wemove
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How hard is Spanish at A levels compared to GCSE?
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caitlin_riley__
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If you understand Spanish vocabulary at GCSE and get a grade 8 or 9 you should be able to transition well into A level.
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AHoek10
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Obviously, A Level for any subject is going to harder than GCSE: A Level Spanish is no exception and some aspects are harder than GCSE. However, compared to many sciences, the jump from yr 11 to yr 12 isn’t as big.

On one hand, A Level isn’t that much harder. Even though you are learning about more complex issues and topics, the content isn’t massively more difficult than GCSE and as long as you have a good foundation in GCSE you should do well. You obviously do have to learn quite a bit of a vocab but I found that the vocab only really became more difficult in yr 13.

Also, just like GCSE, the speaking exam is the easiest exam, and just like GCSE, you have a ‘photo card’ with questions on it. And even though the texts in your reading exam and audio in your listening exam will be authentic Spanish texts, it isn’t the particularly difficult either to keep up. Also a bonus at A-level is that instead of only hearing it twice at GCSE, you get an MP3 player or a computer where you control the audio and you can pause, rewind, fast forward and listen to it is many times as you want.

At A-level (at least with AQA ) you have to study a film and write an essay about that film in the exam. Although it may seem daunting actually it isn’t too difficult. Once you know some vocab in regards to writing an essay (eg, for example, this shows that, in conclusion etc.) it isn’t too hard, because movies can be easily watche in an hour and a half and generally speaking, there is lots to talk in regards to characters and themes.

Something that is very different at A-level is that in the speaking exam, you have to give a two minute presentation in Spanish about a topic of your choice to the examiner and then afterwards have a 10 minute conversation (in Spanish) about said chosen topic. It might seem very daunting and you do have to do a lot of research before the exam. However, if you have a genuine interest in the Hispanic world and your chosen question, then it shouldn’t be a chore to research it and most A Level students should find it easy to talk with someone for 10 minutes in Spanish about something they’ve been researching for the past two years.

However, there are some aspects that are very different and a bit more difficult. One big difference however, is that at GCSE, you only had to talk about yourself and your opinions. However at A level, you are expected to have an understanding of the Hispanic world and what’s going on in Spain and Latin America. For example, for AQA you learn about topics such as feminism, LGBT rights, immigrantion, dictatorships etc. where you can’t just talk about your opinions but you have to know about the situation in different Hispanic countries. However, again, as long as you have a genuine interest in the Hispanic World, this should be very interesting to learn about Franco’s dictatorship or student protests in Chile. (If not, than A Level might not be right for you).

Also tenses become more difficult because a GCSE you can get away with simply doing three tenses whereas at A-level you have to include indicative/subjunctive, pluperfect, present perfect etc. But that’s just a matter of learning it and you’ll pick it up soon enough.

For me what is particularly difficult, is the fact that we have to read a Spanish book and write an essay on that book in Spanish. I’m not sure if that is because the book I had to study was particularly dry, but that’s something I particularly found challenging, especially since reading on authentic Spanish tax form the early 20th century is very difficult.

Overall, I would say even though there is a jump between GCSE and A-level and some aspects of the course can be unfamiliar, the jump it isn’t a massive one and most people who got a 7,8 or 9 at GCSE should be able to cope with A Level.
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wemove
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(Original post by AHoek10)
Obviously, A Level for any subject is going to harder than GCSE: A Level Spanish is no exception and some aspects are harder than GCSE. However, compared to many sciences, the jump from yr 11 to yr 12 isn’t as big.

On one hand, A Level isn’t that much harder. Even though you are learning about more complex issues and topics, the content isn’t massively more difficult than GCSE and as long as you have a good foundation in GCSE you should do well. You obviously do have to learn quite a bit of a vocab but I found that the vocab only really became more difficult in yr 13.

Also, just like GCSE, the speaking exam is the easiest exam, and just like GCSE, you have a ‘photo card’ with questions on it. And even though the texts in your reading exam and audio in your listening exam will be authentic Spanish texts, it isn’t the particularly difficult either to keep up. Also a bonus at A-level is that instead of only hearing it twice at GCSE, you get an MP3 player or a computer where you control the audio and you can pause, rewind, fast forward and listen to it is many times as you want.

At A-level (at least with AQA ) you have to study a film and write an essay about that film in the exam. Although it may seem daunting actually it isn’t too difficult. Once you know some vocab in regards to writing an essay (eg, for example, this shows that, in conclusion etc.) it isn’t too hard, because movies can be easily watche in an hour and a half and generally speaking, there is lots to talk in regards to characters and themes.

Something that is very different at A-level is that in the speaking exam, you have to give a two minute presentation in Spanish about a topic of your choice to the examiner and then afterwards have a 10 minute conversation (in Spanish) about said chosen topic. It might seem very daunting and you do have to do a lot of research before the exam. However, if you have a genuine interest in the Hispanic world and your chosen question, then it shouldn’t be a chore to research it and most A Level students should find it easy to talk with someone for 10 minutes in Spanish about something they’ve been researching for the past two years.

However, there are some aspects that are very different and a bit more difficult. One big difference however, is that at GCSE, you only had to talk about yourself and your opinions. However at A level, you are expected to have an understanding of the Hispanic world and what’s going on in Spain and Latin America. For example, for AQA you learn about topics such as feminism, LGBT rights, immigrantion, dictatorships etc. where you can’t just talk about your opinions but you have to know about the situation in different Hispanic countries. However, again, as long as you have a genuine interest in the Hispanic World, this should be very interesting to learn about Franco’s dictatorship or student protests in Chile. (If not, than A Level might not be right for you).

Also tenses become more difficult because a GCSE you can get away with simply doing three tenses whereas at A-level you have to include indicative/subjunctive, pluperfect, present perfect etc. But that’s just a matter of learning it and you’ll pick it up soon enough.

For me what is particularly difficult, is the fact that we have to read a Spanish book and write an essay on that book in Spanish. I’m not sure if that is because the book I had to study was particularly dry, but that’s something I particularly found challenging, especially since reading on authentic Spanish tax form the early 20th century is very difficult.

Overall, I would say even though there is a jump between GCSE and A-level and some aspects of the course can be unfamiliar, the jump it isn’t a massive one and most people who got a 7,8 or 9 at GCSE should be able to cope with A Level.
Thank you so much, you really helped
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