A Level Spanish

 

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. Where possible we will undertake cinema, music and theatre trips/arts exhibitions and lectures in Spanish. There also exists the possibility of becoming a full member of Cambridge University’s CU Hispanic Society.

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

Lower sixth

In the first year, you will focus on two major topic areas, grammar and translation, and the study in depth of a film. The first topic is Aspects of Hispanic Society, which will cover everything from traditional family values to the cyberspace. The second is Artistic Culture in the Hispanic World where you will be talking about Spanish regional identity, music and culture. The film you will study will be one taken from this list: Volver, El laberinto del Fauno, Ocho apellidos vascos, Maria llena eres de gracia, El bola and Las 13 rosas.

Upper sixth

In the second year, you will revise your knowledge of the two lower-sixth topics and the film, and you will cover two more topics, as well as undertaking a detailed study of a literary text and its themes and context. You will also be required to research a Hispanic topic for your speaking exam. The new topics are Multiculturalism in Hispanic Society in which you will look at various issues such as immigration, racism and integration; and Aspects of Political Life in the Hispanic World, where you will look at political issues and the modern Spanish state. The study of a literary text will be a short novel or play drawn from the AQA prescribed list.

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?

A 7 grade or higher in Spanish GCSE is desirable with a 6 as a minimum as the jump from GCSE to A level is considerable. 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?

A level

For the A level, there are three exams that cover all four general topic areas together with the film and literary text. Unit 1 (Listening, Reading and Writing) will check your comprehension of a variety of texts and extracts, with all the questions being in Spanish. You will also have two translations of 100 words each: one into Spanish and one into English. Unit 2 (Writing) consists of two 300-word essays in Spanish with questions set on the film and the text studied. Unit 3 (Speaking) will be a discussion of a theme based on a stimulus card followed by a presentation and a discussion of an individual Hispanic research project. Unit 1 lasts 2 hours 30 minutes and is worth 40% of the A level. Unit 2 lasts 2 hours and is worth 30% of the A level. Unit 3 lasts 21-23 minutes and is worth 30% of the A level.

Reading

To be confirmed at start of course.

AQA A Level Year 1 and AS Spanish Student Book
By M. Bond, I. Kendrick, F. Mejias-Yedra, F. Villatoro
Published by OUP, ISBN 9780198366904

 

 

AQA A Level Year 2: Spanish Student Book
By M. Bond, I. Kendrick, F. Mejias-Yedra, F. Villatoro
Published by OUP, ISBN 9780198366874

AQA A Level Spanish: Grammar and Translation Workbook
By V. Everett
Published by OUP, ISBN 9780198415558

Ocho apellidos vascos: Film Study Guide for AS/A level Spanish
By T. Weston and J.A. Garcia Sanchez
Published by Hodder Education, ISBN 978147891908

La casa de Bernarda Alba: Literature Study Guide for AS/A level Spanish
By M. Tacker and S. Bianchi
Published by Hodder Education, ISBN 978147891960

Exam Board and Specification Codes

A level: AQA 7692

Samuel

Grades achieved at MPW
A*AA

Progressed to
Exeter University (International Relations)

I have really enjoyed my time MPW and would recommend this college to anyone. I learnt how to work more efficiently and revise more effectively thanks to the tutorials and weekly Timed Assignments, which also allowed me to prepare myself mentally for the exams from the first day. My history teacher was phenomenal. He managed to get me to reengage with the subject, as well as giving me all the support and help I asked for and more, giving me the knowledge and exams technique needed to achieve an A*."

Mark

Grades achieved at MPW
AAB

Progressed to
Southampton University (Business Innovation)

The small class sizes proved invaluable for a number of reasons, some of which I did not anticipate. Aside from the obvious individual attention, the size of the class allowed for a lot of students’ questions to turn into a fruitful academic discussion. I have found the atmosphere at the college far more friendly and supportive than I expected. The support I had from my Personal Tutor was very helpful during the application process for university. I could tell that he really did care about my future and wanted to do everything he could in order to help me secure my place at my chosen university. Overall, I am pleased to say that my high expectations of MPW were fully met.

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.”