What our Former French Students Say...
Adawa – French, Maths, English Literature
Personally I felt as if French A-level was not only a great subject to take because I liked it, but also really useful for my future; we're moving into a more multicultural society, and so having a second language in your back pocket broadens your job opportunities. I also studied English Literature and Maths because, again, I liked these subjects and felt every comfortable learning about them in further detail. Right now, I am studying law with criminology at the University of Liverpool, and I can confidently say that all three subjects have helped me in my studies here: I use my English analysis skills when solving problem questions, my mathematical skills with laws pertaining to finance and I'm hoping for a study year abroad to France! As I said before, studying a foreign language, not only develops your linguistic capabilities, but also provides you with so many more options of career paths for the future!
Ahlaam – French, History, English Literature
I really loved studying French at A-Level. Alongside improving my written and spoken French, I learnt so much about art, history, politics, and culture from around the French-speaking world, which has not only been super helpful throughout my degree so far but was also very relevant and applicable to my other A-Level subjects. I've gotten a lot of opportunities because I have an A-Level in French, including getting the chance to do research at a university in Paris - this was cancelled due to COVID, but is still a really cool opportunity I wouldn't have gotten if I hadn't done French. No matter what you're planning to do after Sixth Form, there's really no downside to doing A-Level French because of the incredible skills you gain in a brand new language.
George – French, Computing, Maths
I really enjoyed studying A Level French! The included topics are very interesting, the grammar is practically relevant, and the discussions are thought provoking. Learning French helped me to better apply new language concepts in many situations that I find
myself in today, as a computer science student. I would definitely recommend taking French!
Lara Beasley – French/ English Literature/ Art
I chose to study A Level French as I've always had an interest in learning about other languages and cultures. I was also studying English Literature and Art, and i think the subjects really fed well into each other. French is a very diverse subject in terms of course content, and you have a lot of opportunities to feed into your interests which is really great!
I'm currently studying a Foundation Diploma in Art and Design to prepare for a degree in Fine Art and Psychology.
French has helped improve my confidence in talking, in both French and English! In a more practical sense, the ability to research things in multiple languages is such a useful skill to have, and the artist I did my presentation on for my Speaking exam (Claude Cahun) has had a huge impact on my artistic style. So it's very easy to find something that you're passionate about by studying French!
Joseph Coyne - French , History, Economics, English Literature
The main reason I chose to study French at A-Level was simply because it was the subject I most enjoyed throughout my GCSEs. I had no idea what I wanted to do after sixth form so it made sense to choose subjects that I found interesting. Having made good progress in French by the end of year 11, it seemed a shame to stop learning the language and to lose that progress, rather than continuing to improve. One thing I would stress is that by the end of Year 13, if you work hard, you’ll have a very good level of French, to the point where you can talk freely with good fluency on a range of topics. Equally, languages are very much respected by universities and employers alike, there aren’t many A-Levels which leave you with a tangible, impressive skill that you can immediately add to your CV.
I studied Economics at AS Level and did A Levels in French, History, and English Literature. I thought that these A Levels complemented each other well, as they all focus on your ability to construct solid, persuasive, and logical arguments, which is a good skill to have for both further academic study and life in general. Studying a foreign language also allows you to gain a much better understanding of the intricacies of your native language. As a result, the way you use your native language often becomes more articulate.
After my A-Levels, I did a degree in French and German. I was at a point where I really wanted to continue to improve my French. A common misconception is that a languages degree is just simply studying grammar and vocabulary. The majority of my time was spent doing modules in history, politics, and literature, all of which I also had a keen interest for, as well as a year working abroad. I learnt that most universities also give you the option to learn a new language. I learnt German to degree level in 4 years and sat final-year exams with people who had largely been learning German since the age of 11, something which was only possible due to the fact that I already had a solid understanding of French. The process of learning a new language becomes easier when you already recognise the various grammar points that you need to learn and develop.
In an increasingly globalised world, you cannot underestimate the importance of being able to communicate in more than one language. Even though it often feels like everybody knows English, there are certain barriers, both personally and professionally, that you can only break down by speaking to someone in their native language. As far as travelling is concerned, knowing languages makes travel not only easier, but much more enjoyable and rewarding. Like many subjects, a language is also simply a very good tool for demonstrating your capacity to quickly learn new, complex things. Unlike many of those subjects, however, a language also leaves you with an impressive, tangible skill up your sleeve.
Exam Board - Edexcel
Why should I study a language?
Learning a language encourages you to:
- Meet people from different countries and find out more about them
- Learn many skills which are useful in a wide range of careers, such as the ability to communicate clearly, be confident about speaking in public, use problem solving strategies and write coherently.
- Develop critical thinking, creativity and independence
- Add an international dimension to your choice of A level subjects, which is something many employers and higher education providers want
- Have greater opportunities to work and/or study abroad, or work for companies in the UK with international links
- Discuss interests, ideas and opinions with other people who speak the language
- Learn more about countries where the language is spoken, and the people who speak it
- Read books and watch films in their original language
- Spend time abroad (e.g. at university or on a work placement).
What do I need to know, or be able to do, before taking this course?
If you already have knowledge of a variety of topics, and can express your opinions, you are ready to build on this at A level. You will learn about different aspects of French culture, literature and film, and be able to use more complex grammar and more vocabulary. This enables you to really develop an understanding of the language, the countries where it is spoken and the people who speak it.
The minimum GCSE French grade needed to enrol on this course is 6.
What can I do after I’ve completed the course?
People with language skills and knowledge usually have an advantage over people without them. They stand out as talented and successful people, with broad and exciting horizons. Success at A level French means you will:
- Add an extra international dimension to your personal skills profile which will impress people who read your CV
- Be in a stronger position to get a job in companies with international links
- Be able to work or study in a French-speaking country in later life
- Progress to study a degree in French, or French and another subject, to further your knowledge of the language and culture
- Find it easier to learn other languages later if you want to
- Add a useful skill if your main subjects are not languages: languages support careers in a range of areas including management, business, science and tourism.
What will I learn?
A level French helps you explore a wide range of topics, which will add to your understanding of the language and country. Topics are: evolving society in France; political and artistic culture in French-speaking countries; immigration and multiculturalism in France; the Occupation of France and the Resistance during the Second World War. The novel and film you study link to the course topics, giving you further insight into French culture, society and history. You will also learn new grammar and vocabulary and you will be able to translate into and out of French. You will develop your critical thinking, creativity, independence and skills of analysis. You will also develop skills to be able to learn other languages.
How will I be assessed?
You will take three exams which make up the total available. Paper 1 is 40% of the total marks; Paper 2 is 30% and Paper 3 is 30%. You will be given a certificate with a grade between E and A* with A* being the highest.
Listening, reading and translation
Written response to works and translation
In the listening section of this paper, you will answer multiple-choice and comprehension questions in French on a variety of recordings. In the reading section, you will also answer multiple-choice and comprehension questions in French, based on a variety of written texts. You will also translate a passage from French into English.
In this paper you will write about two books or one book and one film that you have studied throughout the year. There will also be a translation of a passage from English into French.
Before this exam you will have 5 minutes to prepare a discussion based on a stimulus card you are given. You will then discuss the topic of the card with your examiner, who is often your teacher. You will also give a presentation on an independent research project you will have conducted on a topic you will have chosen.