The AS course in French is designed to enable you to develop your reading, listening, speaking and writing skills via study of four topics: the Media, Popular Culture (cinema, music and fashion), Healthy Living and Family and Relationships. Whilst it is no longer a requirement to learn large chunks of factual information about France as part of your course, we will be studying these topics from a French perspective. You will have the opportunity to watch a variety of French films, listen to modern and traditional French music and study a range of authentic materials as part of the course.
For A2, you will study contemporary issues such as Racism and the Environment, as well as looking at two cultural topics in more depth. Currently, we are studying the films of Jean-Pierre Jeunet, and the autobiographical novel Le Château de ma Mère by Marcel Pagnol for the cultural topics.
The minimum entry requirement is a B at GCSE. There is a considerable increase in difficulty from GCSE to A-level and potential students should be aware that full participation in lessons, including conversation classes with the assistant, is successful for a smooth transition. If you are determined and work hard, there is no reason why you should not succeed.
To do well at A-level French, you need to be well-organised. Independent work will take many different forms, including vocabulary learning, listening comprehension, reading, grammar exercises, preparation for speaking tasks and written work. Each type of task is equally important, even though the results, for example of vocabulary learning, are not necessarily immediately obvious.
To achieve really good grades, you also need to take an interest in wider aspects of life in France or other French-speaking countries. During the AS year, you should be starting to read articles from French newspapers and magazines regularly, to watch films or television and listen to the radio to broaden your knowledge both of vocabulary and of the society you are studying. You also need to develop the ability to use resource materials such as a dictionary effectively.