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 Portuguese A level will introduce you to Portuguese society, history and culture. You will read the Italian press, listen to the Portuguese and Brazilian news and watch Portuguese films so as to develop your knowledge not just of the language, but of the country where it is spoken.
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?
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 (Writing, Reading and translation into English) will test your reading comprehension skills, your ability to read and respond to a variety of texts. It lasts 2 hours 30 minutes and is worth 40% of the A level. The Paper 2 exam (Written response to works and translation into target language) examines you, in Portuguese, on the film and book. It lasts 2 hours 40 minutes and is worth 30% of the A level. The Paper 3 exam (Listening, Reading and Writing) is a written exam that lasts about 2 hours and 15 minutes and is worth 30% of the A level.
Details of the textbooks to be purchased will be specified at the beginning of the lower sixth.
Exam Board and Specification Codes
A level: Pearson-Edexcel 9PG0
Ana Abad Jara
Head of Department
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