This A-level builds on the knowledge, understanding and skills gained at GCSE. It constitutes an integrated study with a focus on language, culture and society. It promotes a range of valuable transferable skills including communication, critical thinking, research skills and creativity. The content is suitable for students who wish to progress to employment or further study, including a modern languages degree or, more commonly, into the world of commerce. This qualification is linear, which means that students will sit all of their exams at the end of the 2 year course.
The focus is on how French-speaking society has been shaped socially and culturally, and how it continues to change. Students also study aspects of the political landscape in a French-speaking country, looking at immigration from the political perspective and at the way in which political power is expressed through action such as strikes and demonstrations. Teenagers and the extent to which they are politically engaged looks towards the future of political life in French-speaking society.
The choice of works (literary texts and films) offers opportunities to link with the themes studied. Students will study ‘L’étranger’ by Albert Camus and the film ‘La Haine’ Mathieu Kassovitz (1995)
French is a desirable support to all other areas of study. Increasingly, job opportunities are enhanced if you can show the ability to learn a foreign language to an advanced level. For example, the business world is always on the look-out for people with good language skills.
Many universities offer a double honours degree which include French (e.g. Law and French, Business and French, Philosophy and French). Studying a language as an enrichment is a very popular choice at University. Alternatively, Europe funds the ERASMUS project for students who study French alongside their main subject. This is the ideal opportunity to experience life/higher education abroad.
There are three exams at the end of the two-year course:
Paper 1 - Listening, reading and writing - 2 ½ hours - 50% of A-level
No access to a dictionary during the assessment. The paper is split into 3 sections:
Paper 2 - Writing - 2 hours - 20% of A-level
No access to a dictionary during the assessment. No access to texts or films during the assessment.
There will be two essays to write on set questions based on a book or film. Students are advised to write approximately 300 words per essay. Either one question in French on a set text from a choice of two questions plus one question in French on a set film from a choice of two questions OR Two questions in French on set texts from a choice of two questions on each text.
Paper 3 - Speaking - 21 to 23 minutes - 30% of A-level
No access to a dictionary during the assessment (including 5 minutes preparation). Students may take the assessment only once before certification.
Oral exam: 21-23 minutes (including 5 minutes’ preparation time)