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Modern Languages -French, German, Spanish at Watford Grammar School for Girls

Course description

Awarding Body: AQA

We offer French, German and Spanish at both Advanced Subsidiary Level and Advanced Level, leading to the examinations of AQA.

The study of Modern Languages at AS and A2 aims to:

• Extend pupils’ use of the language beyond the ‘transactional’ to more ‘abstract’ language and thus enable them to communicate ideas and opinions successfully.

• Offer a deeper insight into the structure of the language.

• Help develop a deeper awareness of language in general.

• Stimulate an interest in all things French/German/Spanish through a variety of media.

• Broaden pupils’ horizons through the study of topics related to the countries whose language they are learning.


• A modern foreign language can be combined successfully with virtually all subjects at AS and A2 level.

• Study of a modern foreign language offers variety and the chance to develop a number of different skills.

• A self-disciplined and mature approach to study is needed as students are expected to work more independently.

• Students must work steadily from the beginning, as vocabulary is built up only gradually.

• Conversation lessons are timetabled with a foreign language assistant, and students are expected to spend some study periods and time at home on a regular basis listening to material which supplements the textbook.

• It is essential to have an interest in what is going on in the world, especially in French/German/Spanish countries; to read extensively, listen to radio programmes and watch TV broadcasts about the countries. It can be very helpful to watch programmes in the language and use the Internet, if possible.

• A stay in a German/French/Spanish speaking country is highly recommended and work experience placement encouraged.

• Students are encouraged to subscribe to a newspaper for Sixth Form pupils (which is a collection of articles from the French/German/Spanish press). The subscription is arranged through school.

• Although dictionaries are not allowed in the examinations, students should have their own dictionary for private study and research. We can advise about which type of dictionary suits the students’ needs.

Course content

The Advanced Subsidiary course

The content is divided into four topic areas, within which the structure of the language is developed.

1. Media

2. Popular Culture

3. Healthy Living

4. Family/Relationships

The Advanced Level course

Further topic areas are studied, within which the structure of the language is developed further.

1. Environment

2. Contemporary Social Issues

3. The Multicultural Society.

Two cultural topics are also studied including the study of a set text and the study of a target language speaking region.

Entry requirements

• GCSE grade A in French/German/Spanish.

• Commitment to the subject.

During the GCSE course, pupils must have shown a high standard in all four skills, especially in writing.

ALL PROSPECTIVE AS/A2 STUDENTS MUST SEEK THE ADVICE OF THE GERMAN/FRENCH/SPANISH STAFF AS TO THEIR SUITABILITY, as there is a marked difference in the type of language required at this level.


The Advanced Subsidiary course

The examination has 2 parts:

1. Listening, Reading and Writing - 2 hrs.

Pupils have their own computer for the Listening exercises and may stop, rewind and replay the recording at any point. Pupils will have to respond in writing to one question from a choice of three.

2. Speaking - 15 mins (+ 20 mins preparation time).

The speaking test has two sections:

(a) Discussion of material supplied to pupil immediately before the test and prepared by pupil in a 20 minute preparation period (5 mins).

(b) General conversation based on 2-3 of the topics studied during the AS course (10 mins). The first topic is the candidates choice and she will be asked questions based on a prompt card prepared and sent to the examiner in advance.

The Advanced Level course

The examination has 2 parts:

1. Listening, Reading and Writing - 2½ hrs.

Pupils have their own computer for the Listening exercises and may stop, rewind and replay the recording at any point. The texts for both listening and reading will generally be longer and use more complex language than at AS level. Pupils respond in writing to 1 question from five based on the cultural topics.

2. Speaking - 15 mins (+ 20 mins preparation time).

The speaking test has two sections:

(a) A 5 minute discussion of material supplied to pupils immediately before the test, in which pupils will be expected to explain and defend their point of view.

(b) General conversation based on the cultural topics studied during the A2 course (10 mins).

NB Dictionaries will not be allowed in the AS and A2 examinations.

Future opportunities

• Remember that apart from in Ireland, all other European students have to continue studying a modern foreign language post-16. Language skills can help you to be able to compete with them.

• Students of nearly all subjects at university now have the opportunity to study that subject in another EU country, which gives them the chance to extend knowledge and experience and to become fluent in another language. Good language skills give the confidence needed to be able to do this, skills gained after GCSE.

• Modern Languages graduates have the lowest unemployment rates after graduates in vocational subjects like medicine, education and law.

How to apply

If you want to apply for this course, you will need to contact Watford Grammar School for Girls directly.

Last updated date: 26 May 2015
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