The Student Room Group

How to keep up a GCSE language if you're not doing it for A-level?

Hi, so basically I've just started Year 12 and I'm doing Spanish, English Literature and Maths for A-level. I did French and Spanish at GCSE - they were my favourite subjects and my only 9s (apart from English literature). I was considering doing both for A-level, but I eventually decided it would be better to just do three A-levels (and I think this was the right choice as English and Maths are both quite taxing). I spent ages deciding on which one to do, and I eventually landed on Spanish since I thought the language was less similar to English, as French and English have a lot of shared vocabulary, and I also thought Spanish grammar and vocab in general would be a bit harder to learn on my own. My level in both languages has always been quite similar; I started them both around the same time in primary school, and even though in Year 7 I didn't do French (I did Latin instead), I got my French and Spanish to pretty similar standards in Year 8 and throughout GCSE. I thought that during A-levels it would be easy to keep up my French and get it to a similar standard to Spanish as I thought it would be the easier language to do on my own. However, now that I've started A-level Spanish, I already feel like my French is deteriorating. I'm at a new high school for Sixth Form (which is a much better than my old one) and a lot more people here do arty/language/humanities A-levels (my old school was very STEM- orientated, and I was one of the few people doing arts subjects, even at GCSE (Art, Drama as well as French and Spanish for my choices), so I didn't get much support, and there were only a few people who even liked languages. However at my new school, most people are doing just the A-levels they like, and even in my Spanish class, there are two girls who are also doing French A-level, and one of them is doing Greek as well. A lot of people do French A-level as well, and even though it's only been a few months I feel like their French is much better than mine, even though I thought it would be easy to get up to an A-level standard. They have a lot of extracurricular and enrichment activities here, and for one of the volunteering ones, I chose to do a club where I help teach younger students at another school French, because I thought it would easily help me keep up my French. However, it's not really working and I'm really worried that I'm just going to lose my French, and it's going to end up below a GCSE standard (which generally isn't that high anyway.) I know I'm really good at French and Spanish, as teachers have told me, I've never struggled with them, and my accents for both are really good - although I don't have the best speaking proficiency due to not that many resources to practice at my old school. I'm sorry, I know this is really long, but I was wondering if anyone had any advice for how to keep up my French, and specifically to an A-level standard? I've currently been using apps like Duolingo, which I find really helpful and were pretty much all my revision for GCSE, but since my focus has been on Spanish for A-level, it just ends up always becoming the priority. I've considered trying to practice with the few people I know doing French in my Spanish class, but I'm worried their French is already much better than mine.
Please, any tips or suggestions?

P.S. I'd also probably like to do languages in uni, but since I'm only doing Spanish for A-level, I wouldn't want to have to do French ab initio when I already know it, I'd rather do another one instead.

Please help, and if you have any other questions/anything I've failed to say, please ask :smile:
Original post by rightnow93
Hi, so basically I've just started Year 12 and I'm doing Spanish, English Literature and Maths for A-level. I did French and Spanish at GCSE - they were my favourite subjects and my only 9s (apart from English literature). I was considering doing both for A-level, but I eventually decided it would be better to just do three A-levels (and I think this was the right choice as English and Maths are both quite taxing). I spent ages deciding on which one to do, and I eventually landed on Spanish since I thought the language was less similar to English, as French and English have a lot of shared vocabulary, and I also thought Spanish grammar and vocab in general would be a bit harder to learn on my own. My level in both languages has always been quite similar; I started them both around the same time in primary school, and even though in Year 7 I didn't do French (I did Latin instead), I got my French and Spanish to pretty similar standards in Year 8 and throughout GCSE. I thought that during A-levels it would be easy to keep up my French and get it to a similar standard to Spanish as I thought it would be the easier language to do on my own. However, now that I've started A-level Spanish, I already feel like my French is deteriorating. I'm at a new high school for Sixth Form (which is a much better than my old one) and a lot more people here do arty/language/humanities A-levels (my old school was very STEM- orientated, and I was one of the few people doing arts subjects, even at GCSE (Art, Drama as well as French and Spanish for my choices), so I didn't get much support, and there were only a few people who even liked languages. However at my new school, most people are doing just the A-levels they like, and even in my Spanish class, there are two girls who are also doing French A-level, and one of them is doing Greek as well. A lot of people do French A-level as well, and even though it's only been a few months I feel like their French is much better than mine, even though I thought it would be easy to get up to an A-level standard. They have a lot of extracurricular and enrichment activities here, and for one of the volunteering ones, I chose to do a club where I help teach younger students at another school French, because I thought it would easily help me keep up my French. However, it's not really working and I'm really worried that I'm just going to lose my French, and it's going to end up below a GCSE standard (which generally isn't that high anyway.) I know I'm really good at French and Spanish, as teachers have told me, I've never struggled with them, and my accents for both are really good - although I don't have the best speaking proficiency due to not that many resources to practice at my old school. I'm sorry, I know this is really long, but I was wondering if anyone had any advice for how to keep up my French, and specifically to an A-level standard? I've currently been using apps like Duolingo, which I find really helpful and were pretty much all my revision for GCSE, but since my focus has been on Spanish for A-level, it just ends up always becoming the priority. I've considered trying to practice with the few people I know doing French in my Spanish class, but I'm worried their French is already much better than mine.
Please, any tips or suggestions?

P.S. I'd also probably like to do languages in uni, but since I'm only doing Spanish for A-level, I wouldn't want to have to do French ab initio when I already know it, I'd rather do another one instead.

Please help, and if you have any other questions/anything I've failed to say, please ask :smile:


Yes it's likely you'll lose competence in a language over time that you have less frequent exposure to. However, it is commendable that you've put in place processes to help sustain your exposure to French (esp through volunteering) and I do believe it will help slightly albeit not as much as being in a classroom. I suggest you work through some french in spare time or consume digital or literary media in french to keep it up; however, I'm not a language expert (although I did enjoy Spanish a level and feel like taking up french in my free time just out of the love of languages :smile:


Just don't stress and enjoy the Spanish you're doing currently as a levels are rather short in the grand scheme of things.
Im a languages student and it is definitely hard to keep any language up when you’re not studying it at school or uni. The best thing to do honestly is to incorporate it into life by finding songs in French you genuinely enjoy, and by speaking to people in French. I’d be happy to dm in French a bit if that would help, but ofc speaking to people out loud is good too. I can also give you different French artists to try if you’d like a place to start finding French music. Id particularly recommend doing karaoke to French music because it helps with pronunciation, exposure and (especially doing Disney songs in French etc) helps you work on comprehension too).


Good luck!
Hi stressed year11 deciding a levels here!!!!!!!!!!

(It’s due tmr so would be appreciated a speedy reply)

I’m also in the same boat as you as i am taking both french and spanish gcse and getting 8-9s in both currently.

I’m really not sure whether to do french or Spanish A level???? I would say i like french as a language a teensy bit more, but one of the topics on both the a levels is about political opinion and immigration etc. im worried of this would be an awkward topic for me as a hijabi learning about this, especially with what’s going on at the moment 😬 but at the same time, am i really going to let a but of discrimination stop me from studying something i like??

(Sorry if this is long, you dont have to read this part:smile:
As for my teachers, my spanish teacher is amazing and she likes me. Out of the 2 new teachers they are both alright. I also get on well with my french teacher, but not as close with him, but i will get 2 new french teachers in a level who are both really nice. And again, am i really going to let the teachers decide me on studying something i love?

So overall, i like both (inclined to french a bit more) but don’t want to feel uncomfortable in my french lessons about topics, which I wouldn’t feel in Spanish.


Also, is Spanish history more interesting…?? We just do ww2 for french…

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