This year sees the introduction of the new GCSE for Key Stage 4. We are a language college and so all students will continue to study a language, including students taking vocational courses.
Most pupils will follow a GCSE course, apart from a small number of students for whom the demands of the exam would be inappropriate. These pupils will study GCSE topics, but will be assessed using Asset Languages, which allows students to take tests when they are ready for them and in the skill areas where they are strongest.
Pupils who have studied French in lower school will continue with French, however, pupils who have already studied an additional language will be able to choose this as their first foreign language. It must be stressed that this needs careful consideration as pupils will have spent less time studying these languages, and decisions should be made in consultation with their class teachers. Students can, of course, continue to study more than one language, and we strongly encourage pupils who have studied two or more languages at Key Stage 3 to continue doing so.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Do I have to sit long exams in the hall?
The longest language exam is one hour; most are between thirty to fifty minutes, depending on the exact qualification you are taking. The applied GCSE and Asset Languages don’t involve any exams in the hall. All the assessments are done in the classroom or online.
2. What is the listening paper like?
You listen to a tape as you currently do in end-of-unit tests. The language is spoken twice, and then the teacher pauses the tape, so that you have time to write your answer. The exception is the listening test for the vocational GCSE, where the test is done online.
3. What is the speaking test like?
Your own teacher conducts the speaking test, because you are used to him/her and they will know how to put you at your ease so that you can do your best.
4. Are the exams in German, Japanese Russian and Spanish easier because we have studied them for less time?
Not necessarily, but the results in previous years have been excellent. Talk to your class teacher if you want an idea of what grade they think you are capable of in their subject.
5. Are dictionaries allowed in the exams?
No, you can only use a dictionary to help you with coursework.
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