People who got an A*/A in a foreign language A-level, how? Watch

moistcloud
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I'm predicted a 9 at GCSE German, and I'm really leaning towards choosing it for A-level, however I'm put off by how difficult I have heard it is (to get an A or an A*).
I am aware all A-levels are hard, but are language A-levels really that much harder than others? Is the jump from GCSE to A-level big? Please tell me your own experiences with a foreign language A-level, and how you revised to get your result.
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Levi23317
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The majority of them are probably native speakers
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moistcloud
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That's why I'm reluctant to choose it
(Original post by Levi23317)
The majority of them are probably native speakers
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Quick-use
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(Original post by moistcloud)
I'm predicted a 9 at GCSE German, and I'm really leaning towards choosing it for A-level, however I'm put off by how difficult I have heard it is (to get an A or an A*).
I am aware all A-levels are hard, but are language A-levels really that much harder than others? Is the jump from GCSE to A-level big? Please tell me your own experiences with a foreign language A-level, and how you revised to get your result.
I did French and Spanish. I don't think it's impossible at all to get grades equivalent to A or A*. In fact, for me it was easier than getting an A or A* in English Lit and History (which I also did).

They key to getting good marks: research and show off extremely advanced grammatical structures, use very sophisticated words and have equally sophisticated ideas. For example, don't say sexism is still bad in the world; instead, say it's morally repugnant yet ironically still ubiquitous within the context of a more evolved and globally connected society.

I'm not a native speaker and definitely not gifted at languages. I just tried my best and always went above and beyond. I even got higher marks than the native speakers. For A2 standard Spanish, I got full marks for oral and writing which even the native speakers couldn't get. Furthermore, I got full marks for every single speaking and writing assessment that I did for AS including exams and mocks. That's because both my ideas and language were extremely sophisticated.

To improve at listening and reading, you just have to continuously practice and build your vocabulary.

(Original post by Levi23317)
The majority of them are probably native speakers
All of my peers at university got either A or A* in a language or two at A level. Not a single one of them were native speakers.

I believe that the number of native speakers who take A level languages account for a very small percentage.
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Levi23317
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(Original post by moistcloud)
That's why I'm reluctant to choose it
It doesnt mean you wont be able to get good grades, but ive heard from people that the grade boundaries can be quite high due to the native speaker (not sure how true that is tho).
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MinaBee
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(Original post by moistcloud)
I'm predicted a 9 at GCSE German, and I'm really leaning towards choosing it for A-level, however I'm put off by how difficult I have heard it is (to get an A or an A*).
I am aware all A-levels are hard, but are language A-levels really that much harder than others? Is the jump from GCSE to A-level big? Please tell me your own experiences with a foreign language A-level, and how you revised to get your result.
Hi!

I got an A in both A-level Spanish and French and I'm not a native speaker (nor were the people in my class who got high grades too). As Quick-use said, it's totally possible to get a high grade in a language A-level without being fluent in it.

I think the hardest thing about languages is the fact that it isn't a subject where you can cram everything a month or two before the exam. It really does require continuous work right from the beginning of year 12. However, that isn't to say you need to be doing hours of work for it every single day. Spending 10-15 minutes a day or every few days learning a couple of new words or going over a grammar point from the start will help you immensely by the time you get to the exam period.

I won't lie and say that languages are an easy A-level because they aren't (but then again, which A-levels are?). If you're really unsure, you can always try it out for a week or two and then drop it/swap it with another subject. I'm sure that a lot of sixth forms are flexible when it comes to subject changes in the first few weeks.

If you're predicted a 9 the you're definitely capable of doing well. It's all about putting the extra effort in.

Good luck with your decisions!
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Gwil
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(Original post by Levi23317)
It doesnt mean you wont be able to get good grades, but ive heard from people that the grade boundaries can be quite high due to the native speaker (not sure how true that is tho).
It is true that the grade boundaries are usually high compared to other subjects (89% for an A* in French last year, for example, as compared to 84% in English Lit), and that this is largely because of the number of native speakers who sit the exams. However, this doesn't mean that you can't do as well as them, as previous posters have said: if you love the language and go out of your way to immerse yourself in it, watching films in it, reading things in it, and acquiring a certain fluency of thought in it while polishing your grammar, you could definitely compete for the A*s. Go for it!
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moistcloud
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Thank you for your advice! I've approached the GCSE in a similar manner so it's reassuring to hear that a similar approach works for A-level
(Original post by Quick-use)
I did French and Spanish. I don't think it's impossible at all to get grades equivalent to A or A*. In fact, for me it was easier than getting an A or A* in English Lit and History (which I also did).

They key to getting good marks: research and show off extremely advanced grammatical structures, use very sophisticated words and have equally sophisticated ideas. For example, don't say sexism is still bad in the world; instead, say it's morally repugnant yet ironically still ubiquitous within the context of a more evolved and globally connected society.

I'm not a native speaker and definitely not gifted at languages. I just tried my best and always went above and beyond. I even got higher marks than the native speakers. For A2 standard Spanish, I got full marks for oral and writing which even the native speakers couldn't get. Furthermore, I got full marks for every single speaking and writing assessment that I did for AS including exams and mocks. That's because both my ideas and language were extremely sophisticated.

To improve at listening and reading, you just have to continuously practice and build your vocabulary.


All of my peers at university got either A or A* in a language or two at A level. Not a single one of them were native speakers.

I believe that the number of native speakers who take A level languages account for a very small percentage.
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moistcloud
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Thank you for your reply! I think the fact you have to work continuously hard throughout the year is a good thing for me, because in the end it was probably the easiest GCSE I did (Although I revised a lot I found I already knew it well).
(Original post by MinaBee)
Hi!

I got an A in both A-level Spanish and French and I'm not a native speaker (nor were the people in my class who got high grades too). As Quick-use said, it's totally possible to get a high grade in a language A-level without being fluent in it.

I think the hardest thing about languages is the fact that it isn't a subject where you can cram everything a month or two before the exam. It really does require continuous work right from the beginning of year 12. However, that isn't to say you need to be doing hours of work for it every single day. Spending 10-15 minutes a day or every few days learning a couple of new words or going over a grammar point from the start will help you immensely by the time you get to the exam period.

I won't lie and say that languages are an easy A-level because they aren't (but then again, which A-levels are?). If you're really unsure, you can always try it out for a week or two and then drop it/swap it with another subject. I'm sure that a lot of sixth forms are flexible when it comes to subject changes in the first few weeks.

If you're predicted a 9 the you're definitely capable of doing well. It's all about putting the extra effort in.

Good luck with your decisions!
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moistcloud
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Luckily enough grammar is my favourite part of German I think I will do it! My only reservations were that because I want to do medicine, it didn't seem as relevant as maths or physics, but since I'm already going to be doing Chemistry and Biology it should be fine.
(Original post by Gwil)
It is true that the grade boundaries are usually high compared to other subjects (89% for an A* in French last year, for example, as compared to 84% in English Lit), and that this is largely because of the number of native speakers who sit the exams. However, this doesn't mean that you can't do as well as them, as previous posters have said: if you love the language and go out of your way to immerse yourself in it, watching films in it, reading things in it, and acquiring a certain fluency of thought in it while polishing your grammar, you could definitely compete for the A*s. Go for it!
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