Guide to French Course

 French  GCE AQA 7612  

Why study French? 

Whether you dream of living overseas, travelling the world with work and helping people communicate: gaining language skills can help you. There are 29 countries in the world that speak French.  So really, the world is your oyster.  Most degree courses would appreciate people who take a language (even if just at AS-Level). There are many courses at universities around the UK where you can study towards a Single Honours degree in French.  The majority of these courses involve a year studying in France or another French-speaking country, which is a fantastic opportunity.  Also, there are many courses where you can take a language in addition to another subject such as Law or a second and sometimes even a third language such as Italian and German.

If you are able to speak a foreign language, it will increase your chances of finding work abroad, whatever job you want to do.  Most big companies have offices in more than one place too.  For example Google has 70 offices all over the world – from Bogota to Beijing, so being able to speak a second language could increase your chances of getting hired and moving up within a company, even if it’s not the main part of the job.

What can it lead to?

Languages are an excellent subject choice for a wide variety of careers especially those involving translation or communication with people from non-English speaking countries. This can include careers in tourism, government, politics, media, publishing, and journalism. You can also work in education, fashion or law.

In regards to other curriculum areas, languages go well with subjects like English, English Literature, Applied and Business, Leisure and Tourism, History and Geography as they are closely linked and can inform each other. Learning a bit about the French Revolution in history?  Knowing some French could give you a whole new perspective on yourself, your own language and your other subjects.

What are the areas of study?

This linear qualification focuses on 3 core elements:
• Social issues and trends
• Political and artistic culture
• Grammar

The course is divided into three different elements of assessment and is assessed in a final exam at the end of Year 13. There are five lessons per week and students will be expected to undertake a large amount of independent learning. The required study time of French varies between people.  While you should dedicate time to homework and good quality classwork, it should be noted that language learning is progressive, rather than something that can be "crammed".   The best ways to improve your language knowledge at A-level are revising topic areas, revising vocabulary, and immersing yourself within the language:  this could just mean watching a French video on Youtube.  Languages require consistent study, and if you consistently try and do your best then there is not a large need for required individual self-study, and even revision.

Paper 1: Listening, Reading and Writing, 2 hour and 30 mins, 100 marks, 50% of A-level.

Listening: Listening and responding to spoken passages from a range of contexts. All questions are in French.  30 marks.
Reading: Reading and responding to a variety of texts written for different purposes, drawn from a range of authentic sources. All questions are in French.  50 marks.
Writing: Translation into English; a passage of minimum 100 words (10 marks) Translation into French; a passage of minimum 100 words (10 marks).

Paper 2: Writing, 2 hours, 80 marks, 20% of A-level

Either one question in French on a set text from a choice of two questions and 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. 

French Texts

Voltaire Candide
Françoise Sagan Bonjour tristesse
Joseph Joffo Un sac de billes
Faïza Guène Kiffe kiffe demain
Philippe Grimbert Un secret


La Haine Mathieu Kassovitz (1995)
L’auberge espagnole Cédric Klapisch (2002)
Un long dimanche de fiançailles Jean-Pierre Jeunet (2004)
Entre les murs Laurent Cantet (2008)
Les Intouchables Olivier Nakahe (2011)

Paper 3: Speaking, 21-25 minutes, including 5 minutes preparation time, 60 marks, 30% of A-level.

Individual research project covering one of four sub-themes ie  Aspects of French-speaking society: current trends, Aspects of French-speaking society: current issues,  Artistic culture in the French-speaking world, Aspects of political life in the French-speaking world.

  • Discussion of a sub-theme with the discussion based on a stimulus card (5–6 minutes).  The student studies the card for 5 minutes at the start of the test (25 marks).
  • Presentation (2 minutes) and discussion (9–10 minutes) of individual research project (35 marks).