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Modern Languages

Why study French and Spanish at A level/Mandarin for the Cambridge Pre-U?

With the increasing influence of Europe and the global world on our lives, it is becoming increasingly important to be able to communicate in more than one language. Learning a foreign language will give you the opportunity to gain a greater understanding of other cultures, and to acquire essential communication skills. You can combine languages with any other subject and language qualifications are highly regarded by top universities and employers.

Your studies will be academically challenging and an important first step into the international world of study and work. They will also incorporate a wide range of enrichment opportunities, such as A-Level study trips to the relevant country, one-to-one sessions with a native speaker, and help with setting up work experience in the relevant country.

What will I study?

You will be studying your chosen language(s) in a wide range of general topic areas, such as youth culture and concerns, health and fitness, travel, tourism, and environmental issues. You will also learn about customs and traditions, national and international events, literature and the arts.

Course structure (French and Spanish at AS and A2 use the same course structure, as described below.)

AS Units

  • Module 1 - Spoken expression and response (15% of GCE A Level) Mixture of response to stimulus and conversation, linked to student choice.
  • Module 2 - Understanding and written response. (35% of GCE A Level) Mixture of listening and reading tasks (non-verbal, short passages in the target language and English responses); writing in response to a stimulus. Students control the pace of assessment.

A2 Units

  • Module 3 - understanding and spoken response (17.5% of GCE) Taking a stance on a chosen issue and defending it; discussion of further issues; focus on students’ interests.
  • Module 4 - research, understanding and written response (32.5% of GCE)
  • Translation task (English to the target language).
  • Essay (discursive or creative) from a wide range of titles.
  • Reading and research based task. (Wide research areas, free choice of literary texts or film.)

How will I study?

In addition to gaining a thorough knowledge of grammatical structures and concepts, you will be taught to communicate in the target language in a wide range of situations through a variety of teaching and learning styles. The department subscribes to many online resources and students will find these invaluable. We have native speaking language assistants who work closely with sixth formers. There will be an opportunity to take part in a work experience.

Cambridge Pre-U in Mandarin

In the first year, students will have the opportunity to sit the Pre-U Short Course which can be extended to the full Pre-U qualification in Year 13.

The short course

  • Paper 1 Speaking 12-15 mins
  • Paper 2 Chinese Culture 1 hour 15 mins: Write an English essay 600-700 words.

Topic areas for paper 1

  1. Family
  2. Young people
  3. Education                    

The principle course (full course) (linear exam at the end of year 13)

  • Paper 1 (20%) Speaking (12-15 mins)
  • Paper 2 (30%) Listening, Reading and Translation (2.5 hours) (dictionary allowed)
  • Paper 3 (25%) Writing and Usage (2 hours) (dictionary allowed)
  • Paper 4 (25%) Chinese culture (2.5 hours)

Topic areas for paper 4

  1. The founding of the People’s Republic of China
  2. Chinese economic trends since 1978
  3. Emerging China, population, environment and migrant
  4. Fiction – Love in a Fallen City and other stories, Eileen Chang
  5. Fiction – Boat to Redemption, Su Tong
  6. Film – Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress, Dai Sijie