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French (GCE) at Shelley College

Course description

Why study French?

Studying French at A Level will enable you to develop the skills acquired at GCSE level.

You will gain a lasting appreciation of the language and will learn how to communicate in French to a number of different audiences. The A Level course gives you the opportunity to gain an insight into French speaking cultures, from modern everyday life to important aspects of French history.

The A Level course focuses on developing oral fluency, listening, reading and writing skills, plus translation tasks; all of which are vital tools for further study. You will develop and enhance your communication skills and your ability to be an independent learner.

Course content



Entry requirements

The aim of our entry criteria policy is to ensure students are taking courses they are well suited to and are able to make progress in. We seek to provide courses well matched to the needs of our students, helping them to follow their chosen progression pathway.

Due to changes in the curriculum set-up for GCSE, AS and A Level which are currently taking place, we have reviewed our entry criteria from 2018/19 onwards and will continue to review this annually until all curriculum changes are effective.

We have also decided that for the 2018/19 entry students, those with a 4 at English or Maths GCSE will be offered the opportunity to resit that subject in order to achieve a Level 5.

Our main College entry requirements are as follows;

Entry Requirements

A minimum of five 4-9 grades at GCSE, including English and Maths (at least to Level 4) from five different subject areas.

Purely vocational pathway require a minimum of four 4-9 grades at GCSE, including English and Maths (at least to Level 4) from four different subject areas.

A BTEC qualification may be counted as equivalent to two GCSE passes if students choose to follow a vocational pathway (i.e, OCR Cambridge National in Sport).


There will be three pathways which students can follow based on an average grade produced from their seven best GCSE results. The calculation being used for this van be seen overleaf.


Average Grade

Programme of study


Average grade of 7 or higher

3 or 4 A Levels


Average grade of 5 to 6.9

3 A Levels or a mixed A Level and Vocational pathway


Average grade of less than 5

Mixed (A Level and Vocational) or Vocational pathway


The method for calculating your average grade and additional subject requirements are within our full entry criteria document which can be found on the Sixth Form section of our website:



Year 12 & 13

There are three exams at A Level French, Paper 1, Paper 2 & Paper 3.

Paper 1: Listening, Reading and Writing

50% of A Level.

Written exam : 2 hours 30 minutes

100 marks

Listening Section

Candidates listen & respond to spoken passages from a range of contexts and sources. Questions will target main points, gist and detail. Students will have individual control of the recording.(30 marks)

Reading Section

This section comprises reading and responding to a variety of texts written for different purposes, drawn from a range of authentic sources.(50 marks)

Writing Section

Translation into English; a passage of 100 words minimum. (10 marks)

Translation into French; a passage of 100 words minimum. (10 marks)

No access to a dictionary during the assessment.


Paper 2: Writing

20% of A Level                                                           

Written exam: 2 hours

80 marks


Candidates are assessed on:

  • One literary text and one film or 2 literary texts from the set lists
  • Grammar


This paper consists of :

  • Either one essay in French on a set text from a choice of two questions and one essay in French on the film, or 2 essays in French on set literary texts from a choice of two questions.
  • All essay questions will require a critical response to aspects such as plot, characterisation, imagery and other stylistic features, as appropriate to the work studied.


No access to texts, films or a dictionary during the assessment.

Students are advised to write approximately 300 words for each essay.


Paper 3: Speaking

30% of A Level

Oral exam: 21-23 minutes (including 5 minutes preparation time)

60 marks


Candidates will be assessed on an individual research project and one of the sub-themes from the specification.


In the speaking exam students will take part in a discussion of a sub-theme, with the discussion based on a stimulus card (5-6 minutes). This will be followed by a presentation & discussion of the individual research project.

(Approximately 12 minutes)

Future opportunities

Career and future study options

A Level French is flexible as to what subjects it would combine well with. In terms of employability, having a combination of numerate and language skills at A Level, would certainly enhance your employability in a digital world.


Possible career routes include:



Creative Media

Translation and Interpreting

Central and Local Government




Travel and Tourism


Hospitality industry

Law Health, Medicine and Social Care

How to apply

You can apply for this course through UCAS Progress. Add this course to your favourites so you can start making an application.

Last updated date: 13 October 2017
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