Bolton School Sixth Form Boys


As you may imagine, there are few schools inGreat Britainwhich offer Russian beyond GCSE. As a result, by deciding to take Russian to AS and/or A2, you will be choosing a subject which is not only fascinating in its own right, but also one which carries a certain rarity value and which, atBoltonSchool, is exceptionally well-taught. To be able to say that you have a command of a language as complex and as mesmerising as Russian certainly stands out on any CV and can only serve to help you in the competitive world in which we live.   

What will I study?

The Edexcel course that we follow will appeal to keen linguists, who enjoy being stretched by a wide and varied diet of cultural and linguistic materials. As you would expect at this level, the course is broad, offering students the chance to look at everything from politics and social issues through to the media and the arts. You can expect your understanding ofRussia, its history and its culture to expand immeasurably and your linguistic skills to develop considerably over the duration of the course.  

How will I be assessed?

At AS, students will have to take two units, which look to cover the four key skills of listening, reading, writing and speaking.  The examinations take place in June.


Unit 1                    Spoken Expression and Response in Russian                                                8-10 minutes

                                (30% of total AS mark)    

(15% of total GCE mark)


Unit 2                    Understanding and Written Response in Russian                         2 hours 30 minutes

(70% of total AS mark)                     

(35% of total GCE mark)             


Those taking Russian to A2 will take an additional two units, as detailed below. At this stage, students will be expected to work far more independently than previously, as not only will they have to research their prepared topic for oral discussion, but also make the necessary preparations for their research-based essay (180-200 words).  As with AS, these examinations take place in June.  There is no coursework element at either AS or A2.


Unit 3                    Understanding and Spoken Response in Russian                         11-13 minutes

                                (35% of total A2 mark)

                                (17.5% of total GCE mark)


Unit 4                    Research, Understanding and Written Response in Russian       2 hour 30 minutes

                                (65% of total A2 mark)

(32.5% of total GCE mark)


Desirable requirements

Although the study of Russian at this level demands a high degree of intellectual rigour and linguistic competence, crucially, it requires a committed and focused approach; without this, no pupil, whatever his ability, can expect to fulfil his potential. Pupils considering Russian at AS/A2 should have anticipated achieving an A-grade or higher at GCSE. Those who have managed a B-grade at GCSE are more than welcome to consider taking Russian at this level, but should be fully aware of the demanding nature of the course.  

Where will it lead?

The links between Russia, the former Soviet Republics and the West continue to grow rapidly. Employment opportunities now exist in all spheres ranging from journalism and publishing to business and industry. Pupils who have been able to offer Russian at Advanced Level have found that they have received more favourable offers from universities keen to snap them up, not just for the linguistic talents they possess, but also for the logical and deductive skills they have developed. Ultimately, however, where Russian takes you depends very much on you.