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A level French with no prior experience?

I'm an international student coming to England for sixth form, and I somewhat stupidly chose to do A level french when I have no prior experience in French. I start in Spetember. Should I attempt to learn the GCSE course in the next 5 months and get fully up to speed? Or just learn at my own pace and catch up once I start school
Almost all schools will teach it from GCSE with the GCSE as assumed knowledge. Unless your school is telling you otherwise, you'd need to learn a lot very quickly
Reply 2
Original post by melancollege
Almost all schools will teach it from GCSE with the GCSE as assumed knowledge. Unless your school is telling you otherwise, you'd need to learn a lot very quickly

Yes the requirement for entry was a 7 at GCSE but I'm not doing any GCSEs and joining at sixth form so I could just choose whichever A levels I wanted and for some reason chose French. I can still change but I want to give it a go, if I just do a lot of duolingo between now and September will I be able to catch up once I'm there?
Original post by dire_rear
I'm an international student coming to England for sixth form, and I somewhat stupidly chose to do A level french when I have no prior experience in French. I start in Spetember. Should I attempt to learn the GCSE course in the next 5 months and get fully up to speed? Or just learn at my own pace and catch up once I start school


most schools you start learning 3 years before gcse, so that's 5 years you've skipped. I'd say that unless you get a tutor at least bi-weekly don't do it- duolingo does not teach the same content. if you are prepared to do lots of work and spend a lot of money go for it, but if not pick a different a level.
Original post by dire_rear
Yes the requirement for entry was a 7 at GCSE but I'm not doing any GCSEs and joining at sixth form so I could just choose whichever A levels I wanted and for some reason chose French. I can still change but I want to give it a go, if I just do a lot of duolingo between now and September will I be able to catch up once I'm there?

GCSE requirements for an A-Level will be set by the school based on what you are expected to be able to do before you start. They are not official and you don't need to have sat the exams but learning the content is much more important. You could try to get up to scratch before September but that would be a lot of work. It is doable but expect to do several hours a week of catch up, both in language and grammar.

If you have a really strong desire to do French, then you can try; but it's a lot of work when other A-Levels won't require anything similar.

If you decide you're certain, I'd recommend getting a revision guide and a tutor.
Reply 5
Original post by dire_rear
I'm an international student coming to England for sixth form, and I somewhat stupidly chose to do A level french when I have no prior experience in French. I start in Spetember. Should I attempt to learn the GCSE course in the next 5 months and get fully up to speed? Or just learn at my own pace and catch up once I start school


Final year French degree student here. I'd say your plans to do A-Level French and the replies to this thread are a bit optimistic. A-Levels are in part meant to prepare you for university study, and if by 'no prior experience' you mean that you're going to try to teach yourself the French language from scratch to pre-degree level in a few months, you are going to need more than Duolingo. It depends on the school, but my lessons were mostly taught in French and, as you may know if you've looked at the curriculum, you will be expected to write essays based on analysis of books and films, not just study grammar and vocab. Not to mention you will be doing oral exams too.

It's up to you, but if you don't have access to tuition and you don't think you will be able to maintain the motivation to study for several hours per day until September, I would strongly recommend switching to something else. Ultimately, you need to give yourself the best chance of getting a good set of grades if you want to go to university. When doing an A-Level language, you are likely to be up against native speakers and people who have been studying the language since childhood. So you'll be at a major disadvantage there.

If you feel confident enough by September and your school allows you to switch A-Levels during term time, maybe you could attend lessons for the first couple of weeks and then make a decision. But if that's not the case, maybe you should reconsider and look into opportunities to learn French outside of school in your spare time.
(edited 1 month ago)
Reply 6
Original post by MJ1148
Final year French degree student here. I'd say your plans to do A-Level French and the replies to this thread are a bit optimistic. A-Levels are in part meant to prepare you for university study, and if by 'no prior experience' you mean that you're going to try to teach yourself the French language from scratch to pre-degree level in a few months, you are going to need more than Duolingo. It depends on the school, but my lessons were mostly taught in French and, as you may know if you've looked at the curriculum, you will be expected to write essays based on analysis of books and films, not just study grammar and vocab. Not to mention you will be doing oral exams too.
It's up to you, but if you don't have access to tuition and you don't think you will be able to maintain the motivation to study for several hours per day until September, I would strongly recommend switching to something else. Ultimately, you need to give yourself the best chance of getting a good set of grades if you want to go to university. When doing an A-Level language, you are likely to be up against native speakers and people who have been studying the language since childhood. So you'll be at a major disadvantage there.
If you feel confident enough by September and your school allows you to switch A-Levels during term time, maybe you could attend lessons for the first couple of weeks and then make a decision. But if that's not the case, maybe you should reconsider and look into opportunities to learn French outside of school in your spare time.

My school gives me the option to drop a subject at February half term, up until that point I will be doing 5 subjects (maths, fm, history, theology and philosophy, french) if I do french up until then, and then drop it, but do badly, will that affect my university applications at all?
Original post by dire_rear
My school gives me the option to drop a subject at February half term, up until that point I will be doing 5 subjects (maths, fm, history, theology and philosophy, french) if I do french up until then, and then drop it, but do badly, will that affect my university applications at all?


There's no point in doing 5, especially if you're planning to drop one. I would suggest not taking one of your subjects at all and consider dropping one of the other 4 at a later point.
Reply 8
Original post by skitter12
There's no point in doing 5, especially if you're planning to drop one. I would suggest not taking one of your subjects at all and consider dropping one of the other 4 at a later point.

For some reason my school requires anyone who wants to take further maths to take 5 until at least the febuary half term, I wouldn't if I didn't have to
Original post by dire_rear
For some reason my school requires anyone who wants to take further maths to take 5 until at least the febuary half term, I wouldn't if I didn't have to


oh ok, would you consider any subjects apart from French?
Reply 10
Original post by dire_rear
My school gives me the option to drop a subject at February half term, up until that point I will be doing 5 subjects (maths, fm, history, theology and philosophy, french) if I do french up until then, and then drop it, but do badly, will that affect my university applications at all?

It’s crazy that your school makes you start with 5 A-Levels, poor you! If you do badly in French and then drop it, that won’t be on your university application. At the end of the day all that matters is that you do well in your other subjects.
Reply 11
I would agree with the replies thus far. You cannot really cram languages. A level French requires you to understand nuances in written and spoken words. You have to present a research project for your oral and write analytical essays in French on a novel and a film. I think it’s a tall order to achieve all this from scratch in two years. I’ve known native French speakers who have only received a B because they did not do well in the analytical essays. If you can avoid doing it, I would.

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