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GSO Test

Est. 1921


Course Details

Exam Board and specification code:


Course Co-ordinator:

Mrs Conn

Video Introduction:

What is this course about?

Spanish is the language of the future. It is fun, interesting and is one of the easiest foreign languages to learn.  It is spoken by more than 400 million people worldwide; it is the fourth most widely spoken language as well as being an official language in four continents. Studying Spanish will allow you to have a greater appreciation of Hispanic cultural contributions; it will enable you to have a better understanding of your native vocabulary and will certainly broaden your travel experiences. As the working world rapidly progresses and becomes more globalised, knowing a language is a necessity, it will make you more employable.

Spanish is very popular at GCSE and we are delighted to be able to make it available to students as an option at A level. You will develop the ability to comprehend Spanish in a range of contexts and to communicate readily in the target language for a variety of purposes. You will acquire a useful knowledge of and insight into Spanish- speaking cultures, contemporary and historic as well as valuable skills for foreign travel, further education and employment. To help you learn, you will have the opportunity to practise your spoken Spanish individually every week with our Spanish assistant.

The purpose of studying Spanish at advanced level is to develop your skills beyond GCSE so that you can use and understand a much wider range of language. At GCSE you learn the language you need to talk about yourself and to cope with a visit to Spain or a Spanish speaking country. At advanced level you will expand this range of language so that you can talk about things that are happening in the world and learn more about life in the countries where the language is spoken.

Course Content

Throughout the course of the two years pupils will study four themes:

Themes and sub-themes

Papers 1 and 3 will be based on content from the following four themes. The four themes address a range of social issues and trends, as well as aspects of the political and artistic culture of Spain and Spanish-speaking countries.

Themes 1, 3, and 4 focus on aspects of society or history of Spain only. Theme 2 requires students to broaden their knowledge across any Spanish-speaking country/countries and/or community/communities. Each theme is broken into three sub-themes.

Theme 1: La evolución de la sociedad española

This is set in the context of Spain only. This theme covers social issues and trends.

  • El cambio en la estructura familiar
  • El mundo laboral
  • El impacto turístico en España

Theme 2: La cultura política y artística en el mundo hispanohablante

This is 2 is set in the context of Spanish-speaking countries and communities. This theme covers artistic culture (through music and festivals and traditions) and political and artistic culture (through media).

  • La música
  • Los medios de comunicación
  • Los festivales y las tradiciones

Theme 3: La inmigración y la sociedad multicultural española

This is set in the context of Spain only. This theme covers social issues and trends.

  • El impacto positivo de la inmigración en la sociedad Española
  • Enfrentando los desafíos de la inmigración y la integración en España
  • La reacción social y pública hacia la inmigración en España

Theme 4: La dictadura franquista y la transición a la democracia

This is set in the context of Spain only. This theme covers political culture.

  • La Guerra Civil y el ascenso de Franco (1936-1939)
  • La dictadura franquista
  • La transición de la dictadura a la democracia

Pupils will sit the following papers at the end of year 13:

Paper 1: Listening, reading and translation

  • Written examination: 2 hours
  • 40% of the qualification
  • 80 marks

Content overview

This paper draws on vocabulary and structures across all four themes. Themes are based on the society and culture of the language being studied.

Assessment overview

Students are not permitted access to a dictionary during the examination.

The examination is made up of:

Section A: Listening (30 marks)

A listening assessment based on a recording, featuring male and female Spanish speakers.Students will respond to comprehension questions based on a variety of contexts and sources.

Section B: Reading (30 marks)

A reading assessment based on a variety of text types and genres where students will have to respond to comprehension questions.

Section C: Translation into English (20 marks)

An unseen passage to be translated from Spanish to English.

Paper 2: Written response to works and translation

  • Written examination: 2 hours and 40 minutes
  • 30% of the qualification
  • 120 marks

Content overview

This paper draws on the study of two discrete Spanish works: either two literary texts, or one literary text and one film. The works must be taken from the list provided by the exam board. The literary texts listed include a range of novels, novellas, short stories and plays. All of the films are feature length.

Assessment overview

This paper includes a translation exercise and two essays on either two literary texts, or one literary text and one film (students must not answer questions on two films).

Students are not permitted access to a dictionary or any documentation relating to the works during the examination.

Section A: Translation (20 marks)

Students translate an unseen passage from English into Spanish.

Section B: Written response to works (literary texts) (50 marks)

Students must write an extended response on either one or two of the literary texts.

Students select one question from a choice of two for each of their chosen literary text(s). If a student answers questions on two literary texts then they do not complete Section C.

Section C: Written response to works (films) (50 marks)

Students who answer only one question from a literary text in Section B must now write an extended response on one of the films. Students select one question from a choice of two for their chosen film.

Paper 3: Speaking

Internally conducted and externally assessed

  • Total assessment time: between 21 and 23 minutes, which includes a single period of 5 minutes’ formal preparation time
  • 30% of the qualification
  • 72 marks

Content overview

Task 1 draws on vocabulary and structures across all the four themes listed earlier.

Task 2 is based on independent research selected and carried out by the student. The research may be based on one of the themes or on the student’s own subject of interest related to the society and culture of the language studied. Students will be assessed on their ability to use a range of language accurately, communicate and interact effectively, summarise and analyse findings from written sources relating to their research subject, and show knowledge and understanding about the culture and society where the language is spoken.

Assessment overview

Students complete two tasks. Task 1 is worth 30 marks and Task 2 is worth 42 marks.

Task 1 (discussion on a Theme)

Students discuss one Theme from the specification based on a stimulus containing two different statements.

Task 2, Part 1 (independent research presentation)

Students present a summary of at least two of the written sources they have used for their research and give a personal response to what they have read.

Task 2, Part 2 (discussion on independent research)

Students answer questions on their presentation and then have a wider discussion on their research.

What might this course lead on to?

Linguists are the second most employable graduate category after medics. Studying a foreign language at university can lead to work in international business, law, management, marketing, publishing, journalism and living and working abroad.

Entry Requirements:

This course is particularly suitable for students who have studied GCSE French or Spanish to at least a grade 5 standard and who wish to study a modern foreign language at a higher level.