your memory of the language after completing the course? For some people I've heard it's something you can't forget whereas others can only recall goma and perro
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Shushaxx
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(Original post by Dunya)
Your advice is honestly the best I've seen. The content and research are just the building blocks, the examiners just want adequate delivery in the language itself. Legit, use the subjunctive and they will be over the moon. *Uses haya and quizás in every essay*

For the oral presentation, I’m just gonna billy bullshi-t about overpopulation in Hispanic countries and pray for that A

I’ve never revised content before a reading and listening exam, the only thing that puts me off is when it’s a deep voice, I can’t decipher it for mierda

Freaking LCDBA, Bernarda that puta just had to put leashes on her kids just for them to fall head over heels for this Pepe guy. Let’s not get started on Volver, I still don’t know if Irene is a fantasma or not, the woman just crawled out the boot of a car like it was nothing.

How's your memory of the language after completing the course? For some people I've heard it's something you can't forget whereas others can only recall goma and perro
I’m doing La Casa too how are you revising it x
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username1876553
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(Original post by Hanahxox)
I’m doing La Casa too how are you revising it x
I've barely revised for it yet since the speaking exam is next month- I'm trying to focus on that in depth.

Usually how I revise for it is making mind maps of the characters and themes. I go through previous essays and LCDBA booklets that I've completed. To be honest, even if the question is based on a character, it'll always be about topics in the play, for example:

“La sociedad representada en la obra tiene un código moral estricto que solo las mujeres deben seguir”¿Hasta qué punto estas de acuerdo con esta afirmación?

So we have to talk about las expectaciones sociales, las mujeres, la tradición. If you've revised the topics mainly, it'll be easy to answer the question.

How's it going for you?
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rebeccatwsykes
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(Original post by Dunya)
Your advice is honestly the best I've seen. The content and research are just the building blocks, the examiners just want adequate delivery in the language itself. Legit, use the subjunctive and they will be over the moon. *Uses haya and quizás in every essay*

For the oral presentation, I’m just gonna billy bullshi-t about overpopulation in Hispanic countries and pray for that A

I’ve never revised content before a reading and listening exam, the only thing that puts me off is when it’s a deep voice, I can’t decipher it for mierda

Freaking LCDBA, Bernarda that puta just had to put leashes on her kids just for them to fall head over heels for this Pepe guy. Let’s not get started on Volver, I still don’t know if Irene is a fantasma or not, the woman just crawled out the boot of a car like it was nothing.

How's your memory of the language after completing the course? For some people I've heard it's something you can't forget whereas others can only recall goma and perro
Ahh thank youu. yep hopefully you are comfortable using the subjunctive, be aware of when to use it though as the examiner will know you're just trying to show off if you use it when it isn't needed
sounds like a good theme you've chosen, good luck:P
lol I've never heard of someone not liking a deep Spanish voice, no clue what advice to give on that
I legit started making memes using Pepe the frog at the end of my notes I got so bored
lmaoooo
well I never really come across Spanish now, I think if it was catered to native speakers, I wouldn't understand much but maybe if I came across some A level stuff id know the majority of it. but im never gonna try and learn it again so im very happy with forgetting it all and leaving space in my memory for things like my degree!!
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Gossamer
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Hola soy española. Me ofrezco por si alguien quiere practicar español conmigo
Excuse me but i believed that the n with the hat could be seen here... haha
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