How much harder is French A level compared to GCSE?

  • 1 vote

What do you learn in french a level? I heard that you study deeper topics like marriage and there's more essay writing. Is this true?


Posted Mon 13th February, 2012 @ 20:35 by furuba fan

8 Answers

  • 3 votes

I studied AQA GCSE French and managed to get an A* with full marks. Now I'm studying OCR French at AS Level and in truth I'm regretting my choice! I don't want to scare you, I'm sure it's dependent on the exam board choice (OCR being particularly horrible), but the general feeling from myself and friends who are studying languages in other exam boards is that it's a MAJOR step up from GCSE. I could barely string sentences together in year 10 and in Year 11 I was given a booklet with good phrases to use for my speaking and writing coursework. You literally could have written the coursework pieces using the booklet alone and all I had to do was add in opinions, comparatives and make sure my grammar, which was pretty basic at the time, was correct. Moving up to AS level French was a shock. Now I have 1 hour of French grammar a week and in lesson I'm expected to give my opinion on pretty much any topic with fluency. Also my work load for French is far heavier than my other A-level choices (Chemistry, Biology and Maths) and because of this I find I don't end up putting enough time into my other subjects. I'd say if your passionate about the language then take it up. You'll be expected to read a French novel, watch French films, read French magazines and newspaper articles and ultimately completely immerse yourself in the language and culture. If, however, you’re taking French to broaden your subject choices like me (I want to go on to study Biochemistry), then honestly I wouldn't recommend taking up a language because of the time commitment it requires. I go to Tiffin Girls and within the first month 4 girls dropped out of our class of 16- they got cold feet when they realised how challenging it would be. It's a very difficult A-level, there is a HUGE gap between it and GCSE, and unless you can afford to put in the time in to bridge the gap, I would say it will put a heck of a lot more pressure on you when trying to study your other subjects. On the other hand, I will note that my level of French has improved remarkably over the year, and it definitely feels rewarding. I'm still going to drop French next year because I need to focus on my other subjects but I’ll come away feeling so much more confident and fluent in the language. 

Answered Mon 9th April, 2012 @ 12:11 by Isobel Johns
  • 2 votes

I managed to get an A in GCSE AQA French, and decided to take A Level French, and my school chose to do WJEC. The first few months were horrid. I didn't understand anything, everything was so complex, so in detailed.. I wanted to drop it. But now, i can say that I love it. I enjoy French, because i have learnt more language and vocabulary that I can understand more in lessons, from the class work, to what the teachers are saying. Having said that, I wouldn't say A Level French is easy, but it's enjoyable if you like it. 

Answered Mon 16th April, 2012 @ 14:11 by Jessica
  • 2 votes

I was going to take A level French, as I'm expected A* at GCSE, but I chose Graphic Communications instead, because the course seemed a lot harder. You only have to memorise things, pretty much, at GCSE level, but at college, you have to debate in French, and make stuff up on the spot, without making errors. Although I enjoy French, and I'm doing well in it, I felt that I couldn't carry it on to A level. In saying that, I don't want to forget any of my GCSE stuff, so I'm going to keep it up as a hobby, languages are useful, so I don't want to lose it as a skill! (: Good look choosing!

Answered Thu 17th May, 2012 @ 21:42 by YellowYeti
  • 1 vote

French AS, compared to GCSE isn't much more difficult, but the level of french you have to be able to use and understand is quite high. There are many grammer points and rules to learn, but you just have to practice and practice in order to learn them. tThere is alot of new vocabulary, and the topics which are covered are in quite a bit more detail, and lessons often involve expressing your own opinions and thoughts.  I really did enjoy AS french , and with hard work, a high grade is acheivable :)

Answered Mon 13th February, 2012 @ 22:19 by Eleanor
Edited by Eleanor on Mon 13th February, 2012 @ 22:21
  • 1 vote

I am doing AQA AS level french, and I found that there was quite a large step from GCSE, specifically in terms of vocab and tenses. Also, be prepared for writing essays!

Answered Thu 1st March, 2012 @ 13:36 by Charlotte May
  • 0 votes

I think it might depend on the exam board. I am doing edexcel and theres no coursework so we have a writting exam. I got an A at GCSE and I am struggling with it.

Answered Tue 21st February, 2012 @ 11:41 by Hilary Brennock
  • 0 votes

I studied french at GCSE in year 8 and 9, and got a B, and in year 10 to present, i am studying french A Level, and in my opinion, it is a lot harder than GCSE, but if you know that you're good at it, the its a very rewarding subject to have.

Answered Thu 1st March, 2012 @ 16:00 by JadeKelsey♥
  • 0 votes

Thank you so much for all your replies! I'm hoping for an A minimum at GCSE. My school does AQA for French so I'm hoping that's a good thing!

@isobel jones Thanks for warning me! I'll definitely take in your reply into consideration as I'm choosing my 4th subject, the first 2 of which are biology and chemistry. My teacher is pressurizing me to do it which is making the choice more difficult I guess.

Answered Fri 18th May, 2012 @ 21:42 by furuba fan