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French A-Level at Queen Elizabeth Sixth Form College

Course description

“People who have learned languages are articulate, flexible and adaptable. Employers value their communication skills very highly and, as a result, languages graduates in the UK have the lowest unemployment rate other than medicine and education.” (Guardian Education) There’s never been a better time to study French!

Course content


AS Level develops listening, reading and writing skills covered at GCSE and enriches your knowledge of French grammar and vocabulary. There is also one lesson a week with the Assistant (a native French speaker) – an excellent opportunity to improve your spoken French!


  • Leisure & Lifestyles, including travel & tourism, sport, hobbies, entertainment, customs & traditions, healthy lifestyles, unhealthy living.
  • Individual & Society, including relationships and responsibilities, gender issues, youth culture (values, peer groups, fashion), education, vocational training and careers.

All of this is tested in the following examinations:

  • Unit 1 Oral – General and Topic-based Conversation 15 minutes (40% of AS)
  • Unit 2 Listening, Reading & Writing 2 ½ hours (60% of AS)

This course builds all that we have covered in the AS course and allows students to progress to a full A level in the language.

In Year 2, students look at aspects of French culture and society in more depth. We also study French films in some detail and students can choose to study French literature if they wish. A more complex level of language is needed for the listening, reading & writing of Unit 4, and for the Unit 3 oral you will research, present and discuss either a region of France, a French film or French novel.


  • Environmental Issues, including technology, pollution, global warming, transport, energy, nuclear energy, renewable energies, conservation, recycling, sustainability.
  • Social & Political Issues, including the role of the media, racism, immigration, social exclusion and integration, terrorism, the world of work (employment, commerce, globalization etc).
  • Guided Studies – students study the French film ‘La Haine’ looking at plot, themes and characters.

All of this is tested in the following examinations:

Unit 3 Oral exam- 20mins (40% of A2)

  • Structured discussion on one topic covered in language lessons
  • Oral presentation and discussion on a French film/book/region of your choice.

Unit 4 Language exam – 3 hours (60% of A2)

Listening, Reading & Translation, Writing about a French film (‘La Haine’) During the course students will explore the culture and way of life of France and French speaking countries, enhanced by the very popular yearly visit to  Lille or Paris (homestay with a French family). We also arrange visits to outside events for sixth formers, such as revision days, masterclass study days, films and theatre productions.

How it is taught

A thematic approach is taken to language teaching in covering the above topics. Much of the teaching is done in French. We focus on improving skills, vocabulary and grammar, as well as enjoying the language! Students often arrive having experienced a range of different teaching styles and content at school, therefore we invest a lot of time and effort into ensuring that everyone is on a level playing field.

A variety of teaching methods are employed, using listening, DVD, interactive whiteboard and computer facilities. Two French Assistants work with small groups to improve oral skills for one hour per week. An excellent opportunity for you to make progress.  Our students tell us that this all leads to a very positive atmosphere within the department!

Entry requirements

The usual entry requirement to QE is 5 GCSE grades at C or above including Maths or English. A good number of students study four AS Levels in their first year and to do this we require at least 3B grades and 3C grades at GCSE including Maths and English Language. Students who do not achieve these GCSE grades take fewer subjects at A Level and will be required to do resits in GCSE Maths and English if they have not already achieved a grade C in these core subjects. The College is large enough to have a very flexible timetable that allows students to take almost any combination of subjects at A Level. The advantage of this system is that we can tailor your programme to suit your needs and abilities. We give lots of advice if you decide to apply to the College.

Subject Specific

A grade C or above in French at GCSE.


Our exam board is WJEC. Units 1 and 2 are taken at the end of the first year to receive an AS qualification. However, due to the nature of language learning, some students benefit from re-taking their AS unit 2 in the summer of the second year.

Units 3 and 4 are taken in the summer of the second year.

Future opportunities

Modern Languages graduates have some of the lowest unemployment rates and are highly sought after by large companies. They also earn, on average, 8% more than other graduates! Our students realise this, and many continue studying a language at university – often with subjects like International Business or Law. Our students choose a wide variety of universities, but all comment on how well prepared they feel when they start their languages course. A language is needed to allow students to compete on an equal footing with our mainland European counterparts whose level of English is often as good, if not better than our own!

How to apply

If you want to apply for this course, you will need to contact Queen Elizabeth Sixth Form College directly.

Last updated date: 17 April 2015
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