What will I study?
The course consists of listening comprehension, reading comprehension, translation into and from French, essay writing and oral work.
Although the listening, reading, essay and oral elements of the advanced syllabus may look familiar to a GCSE student, advanced work in this subject is a very different proposition from that done in year 11. GCSE is concerned with facts, advanced level with ideas. Thus, in reading and listening tasks, the candidate draws conclusions from the material and in the oral examination is asked to give his opinion on the subject raised. General understanding of the gist and the supplying of the facts is not enough. Advanced writing demands an ability to discuss issues like the cinema or personal relationships. The facts of GCSE are less important. A general awareness of how French works will bring a high grade at GCSE. At advanced level a much more detailed knowledge is essential - hence the inclusion in the course of translation to force the student to be meticulous in his approach to grammar.
Advanced level students will have six periods of French per week and a lesson with the French assistant. They will be required to produce work for each lesson they attend. Some of this work will be for class discussion; some will be handed in for marking. Throughout the course, students will be expected to do listening and reading comprehension exercises and to prepare answers to oral questions. More extended writing will form part of modules 1 & 3. Mock examinations will be held immediately after the February half term for all year 12 and 13 students of French. Success comes from ready participation in class, from a conscientious approach to private study and from a willingness to become involved in the subject by consulting the periodicals in the Senior Library, by watching films and documentaries concerning France on TV, by watching the news recorded on the Satellite TV system, by reading about the history, geography and politics of the country and by going there whenever possible.
The AS & A2 course material we use is fully endorsed by AQA and is supplemented by online resources that students can access from home.
Middle school studies provide a working knowledge of French. Those who want to refine and develop that knowledge and are prepared to devote the necessary time and energy to these ends, should seriously consider the AS and A2 courses.
How will I be assessed?
The French department follow the specification set by the Assessment and Qualifications Alliance (AQA).
The specification is as follows:
Unit 1 2 hours 35% Listening, reading and writing
Content: Media, popular culture, healthy living/lifestyles and family/relationships
Unit 2 35 minutes (including 20 mins preparation time) 15% Speaking
Content: As for unit 1
These two units lead to AS.
Unit 3 2 hours 30 minutes 35% Listening, reading and writing
Content: Environment, the Multicultural Society, Contemporary Social Issues, Cultural topics (This can include the study of literature)
Unit 4 35 minutes (including 20 minutes preparation time) 15% Speaking
Content: As for unit 3
These two units added to the AS units lead to A2.
Potential advanced students should be motivated to become highly competent at speaking and writing the language. Although we have accepted boys with a B onto the course in the past it is desirable that boys have achieved A or A* at GCSE.
Where will it lead?
In the past, boys have used their advanced French to enter a wide variety of university courses from a traditional language and literature degree to Chemistry with a year inEurope, not to mention French in combination with Business Studies, Law or another language.
Post University, French can be used directly in teaching and translating or in numerous other spheres along with a further skill - finance and marketing readily spring to mind in this connection. If a student has a qualification in French at a high level, he will find his career prospects enhanced whether or not he is to use the language full-time in a job.