Should I take A Level German? Watch

leapfrog841
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Should I take A Level German?
Hi, so I study GCSE German and have had a nightmare with teachers over the course of my GCSE, many have left or simply been not helpful. As a high achiever I would like to get an A/A* and potentially take it for A Level yet am worried I am too behind. I love the country/culture and ski in Austria a lot so would love to be able to speak better German yet I am worried I wont be good enough to do well at A Level.

Also, I will be attending boarding school next year so the course is very popular for native speaking pupils that board which makes me worry even more I won't be good enough.
Looking for advice from someone who takes/has taken German A Level, will I be able to catch up and how big is the jump from GCSE to A Level?

Many thanks, ask me any questions if that will help give advice.
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学生の父
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It is a big jump. You need a watertight grasp of the grammar by the end of the course, and there is far less by way of scaffolding in the way the exam questions are structured. Also be prepared for writing several hundred words of continuous prose in German with little by way of a stimulous.

German A-level is a well structured and varied course, and you will learn how to use the language in many contemporary contexts, as well as discussing literature (with an option in film studies) in German.

Furthermore, the oral exam is a very good test of if you are able to discuss a range of topics in German.

Personally, I have had bad experiences of being taught alongside native speakers. The teacher took everything at their pace, and I found myself dropping the language after a term. A good teacher, however, being aware of a range of abilities and experience should be able to turn that situation to their advantage.

Does your new school have good results for non-native speakers of German at A-level?
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leapfrog841
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Thank you, and I am not sure as it only shows the results of German A Level I have just heard from someone that it is predominantly native speakers. Is there work I could do in the summer to catch me up?
(Original post by 学生の父)
It is a big jump. You need a watertight grasp of the grammar by the end of the course, and there is far less by way of scaffolding in the way the exam questions are structured. Also be prepared for writing several hundred words of continuous prose in German with little by way of a stimulous.

German A-level is a well structured and varied course, and you will learn how to use the language in many contemporary contexts, as well as discussing literature (with an option in film studies) in German.

Furthermore, the oral exam is a very good test of if you are able to discuss a range of topics in German.

Personally, I have had bad experiences of being taught alongside native speakers. The teacher took everything at their pace, and I found myself dropping the language after a term. A good teacher, however, being aware of a range of abilities and experience should be able to turn that situation to their advantage.

Does your new school have good results for non-native speakers of German at A-level?
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学生の父
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(Original post by leapfrog841)
Thank you, and I am not sure as it only shows the results of German A Level I have just heard from someone that it is predominantly native speakers. Is there work I could do in the summer to catch me up?
In preperation for your GCSE exam, I'd work thoroughly through all the topics. Focus on the grammar and vocabulary as you do so.

Then over the summer, go back and work through your textbooks again. Check that you have mastered the grammar to that point.

Ask your new school what literature or films they will study at A-level. Read the set novel or play in translation, and if you can manage it, start to read it in German. Watch the set film with subtitles.

Something we have found helpful here is to watch the daily Tagesschau online. Some of the news you won't understand, but sometimes you'll catch up with familiar world news (and the exploits of Mutti Merkel). This will help you make connections.

Reading the webpages of German newspapers and magazines could also help.

Finally, if it hasn't been swept away in avalanches, arrange to visit rural Austria or Germany after your GCSEs. Use your German there.

Tschüs!
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rlewa
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(Original post by leapfrog841)
Should I take A Level German?
Hi, so I study GCSE German and have had a nightmare with teachers over the course of my GCSE, many have left or simply been not helpful. As a high achiever I would like to get an A/A* and potentially take it for A Level yet am worried I am too behind. I love the country/culture and ski in Austria a lot so would love to be able to speak better German yet I am worried I wont be good enough to do well at A Level.

Also, I will be attending boarding school next year so the course is very popular for native speaking pupils that board which makes me worry even more I won't be good enough.
Looking for advice from someone who takes/has taken German A Level, will I be able to catch up and how big is the jump from GCSE to A Level?

Many thanks, ask me any questions if that will help give advice.
I do French a level but the a level experience basically the same as German.

The most important thing in the decision to do a level languages is to think 'do I like studying this language and am I prepared to put the work in?'. To be quite honest, the level that you start a level at isn't really that important as you go over GCSE grammar and vocab so so quickly that its much more important that you are enthusiastic and willing to learn.
If they're lots of native speakers then that can be really useful as you'll have people to practice with. I thought my French class would be full of native speakers but there's only one half-French guy who's French isn't actually all that great.

What's different about a level languages to GCSE languages is that (for AQA at least) you learn about different aspects of society as well as film and literature studies. In this way, just speaking the foreign language won't guarantee you the top marks and I think often the non-native speakers do better as they're more motivated to do well at the a level and learn the exam-specific content.

You just can't compare your level of German to native German speakers and it certainly came to me as a harsh reality that I wasn't as good at French as I thought during GCSE. That being said, my French teacher at GCSE was not great and so I motivated myself to learn French semi-independently which has been so useful at a level! If you're in a similar position then that should be really encouraging! My French teacher for a level is the absolute best which helps to keep me motivated so maybe talk to the department teachers at your sixth form and get students' opinions on them.

Ultimately, to do well at a level you don't need great GCSE grades or to be a native speaker. What you need is enthusiasm to learn and a willingness to dedicate time to the language and build up your fluency step by step. The jump from GCSE to a level is definitely big but it is manageble, and doing French a level has got to be the best decision I've made because it's so rewarding. I've made more progress in the last year and a half then I thought was possible and I'd encourage anyone passionate about languages to take them further.
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leapfrog841
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This has been so helpful thank you, yes I am passionate about German and your advice has really motivated me to really work hard at it this year!
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leapfrog841
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Thank you!! I'll definitely start reading the Tagesschau
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MinaBee
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I did two languages at A level so I may be a bit biased but I'd definitely recommend it! It is a big step up but as long as you're prepared to work hard then you'll be absolutely fine. It's a very rewarding subject and by the time you finish year 13 you'll be amazed by how much you've progressed since year 11.

Good luck!
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tompledge
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I’m going to tell you something right here... I got a 4 at GCSE German and I’m still taking it for A Level. I am the only person at A Level and the course is still running but with 5 lessons instead of 9 per fortnight. However, the first 6-7 weeks of the course was spent doing grammar and then we moved into the topics. Personally, I didn’t find the jump big at all! If you want to do it then there is nothing stopping you! It will be like starting fresh anyway when you start the A Level course.
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