A Level Italian

 

What is it about at sixth-form level?

Learning a modern language for GCSE is a matter of taking your first steps. You learn rudimentary grammar and vocabulary that enable you to get by but real conversations are still beyond your reach. It is at the sixth-form level that you will deepen your grammatical competence and broaden your vocabulary so that you can converse about and debate real-world issues, and immerse yourself into the culture, literature and arts of the country. Even though we live in an age where it seems English is spoken everywhere and where Google Translate will help you where it is not, there is nothing like the experience and satisfaction of being able to step inside a different way of speaking and seeing the world.

The Italian A level will introduce you to Italian society, history and culture. You will read the Italian press, listen to the Italian news and watch Italian films so as to develop your knowledge not just of the language, but of the country where it is spoken.

Lower sixth

In the lower sixth, you will focus on two major topic areas. The first is Changes in Italian Society, which will cover family, education and work. You will cover the changes affecting family, study the Italian education system and the world of work. The second is Politics and the Arts, where you will look at the media, society and politics, music and its impact. You will also cover a detailed analysis of the Oscar-awarded film by Roberto Benigni “Life is Beautiful” (“La vita è bella”). Interesting for both its links to Italy’s recent past, this comedy is also admired for its beauty and cinematographic techniques.

Upper sixth

In the upper sixth, you will revise your knowledge of the lower-sixth topics and cover two more, as well as undertaking a detailed study of a play. The first of the new topics is Italy: A Society in Evolution in which you will look at immigration and the north-south divide. The second topic is From Fascism to the Present Day. This will give you an insight into Italy’s recent past from the Mussolini’s regime to the Second World War and its impact on the contemporary political scene. This will lead to a focused piece of research entailing the reading of Luigi Pirandello’s play “Six Characters in Search of an Author” (“Sei personaggi in cerca d’autore”).

Why study it and what Why study it and what skills does it develop

Knowledge of a foreign language is ever more valuable in an increasingly connected world. Many employers look for knowledge of at least one other language across a wide range of jobs. Understanding a language is a first step to understanding a people and a culture. Another language enables you to enjoy everything from a casual conversation to a classic novel as it was meant to be read. It also provides a means by which to reflect upon your own culture and gain a deeper understanding of your mother tongue. An A level is typically a prerequisite for studying the language at university.

What prior knowledge and skills are required?

You should ideally have an A or A* at GCSE. If it is your mother tongue or a second language, you will need to be able to speak and write it proficiently. You will also need an interest in other cultures and a logical mind to cope with the grammar.

How is the course assessed?

AS level

There are three exams. All exams test your competency with respect to the topics you have learned. The Paper 1 exam (Listening, Reading and Translation into English) will test your listening comprehension skills, your ability to read and respond to a variety of texts. It lasts 1 hour 45 minutes and is worth 40% of the AS level. The Paper 2 exam (Written response to works and translation into target language) examines you, in Italian, on “Life is Beautiful”. The exam will test your ability of developing a more detailed understanding of the work, showing a critical appreciation of the concepts and issues covered. It lasts 1 hour 40 minutes and is worth 30% of the AS level. The Paper 3 exam (Speaking) is an oral exam that lasts about 30 minutes and is worth 30% of the AS level.

A level

For the A level, there are three exams. All exams test your competency with respect to the topics you have learned. The Paper 1 exam (Listening, Reading and translation into English) will test your listening comprehension skills, your ability to read and respond to a variety of texts. It lasts 2 hours and is worth 40% of the A level. The Paper 2 exam (Written response to works and translation into target language) examines you, in Italian, on “Life is Beautiful” and “Six Characters in Search of an Author.” It lasts 2 hours 40 minutes and is worth 30% of the A level. The Paper 3 exam (Speaking) is an oral exam that lasts about 20 minutes and is worth 30% of the A level.

Reading

Azione Grammatica
By D. Aust, M. Zolb
Published by Hodder Education, ISBN 978-0340915271

Texts to be purchased for Unit 4 will be specified at the beginning of the upper sixth.

 

Exam Board and Specification Codes

AS: Pearson-Edexcel 8IN0, A level: Pearson-Edexcel 9IN0

Matthew

Grades achieved at MPW
AAA

Progressed to
Warwick University (Chemistry)

“I have definitely made the right decision to come to MPW - my grades have gone from averaging Es to straight As. Teaching at MPW is much more personal and I felt like talking to teachers. They are very good and give you lots of support if you do not understand something. My Personal Tutor took me through the UCAS process step by step. We went through my Personal Statement many times to make sure it was completely perfect. I am very excited about my firm choice.”

Gabriel

Grades achieved at MPW
AAA

Progressed to
Nottingham University (Philosophy)

As a dyslexic student who initially got CCEE for my AS, I was convinced that I could not achieve any higher. My time at MPW proved me wrong. Initially I was reluctant to move from my local school in York to a college so far away from home, my parents, and friends. At the end of my first year I was overjoyed to find that many hours of hard work and renewed revision techniques had resulted in me achieving three A's in my subjects. I wanted to continue at A2 as I knew it would greatly improve my university prospects and encourage me to work even harder. After two fantastic years at MPW I can emphatically say that going to MPW was the best decision I ever made. 

Andrew

Grades achieved at MPW
A*AA

Progressed to
University of York (Law) 

“Having a Personal Tutor to discuss ANYTHING with, from my UCAS application to organising my life in general, really did make life at the college more streamlined and in general less stressful.”

Anastasia

Grades achieved at MPW
A*A*A*

Progressed to
University College London (Economics) 

“Honestly, I could not imagine when I joined MPW that, due to language and adaptation barriers, I would achieve top grades in my first A-level exam sittings. This view changed completely after only a few weeks in the college’s supportive and motivational environment; with teachers who aimed at finding a personal touch with each student and with my Personal Tutor who made my adjustment to the UK education system not only an easy step in my life but, more importantly, an enjoyable one.”

Akmaral

Grades achieved at MPW
A*A*A*

Progressed to
University College London (Mathematics and Statistics)

“International students have many aspects to think about, such as accommodation and guardians, but MPW surprised me by having a highly organised and supportive administration. Also, because most MPW Cambridge students are local, as an ‘international’ student, I found this very useful in both improving my English and in giving me a taste of a genuinely ‘English’ college.”

Julia

Grades achieved at MPW
A*AABB

Progressed to
King's College London (International Relations)

 “The teachers really helped me overcome any difficulties I came across; they always seemed willing to offer support be it inside or outside of the classroom. I could safely say my teachers inspired me to work hard and aim for the best, sometimes simply by being passionate about what they do.”