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French A Level at Caistor Grammar School

Course description

There are 2 written papers and 1 speaking exam so 3 papers in total.

Paper 1: Reading, Listening and Writing - 2½ hours, worth 40%

Listening and responding to spoken passages from a range of contexts and sources covering different registers and will include complex factual and abstract content and questions will target main points, gist and detail. Students will have individual control of the recording. All questions are in French, to be answered with non‐verbal responses or in French.

The Reading section requires responding to a variety of texts written for different purposes, which are drawn from a range of authentic sources. Material will include complex factual and abstract content and questions will target main points, gist and detail. All questions are in French, to be answered with non‐verbal responses or in French.

The Writing section consists of two translation passages: Translation into English, a passage of minimum 100 words and Translation into French, again a passage of minimum 100 words. The use of a dictionary is not allowed.

Paper 2: Writing - 2 hours, worth 30%

For this exam, you have to write 2 essays in French on either a set text or a set film or two set texts. There is a choice of two essay titles for each text and each film. All questions will require a critical appreciation of the concepts and issues covered in the work and a critical and analytical response to features such as the form and the techniques used by the director or author. The quality of your French will also be examined as well as your use of grammar and vocabulary. You will not be allowed any notes or access to the novel or film you have studied. At Caistor Grammar School, we will study one film and one set text.

Paper 3 Speaking - 21‐23 minutes, worth 30%

There are 2 parts to this assessment: a 5‐6 minute discussion of a sub‐topic based on a stimulus card, which you get 5 minutes before the exam to prepare. The second part is based on your personal research project. You give a 2 minute presentation on your chosen topic and then have a 9‐10 minute discussion with the examiner about your project.


Course content


Social issues and trends:

Aspects of French‐speaking society: current trends:

  • The changing nature of family (La famille en voie de changement)
  • The 'cyber‐society' (La ‘cyber‐société’)
  • The place of voluntary work (Le rôle du bénévolat)

Aspects of French‐speaking society: current issues:

  • Positive features of a diverse society (Les aspects positifs d'une société diverse)
  • Life for the marginalised (Quelle vie pour les marginalisés?)
  • How criminals are treated (Comment on traite les criminels)
  • Political and artistic culture: Students must study the themes and sub‐themes below in relation to at least one French‐speaking country.

Artistic culture in the French‐speaking world:

  • A culture proud of its heritage (Une culture fière de son patrimoine)
  • Contemporary francophone music (La musique francophone contemporaine)
  • Cinema: the 7th art form (Cinéma: le septième art)

Aspects of political life in the French‐speaking world:

  • Teenagers, the right to vote and political commitment (Les ados, le droit de vote et l'engagement politique)
  • Demonstrations, strikes – who holds the power? (Manifestations, grèves – à qui le pouvoir?)
  • Politics and immigration (La politique et l'immigration)


In the exam students will be required to use, actively and accurately, grammar and structures appropriate to the tasks set. There is a list on AQA but basically all aspects of the language will be covered over the two year course.


Students must study either one text and one film or two texts from the list below. Texts:

  • Molière Le Tartuffe
  • Voltaire Candide
  • Maupassant Boule de suif et autres contes de la guerre
  • Camus L’étranger
  • Françoise Sagan Bonjour tristesse
  • Claire Etcherelli Elise ou la vraie vie
  • Joseph Joffo Un sac de billes
  • Faïza Guène Kiffe kiffe demain
  • Philippe Grimbert Un secret
  • Delphine de Vigan No et moi


  • Au revoir les enfants
  • La Haine
  • L’auberge espagnole
  • Un long dimanche de fiançailles
  • Entre les murs 
  • Les 400 coups


Students must identify a subject or a key question which is of interest to them and which relates to a country or countries where French is spoken. They must select relevant information in French from a range of sources including the internet. The aim of the research project is to develop research skills. Students will have to demonstrate their ability to initiate and conduct individual research by analysing and summarising their findings, in order to present and discuss them in the speaking assessment. Students may choose a subject linked to one of the themes or sub‐themes or to one of the works. However, students must not base their research on the same literary text or film that they refer to in their written assessment. Students within a school or college should each choose a different subject for their research. However, if more than one student selects the same general subject area, the title of their research and their approach must be different.


Entry requirements

The minimum requirement for studying French in sixth form is a grade 6 at GCSE or IGCSE. More important, however, are a genuine interest in the language and culture of France and French speaking countries, a curiosity and desire to learn more about and discuss the world around us and an eagerness to develop and further skills which will prove invaluable for future study and careers.

Further information

French at A Level is stimulating, challenging and fun but students need to be actively interested in and willing to immerse themselves wholeheartedly in French, the language and its culture. You have to speak freely and ask questions in French and develop your knowledge, understanding and language skills outside the classroom as readily as inside. The key to success is a genuine desire to develop your linguistic skills, literally from day one! This means speaking and communicating not only with your teachers but also the French guest and among yourselves. It also means listening to and accessing French in your own time on a regular basis (watching films, listening to French‐speaking TV and music via the internet, reading articles and blogs, all of which are readily accessible and free!)

How to apply

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

Last updated date: 23 November 2017

Key information

  • Start date: Next September
  • Duration: 2 years