What is it about at sixth-form level?
The A level specification builds on the knowledge, understanding and skills gained at GCSE. The focus is on language, culture and society. French, along with English, is one of the only two languages spoken on every continent in the world. Therefore, this course is suitable for students who may wish to work abroad in a new and exciting environment, or undertake a modern language degree.
French encourages students to develop their linguistic abilities and their critical thinking on the basis of their knowledge and understanding of French language, culture and society. Other skills developed in French, such as communication, research skills and creativity are transferable to many forms of employment and as such are highly valued by employers.
Students develop their ability to interact effectively with users of the language in speech and in writing. The course includes communication strategies to build fluency and confidence. Students use authentic spoken and written sources in French to develop their understanding of themes relating to Francophone cultures and societies.
Why study it and what skills does it develop?
Discovering a different culture gives a new dimension to the world around you and is a valuable learning experience. Students develop their oral and written competencies and become increasingly confident, accurate and independent users of French. They begin to engage critically with intellectually stimulating texts, films and other materials in French, enabling them to appreciate sophisticated and creative uses of the language. Critical thinking will be developed alongside the four language skills. This course will stretch the learner both cognitively and linguistically. Furthermore it will foster his or her ability to learn other languages.
What prior knowledge and skills are required?
A grade 7 or higher in French 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?
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 French. You will also have two translations of 100 words each: one into French and one into English. Unit 2 (Writing) consists of two 300-word essays in French 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 French 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.
To be confirmed at the start of the course
AQA French A Level Year 1
By R. Pike, C. Povey and P. Shannon
Published by OUP, ISBN 978-0198366881
AQA French A Level Year 2
By R. Pike, C. Povey and P. Shannon
Published by OUP, ISBN 978-0198366881
Exam Board and Specification Codes
A level: AQA 7652
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