Who is this course for?
If you already know that you are good at languages, then learning French is a useful choice, as it is the official language of France, an official language of the European Union, and it is also spoken in parts of Belgium, Switzerland and Canada as well as many countries in Africa, such as Senegal and Ivory Coast.
Studying the language is not only about understanding the grammar and structure of the language, it is also about how people live and use the language on a day-to-day basis. You will develop your ability and confidence to use and understand the language and the culture.
Formal Entry Requirements
All students studying for A Level would be expected to have five GCSEs A-C in academic subjects including GCSE English at C or above. There is a minimum entry requirement of a Grade B in French at GCSE. If you have spent a significant amount of time in a French-speaking country, it may be possible to join the course, after discussion with your tutors.
In order to progress from AS to A2 you will need a D grade at AS.
What does the course involve?
We aim to build on what you have learnt for GCSE in order to give you the confidence to be able to use French in class and on visits to the country. It helps if you have an interest in grammar, as accurate use of the language is even more important at AS and A Level.
French can be studied in either your first or second year as an AS Level qualification or over two years as a full A Level.
A typical class includes a wide range of activities and starts with some general conversation in French. We then study some aspects of the structure of the language, and then look at some source material in French, using sound recordings or video extracts, written and spoken sources or the Internet. Most listening work is done individually, using sound files stored on the college computer system.
AS Level French
will cover the following topics:
TV, advertising and communication technology
• Popular culture:
cinema, music and fashion/trends
• Healthy living/lifestyle:
sport/exercise, health and well-being and holidays
relationships within the family, friendships and marriage/partnerships.
A2 Level French
will cover the following topics:
pollution, energy and protecting the planet
• The multi-cultural society:
immigration, integration and racism
• Contemporary social issues:
wealth and poverty, law and order and the impact of scientific and technological progress
• Two Cultural topics:
in depth study of a French-speaking region/community, or the study of a period of its 20th Century history, or the study of one of its novelists, dramatists, poets or the study of a director, architect, musician or painter.
You will develop the ability to speak and write about these topics in French.
How will I be assessed?
Both AS and A Level French are assessed through pairs of examinations: one in Listening/Reading & Writing and one in Speaking. The examinations are a mixture of short answers, structured questions, essays and a speaking test. There is no course work involved in the subject. You take one exam for each of the units; so that’s two for the AS Level and a total of four for the full A Level. Any of the units can be retaken if you don’t do as well as you had hoped.
Where can I go next?
Apart from being beneficial at a personal level, your A Level in French can help with quite a few career paths. For those who want to specialise in language, there’s teaching, translation or interpreting. There are also travel and tourism, journalism, and the diplomatic service. You can combine a lot of subjects at university with French. Here are just a few examples: Art & French, Business & French, History & French, Law & French, Mathematics & French, etc... But even as an engineer or designer, being proficient in a language will give you broader career options.