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Ways to become proficient in Spanish for GCSEs

I'm a Year 9 student right now, and I am taking Spanish for GCSE. I want to use this opportunity to become proficient in Spanish, to the level of which I can use Spanish confidently for most occasions.

What would you recommend doing to achieve this? How should I practise speaking, listening, writing and reading?
definitely do a duolingo streak as it just means that youre so much more familiar with the language every day, you will learn so much new vocab and spanish in school will start to feel a lot more basic
obviously doing duolingo will only take you to a certain level but at gcse it will mean you're so much more prepared
if you wanna just get a 9 at gcse you don't need to do any other work rlly but if its more about becoming better at the language for the bigger picture listen to podcasts in spanish, listen to spanish music, then you can practise speaking w the questions youll get asked in your gcse exam
make sure youre confident with all the different tenses, conditional and subjunctive as well, learn wow phrases to include in your writing
Reply 2
Original post by TapirSparrow
I'm a Year 9 student right now, and I am taking Spanish for GCSE. I want to use this opportunity to become proficient in Spanish, to the level of which I can use Spanish confidently for most occasions.
What would you recommend doing to achieve this? How should I practise speaking, listening, writing and reading?

I'm not a Spanish student, but I LOVE doing French at school, taking it for A level. :smile:

Doing Spanish at GCSE, you won't learn that much. I have been trying my hardest at French GCSE for a solid 2 years now, and it's basically impossible that I won't get a 9 this summer. I can read (and understand with a dictionary) French texts, and can probably hold a decently slow conversation in France. GCSE only really covers the foundations of the language, and I found that studying the language myself was far more efficient (in terms of learning the language) than what they taught us in lessons.

The best resource I use is Duolingo. It's not for everyone, but I personally think that it's amazing. It allows you to practice daily, so things like conjugations and tenses become second-nature. It also has a great algorithm for learning new vocab. Pretty much every word I learn on there stays in my head because the Duolingo developers really know how to best use spaced repetition.

If Duolingo isn't for you, then I recommend writing down sentences. It's simple, but it works so well. It lets you not only improve in the area that you want to (such as conjugations, tenses, or any particular vocab you need to learn), but also lets you practice the language in general.

Also consuming Spanish media will help a lot. For example, listening to Spanish songs or watching shows in Spanish with English subtitles (I do this with peppa pig hahaha, it's great! :smile: )

If you keep up this mindset, Spanish GCSE will literally be a piece of cake for you! Hope I've helped :smile:
Reply 3
Original post by xAspect
I'm not a Spanish student, but I LOVE doing French at school, taking it for A level. :smile:
Doing Spanish at GCSE, you won't learn that much. I have been trying my hardest at French GCSE for a solid 2 years now, and it's basically impossible that I won't get a 9 this summer. I can read (and understand with a dictionary) French texts, and can probably hold a decently slow conversation in France. GCSE only really covers the foundations of the language, and I found that studying the language myself was far more efficient (in terms of learning the language) than what they taught us in lessons.
The best resource I use is Duolingo. It's not for everyone, but I personally think that it's amazing. It allows you to practice daily, so things like conjugations and tenses become second-nature. It also has a great algorithm for learning new vocab. Pretty much every word I learn on there stays in my head because the Duolingo developers really know how to best use spaced repetition.
If Duolingo isn't for you, then I recommend writing down sentences. It's simple, but it works so well. It lets you not only improve in the area that you want to (such as conjugations, tenses, or any particular vocab you need to learn), but also lets you practice the language in general.
Also consuming Spanish media will help a lot. For example, listening to Spanish songs or watching shows in Spanish with English subtitles (I do this with peppa pig hahaha, it's great! :smile: )
If you keep up this mindset, Spanish GCSE will literally be a piece of cake for you! Hope I've helped :smile:

Thanks! I use Memrise and I find that it works really well for me, but I'm still worried about the oral exam. Do you have any ways to practise thinking on the spot in Spanish? Thinking of a reply, then translating it into Spanish is difficult for me. I try and think in Spanish but sometimes I don't have any vocabulary for the topic that I could think in.
Reply 4
Original post by TapirSparrow
Thanks! I use Memrise and I find that it works really well for me, but I'm still worried about the oral exam. Do you have any ways to practise thinking on the spot in Spanish? Thinking of a reply, then translating it into Spanish is difficult for me. I try and think in Spanish but sometimes I don't have any vocabulary for the topic that I could think in.

Thinking in Spanish is honestly the only thing that I can recommend if you don't have access to a native (or proficient) Spanish speaker to talk to. I constantly translate everything that goes into my head automatically now. I always try looking for alternatives for words that I don't know, and if that fails, then I either make a mental note to look up the translation for a word or write it down somewhere like on my hand.

Something that really helped me is trying to change (or influence) the native language in my head. It would start off really forced, but as time goes on, I've found that whenever I see singular or simple things, instead of going (for example) "house" in my head, I'll go "une maison". More complex things like "that house looks really nice" or "That house seems expensive to me" are thought of in English, and then translated to French. As you get lots of practice in, translation becomes much more quicker, and the gap between Spanish and English will shorten in your head. Sometimes I'll go on a walk with the express goal of only thinking in French, I find that that helps a lot too.

Memrise is great too for learning vocab!
Original post by TapirSparrow
Thanks! I use Memrise and I find that it works really well for me, but I'm still worried about the oral exam. Do you have any ways to practise thinking on the spot in Spanish? Thinking of a reply, then translating it into Spanish is difficult for me. I try and think in Spanish but sometimes I don't have any vocabulary for the topic that I could think in.
You will be absolutely fine, especially if you’re only in year 9 rn you’re gonna have so much practise of speaking over the next 2 years that it will be a piece of cake when you get to it, and also all the topics like healthy living, holidays etc you will have covered by the time you’re in year 11 so the vocab will be in your head and it won’t be that hard to think of it and form a reply

Also idk if this is helpful but try not to think abt if cos it’s literally 2 years away so I’d enjoy being in year 9 rn if I were you and focus on enjoying the language and getting better at it
Reply 6
Original post by xAspect
Thinking in Spanish is honestly the only thing that I can recommend if you don't have access to a native (or proficient) Spanish speaker to talk to. I constantly translate everything that goes into my head automatically now. I always try looking for alternatives for words that I don't know, and if that fails, then I either make a mental note to look up the translation for a word or write it down somewhere like on my hand.
Something that really helped me is trying to change (or influence) the native language in my head. It would start off really forced, but as time goes on, I've found that whenever I see singular or simple things, instead of going (for example) "house" in my head, I'll go "une maison". More complex things like "that house looks really nice" or "That house seems expensive to me" are thought of in English, and then translated to French. As you get lots of practice in, translation becomes much more quicker, and the gap between Spanish and English will shorten in your head. Sometimes I'll go on a walk with the express goal of only thinking in French, I find that that helps a lot too.
Memrise is great too for learning vocab!

That's a good idea, I'll try and purposefully think words and phrases in Spanish from now on. I'm experimenting with using Anki for revision, but I'm not sure if it's the best way for me yet. I have a few friends who I call that speak Spanish, but whenever I speak with them I always feel like such an idiot and I try to get through it with as little words as possible. I realise this is stupid but I can't help it.

Any advice on confidence speaking it? I suppose it will come with practise, but I find it difficult to speak especially if they don't understand
Reply 7
Original post by TapirSparrow
That's a good idea, I'll try and purposefully think words and phrases in Spanish from now on. I'm experimenting with using Anki for revision, but I'm not sure if it's the best way for me yet. I have a few friends who I call that speak Spanish, but whenever I speak with them I always feel like such an idiot and I try to get through it with as little words as possible. I realise this is stupid but I can't help it.
Any advice on confidence speaking it? I suppose it will come with practise, but I find it difficult to speak especially if they don't understand

Confidence just comes from knowing the language. The more you know and practice it, the more you will be comfortable with using it in a variety of scenarios :smile:
Reply 8
Original post by elsie_rose_
You will be absolutely fine, especially if you’re only in year 9 rn you’re gonna have so much practise of speaking over the next 2 years that it will be a piece of cake when you get to it, and also all the topics like healthy living, holidays etc you will have covered by the time you’re in year 11 so the vocab will be in your head and it won’t be that hard to think of it and form a reply
Also idk if this is helpful but try not to think abt if cos it’s literally 2 years away so I’d enjoy being in year 9 rn if I were you and focus on enjoying the language and getting better at it

That's fair enough, but I want to be able to use the language in the future and I'd like to get ahead of my classmates as well
Reply 9
Original post by TapirSparrow
That's fair enough, but I want to be able to use the language in the future and I'd like to get ahead of my classmates as well
Trust me, you will get ahead of everyone in your class at this rate. Is doing a language at your school compulsory? If it is, you will be ahead of almost everyone already, and even if it isn't, you will probably still be ahead of most. :smile:
Original post by xAspect
Trust me, you will get ahead of everyone in your class at this rate. Is doing a language at your school compulsory? If it is, you will be ahead of almost everyone already, and even if it isn't, you will probably still be ahead of most. :smile:

It's not, and I am at the top of my class, but I am scared for GCSEs and I want to start working early so that I don't forget and end up on the eve of the exam having known nothing in Spanish. Thanks for your help though :smile:
Reply 11
Original post by TapirSparrow
It's not, and I am at the top of my class, but I am scared for GCSEs and I want to start working early so that I don't forget and end up on the eve of the exam having known nothing in Spanish. Thanks for your help though :smile:

That's honestly a great mindset; I'm in the middle of my GCSEs and I wish so much that I had just spread the work out evenly when I had the chance. Now I'm being put under so much stress and pressure to make up for all the work I didn't do earlier :frown: . If you keep this up for the next 2 years, you'll do amazingly :smile:
Reply 12
Original post by TapirSparrow
That's fair enough, but I want to be able to use the language in the future and I'd like to get ahead of my classmates as well

Hey I'm Spanish but I have did IGCSE Chinese in Year 9 and am completeing the Spanish one right now. Many of my friends do French and German too. Duoling, flashcards, daily practice... the usual: they might do for the exam. But, if you really want to learn the language, you need to move away from the textbook. This happens in every language course, textbooks are useful but they dond't really teach you the actual language. People don't necessarily talk like that - this is mainly for speaking, wich takes me to my next point.

Speak the language. Speaking is the most important part of each language. Who cares what you can write when you travel or meet people from that culture. If you can speak and understand what others are saying you are way ahead of everybody else.

So if you know someone spanish, speak to them, get their help. And always talk to them and in your spanish lessons in spanish. Idc if u don't knwo a word you try to describe it and wait to be corrected. Becuase if u dont force yourself to speak it and understand it, no one will. You actually get used to it very quickly. And if you can speak it (this goes especially for spanish) you can write it.

Spanish, appart form the H and the accents, is way easier than other languages to write. You already know the ABCs and you read it how its written. Verbs and stuff are things you have to study and practice but dude, there are people doing arabic. ARABIC!

Also watch tv and movies in spanish, its not overrated. I have these friends that got straight 9s in French because they watched peppa pig in french. It actually works!

Good luck, ur gonna do great!
Original post by kazncal
Hey I'm Spanish but I have did IGCSE Chinese in Year 9 and am completeing the Spanish one right now. Many of my friends do French and German too. Duoling, flashcards, daily practice... the usual: they might do for the exam. But, if you really want to learn the language, you need to move away from the textbook. This happens in every language course, textbooks are useful but they dond't really teach you the actual language. People don't necessarily talk like that - this is mainly for speaking, wich takes me to my next point.
Speak the language. Speaking is the most important part of each language. Who cares what you can write when you travel or meet people from that culture. If you can speak and understand what others are saying you are way ahead of everybody else.
So if you know someone spanish, speak to them, get their help. And always talk to them and in your spanish lessons in spanish. Idc if u don't knwo a word you try to describe it and wait to be corrected. Becuase if u dont force yourself to speak it and understand it, no one will. You actually get used to it very quickly. And if you can speak it (this goes especially for spanish) you can write it.
Spanish, appart form the H and the accents, is way easier than other languages to write. You already know the ABCs and you read it how its written. Verbs and stuff are things you have to study and practice but dude, there are people doing arabic. ARABIC!
Also watch tv and movies in spanish, its not overrated. I have these friends that got straight 9s in French because they watched peppa pig in french. It actually works!
Good luck, ur gonna do great!

Do you recommend using Spanish Captions when listening, or just the audio + visuals? I feel like the Captions might turn it into a reading task, but then again I'm not sure I'd have any idea what's going on without them. I couldn't fathom doing Arabic.. those guys are on another level lol.
Reply 14
For me it depends. When i did chinese, my stengths were listening and speaking so reading captions in chinese took too long fro me. I just couldnt keep up. English captions stopped me from listening so it does not help. But if I were u i would do this:

No captions:

Movies u really like and have watched before. u already know whats happening and maybe even know the words by hard at certain points.

kids stuff like peppa pig. its basic language and they talk slower.


Captions:

harder things like new movie or documentaries BUT CAPTIONS IN SPANISH

when trying to learn new word u can do english captions, but they r not always accurate and u have to be concentrating on learning 100%


i wouldnt do english captions because it really stops u form concentrating on listening. You dont make an effort any more.

honestly, even if u dont get what they are saying, your ear gets used to the language and u picture what is happening thanks to the video so its ok if u dont really understand. You later relate to those moments when studying. It really helps u remember

I hope this helps :smile:
(edited 2 months ago)
Awesome, thanks for your help!
Reply 16
Original post by TapirSparrow
Awesome, thanks for your help!

Not at all ur gonna do great

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