If you are considering studying a modern language A level at d’Overbroeck’s, it is likely that you have already studied a language at GCSE level. In some respects, doing an A level will be a continuation of what you did at GCSE. You will still practise the same skills (reading, listening, writing, speaking), learn vocabulary and grammar.
So what are the differences?
Obviously, the level. There is a big gap between GCSE and A level standards. To do well in these subjects, students need more grammar and a more extended vocabulary. Modern languages are demanding A levels.
What you achieve at GCSE is no indication of how well you are going to do at A level. We tend to start again from scratch and spend the best part of the first term revising and strengthening basic vocabulary and grammar. That said, we have a very flexible approach and, with a higher standard group, we quickly move on to more advanced language. One aspect that our students particularly appreciate is the smaller oral groups, which mean they do not have to speak the language in front of twenty other students in the early stages of the course – always a daunting prospect!
A typical listening or reading exam will include short tasks (true and false, gaps etc.) and longer answers in the language studied. To perform well, you will need a wide range of vocabulary to understand the audio/printed material and express yourself, and enough grammar to structure your answers accurately. A significant part of the assessment is written (translation and essays). The oral exam gives you the opportunity to explore and talk about any topic of your choice that can be linked to the countries where the language is spoken.
For more information about the structure and content of the course visit the website.
Ana grew up in the Basque Country in the north of Spain and moved to Salamanca in the centre of Spain where she graduated in Business Studies at the University of Salamanca. Her passion for teaching started there. She came to live in the UK in 1993 and has been involved in the education sector ever since.