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Are French and German GCSE exams essentially the same?

Discussion in 'Modern foreign languages' started by Fresa82, Jun 4, 2020.

  1. Fresa82

    Fresa82 New commenter


    I'm coming to the end of my ITT and have a question I hope someone can help answer about the GCSE exams. In my teaching practice I taught years 7-9 Spanish and 10-11 French. The plan was for me to swap around in the last term, but my placement was obviously cut short.

    As I have been teaching French GCSE I have learnt quite a lot about the exams and exam technique, e.g. different components of writing exam, speaking exam etc. Are the formats and marks schemes the same in Spanish GCSE? I am asking as I am making a plan for what I need to prioritise in terms of further home study before I start at my NQT school. I have young children, who are not yet returning to school, so my time for further study is very limited , therefore I want to narrow down what I need to focus on before September!

    It is the AQA GCSE that I have knowledge of (this is also the body used in my NQT school)


    TIA! :)
  2. meggyd

    meggyd Lead commenter

    Basically yes. The format of the exams is always the same, however you need to look at the materials from the board to see which structures are required for Higher/Foundation papers and these may not be the same in each language. I do not do Spanish so I can't give examples I am afraid. Also you need to be aware of the structures/vocab the examiners are keen on because they are sometimes ones you would not expect and the kind of tricks they put in. For example ne...que in listening exams. Candidate hears ne and assumes negative. You get the picture.
    agathamorse likes this.
  3. Jonntyboy

    Jonntyboy Lead commenter

    You are very conscientious.

    meggyd is right. I assume you have seen and worked with the most recent papers? You will have teacher access to the AQA stuff too. Look through it.

    As an NQT you will have a mentor to guide you, so I wouldn't worry too much at this stage - in the present siutuation some exam issues may well change, for next year at least...

    And yes, the format is basically the same for AQA's languages (the European ones that I've taught anyway).
    agathamorse likes this.
  4. Fresa82

    Fresa82 New commenter

    That's great. Thank you both of you :)

    I don't suppose there's an easy way of finding a list of the phrases that examiners are keen on? Other than looking through past papers I mean!
  5. meggyd

    meggyd Lead commenter

    Look carefully at the exam textbooks. In my experience the people who write the book also write the exams or at least the exam board draw heavily on the book for material for their questions.
    agathamorse and Lara mfl 05 like this.
  6. lentils22

    lentils22 New commenter

  7. Fresa82

    Fresa82 New commenter

    Excellent, thank you!
    lentils22 and Lara mfl 05 like this.
  8. ChocolateChunk

    ChocolateChunk New commenter

    As you teach both French and Spanish, it should make it easier when getting students familiar with the Mark Scheme for Speaking and Writing.
    The Photo Card and Role Play can be assessed by peers when you choose a student in class to share their answer, including the surprise question. The peers could say what went well and what could have been included to get full marks. Remind Higher students that AQA Associates will be much harsher with misuse of tenses. Example: hier, je vais aller en ville. This would grant points for Foundation but not for Higher.
    For the General Conversation, it is more difficult as the Mark Scheme has more than one parameter and it is very cryptic.

    For Writing, I suggest that you know what the Assessment is like for both Foundation and Higher as they have different tasks. Model your AFL based on these i.e 5 sentences to translate from English to TL etc.
    Jonntyboy likes this.
  9. Fresa82

    Fresa82 New commenter

    Thank you for the practical advice :)

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