A Level Russian


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 Russian A level will introduce you to real Russian in real situations. You will look at the media, literature and film to acquaint you with and develop your knowledge of Russia, her language and culture from past to present.

Lower sixth

In the first year, you will focus on two major topic areas. The first is Developing Russian Society which will focus society in post-Soviet Russia. The second is Political and Artistic Culture in Russia, Belarus, Ukraine and Kazakhstan where you will learn about media, festivals and traditions. As part of the course you will study Pushkin’s novel “The Queen of Spades” in Russian.

Upper sixth

In the second year, you will cover two more topic areas as well as undertaking a detailed study of another short novella, “A Week Like Any Other”, by Natalia Baranskaya. The first of the new topics is Population and the Russian Multi-Cultural Society in which you will look at the variety of regions in the Russian Federation. The second new topic is Russia in the post-Soviet World. Here, you will look at political issues and the contemporary Russian state. Finally, you will have to work through improving your translation skills in a range of texts covering the four main themes.

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 Russian, on “The Queen of Spades”. 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 Russian, on “The Queen of Spades” and “A
Week Like Any Other”. 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.


A Comprehensive Russian Grammar
By T. L. B. Wade
Published by Blackwell, ISBN 978-1405136396

Ruslan Russian 3
By J. Langran
Published by Ruslan Ltd, ISBN 978-1899785407

Compact Oxford Russian Dictionary
Published by OUP, ISBN 978-0199576173

A copy of the text/texts to be purchased will be specified at the beginning of the lower sixth.

Exam Board and Specification Codes

AS: Pearson-Edexcel 8RU0, A2: Pearson-Edexcel 9RU0


Ana Abad Jara
Head of Department