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.
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?
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.
Core Texts and Suggested Reading
To be confirmed at the start of the course
AQA A Level Year 1 Spanish Student Book
By M. Bond, I. Kendrick, F. Mejias-Yedra and F. Villatoro
Published by OUP, ISBN 978-0198366904
AQA A Level Year 2: Spanish Student Book
By M. Bond, I. Kendrick, F. Mejias-Yedra and F. Villatoro
Published by OUP, ISBN 978-0198366874
AQA A Level Spanish: Grammar & 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 978-1471891908
El Coronel no tiene quien le escriba
By Gabriel Garcia Marquez
Exam Board and Specification Codes
A level: AQA 7692
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