How hard are language A-Levels compared to GCSE?

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xo<3_Sammie
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#1
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#1
I was just wondering how hard people found their language A-Level compared to GCSE. I've always thought I wasn't that great at languages compared to other subjects but after my mock grades I'm seriously considering taking one for A-Level. However, I've always been told language A-Levels are really hard so I was just wondering how much truth there is in that.

Also I've heard that more of the A-Level is assessed on speaking than the GCSE, is that true? And what kind of things do you have to do for speaking?

Thanks xx
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smflesh
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#2
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#2
(Original post by xo<3_Sammie)
I was just wondering how hard people found their language A-Level compared to GCSE. I've always thought I wasn't that great at languages compared to other subjects but after my mock grades I'm seriously considering taking one for A-Level. However, I've always been told language A-Levels are really hard so I was just wondering how much truth there is in that.

Also I've heard that more of the A-Level is assessed on speaking than the GCSE, is that true? And what kind of things do you have to do for speaking?

Thanks xx
You must be motivated to take a language on at AS level. If you see learning a language as a chore, something that you will find boring and will dread, then don't.

I currently study French at AS level and in my opinion, there's a greater emphasis on grammar. At GCSE, it was more 'learn these phrases, say / write them in the exam and the examiners will flood you with marks!' - you didn't really have to learn much grammar apart from the past, present and future tenses.
At AS level, you learn how to construct sentences, learn tenses in greater detail, learn how to construct sentences etc, and as a result, you feel more involved in the language, as opposed to learning set phrases on the environment at GCSE which won't get you anywhere if you went to France.
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Brouhaha
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#3
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#3
I'll be honest with you: foreign language A Levels are difficult and demanding. But they can also be extremely rewarding; at the end of your AS year you'll be able to communicate at a much better level with French people, and a huge vocabulary can be amassed very quickly if you try hard. But essentially, you need to LIKE the language to take it at AS Level, and also have an aptitude for it. If you find speaking extremely hard you'll struggle, as the course is one-third speaking, and it's focussed on a lot in many A Level classes -- however, a bit of difficulty with speaking is normal. Grammar at A-Level is a step up. Basically, I'd recommend you take a language if you're predicted highly, if you do well in lessons, and if you enjoy it. Languages aren't easy but they can be immensely enjoyable.
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Gone Revising
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#4
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#4
I am currently studying german (A2), I find of my subjects ('german', 'maths', 'further maths', 'business studies' and 'philosophy and ethics'), it definitely has the largest work load, and its difficult to know how the speaking exam is likely to go.
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Ruthie!
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#5
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#5
I am finding it so much more difficult than GCSE.
I struggled to get a C at AS (180/300), even after retakes I'm still in a C because the speaking, although I felt it went better than any I've done before, was only a D.
I'm not wanting to put you off and if I was choosing again I would still pick a language, although probably German instead, you just need to think hard about it!
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MGMT123
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#6
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#6
(Original post by Ruthie!)
I am finding it so much more difficult than GCSE.
I struggled to get a C at AS (180/300), even after retakes I'm still in a C because the speaking, although I felt it went better than any I've done before, was only a D.
What grade did you get for GCSE?
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Da Bachtopus
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#7
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#7
Dude, dividing by zero isn't allowed!
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Ruthie!
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#8
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#8
(Original post by MGMT123)
What grade did you get for GCSE?
A.
The three who got B's got a D and and two U's at AS
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the Alyx
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#9
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#9
Much harder, I did Russian Language and Literature for A-Levels. I had to study 3 literature pieces written by famous Russian authors and do a lot of speaking. I was assessed on both equally, but still it's much harder than what I did in GCSE.
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TheMeister
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#10
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#10
Is Spanish harder than French at AS?
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Ice_Queen
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#11
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#11
If you want to learn it, you'll be fine. I loved doing it.

If you're doing it just for the career prospects, it will be a lot harder.

There is a lot more vocab, a lot more grammar, and the topics are harder (instead of 'my holiday' it's stuff like politics, immigration, more difficult environmental stuff, etc.).
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Owly
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#12
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#12
It's a big leap to AS from GCSE, especially when learning grammar. I found German AS quite a challenge, but A2 somehow didn't seem as bad. You've got to really love the language to want to continue with it, but in terms of vocab, I found I was far more fluent and confident, when in Germany. If you're doing German, 'Wort für Wort' (ISBN 0-340-77163-1) is a big help with vocab for essay writing and for speaking.
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Muppety_Kid
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#13
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#13
(Original post by Owly)
It's a big leap to AS from GCSE, especially when learning grammar. I found German AS quite a challenge, but A2 somehow didn't seem as bad. You've got to really love the language to want to continue with it, but in terms of vocab, I found I was far more fluent and confident, when in Germany. If you're doing German, 'Wort für Wort' (ISBN 0-340-77163-1) is a big help with vocab for essay writing and for speaking.
Yeah, I've got the French one ("Mot A Mot") - I think there's a Spanish edition too. It is useful for essays and dropping in vocabulary that examiners like, but just be wary. As Wes pointed out to me, some of the expressions are never used by the natives, and are just plain wrong - use with caution outside of the classroom! :p:
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Jasper.Paterson
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#14
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#14
I thought the progression was quite easy! And I've done the AS in my second year, meaning I hadn't spoken French for a year.
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desmondmac
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#15
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#15
I thought it was pweety piss (A* at GCSE)...I also did my gcse in yr 10 and did no french for a year before starting AS...but then i really loved french so I was reading newspapers, reading literature, watching telly/films and just generally trying to immerse myself in everything french. I think if you don't have that passion, especially for languages where most of the work is done outside of the classroom, i.e. what YOU do, you shall struggle.

I found the speaking element not much more difficult than GCSE...i was still preparing and memorising phrases, indeed whole paragraphs for the exam. I did learn, though, how to give the impression that it is all off the top of my head, this is very important! A2 speaking was harder but still not impossible.

I think the good thing about language A Levels is that there is no real exhaustive syllabus. There are of course areas you should know about but for coursework/speaking exams you are able to choose WHATEVER interests you...you'll find that if you have taken the time to research something important to you you will find writing and speaking about it quite easy.
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Languagesfreak
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#16
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#16
There's a lot more vocab to learn, and you have to speak about more serious issues in the speaking test - if you do well at GCSE, then there's no reason you can't do well at AS/A2 (provided you put the work in).
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Howells
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#17
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#17
I don't do much work for French and German and I don't find them too difficult (French is definitely easier than German though). It depends how good you are at languages really, and how much work you do now for GCSE.
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Fatema991
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#18
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#18
It's a lot of work. I'm doing German A/S, and it's very difficult. At GCSE you can quite easily 'blag' your way through it, but at A/S you need to know your vocab properly, and how to conjugate your verbs and of course the million tenses and cases and all the other grammar.

It's a lot of work, but it's widely appreciated when applying to Uni... and enables you to work in other countries.

all the best if you pick a language!
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PrinceOfCats
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#19
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#19
Piss. I couldn't conjugate **** until my third year of university.
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ByronicHero
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#20
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#20
im tempted to learn japaneese/german but i dont think i will now XD
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