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AQA GCSE French Exam

Introduction

GCSE French is divided into four papers. French also has a Foundation Tier (grades 1–5) and a Higher Tier (grades 4–9). Students must take all four question papers at the same tier. All question papers must be taken in the same series.

There are four assessment objectives, which are specified for students. Please find our full breakdown of GCSE French below, with requisite assessment details and objectives. In addition, all themes and grammar relevant to the exam are outlined.

Paper 1: Listening

Students are expected to be able to:

• demonstrate general and specific understanding of different types of spoken language

• follow and understand clear standard speech using familiar language across a range of specified contexts

• identify the overall message, key points, details and opinions in a variety of short and longer spoken passages, involving some more complex language, recognising the relationship between past, present and future events

• deduce meaning from a variety of short and longer spoken texts, involving some complex language and more abstract material, including short narratives and authentic material addressing a wide range of relevant contemporary and cultural themes

• recognise and respond to key information, important themes and ideas in more extended spoken text, including authentic sources, adapted and abridged, as appropriate, by being able to answer questions, extract information, evaluate and draw conclusions.

Paper 2: Speaking

Students are expected to be able to:

• communicate and interact effectively in speech for a variety of purposes across a range of specified contexts

• take part in a short conversation, asking and answering questions, and exchanging opinions

• convey information and narrate events coherently and confidently, using and adapting language for new purposes

• speak spontaneously, responding to unexpected questions, points of view or situations, sustaining communication by using rephrasing or repair strategies, as appropriate

• initiate and develop conversations and discussion, producing extended sequences of speech

• make appropriate and accurate use of a variety of vocabulary and grammatical structures, including some more complex forms, with reference to past, present and future events

• make creative and more complex use of the language, as appropriate, to express and justify their own thoughts and points of view

• use accurate pronunciation and intonation such as to be understood by a native speaker.

Paper 3: Reading

Students are expected to be able to:

• understand and respond to different types of written language

• understand general and specific details within texts using high frequency familiar language across a range of contexts

• identify the overall message, key points, details and opinions in a variety of short and longer written passages, involving some more complex language, recognising the relationship between past, present and future events

• deduce meaning from a variety of short and longer written texts from a range of specified contexts, including authentic sources involving some complex language and unfamiliar material, as well as short narratives and authentic material addressing a wide range of relevant contemporary and cultural themes

• recognise and respond to key information, important themes and ideas in more extended written text and authentic sources, including some extracts from relevant abridged or adapted literary texts

• demonstrate understanding by being able to scan for particular information, organise and present relevant details, draw inferences in context and recognise implicit meaning where appropriate

• translate a short passage from French into English.

Paper 4: Writing

Students are expected to be able to:

• communicate effectively in writing for a variety of purposes across a range of specified contexts

• write short texts, using simple sentences and familiar language accurately to convey meaning and exchange information

• produce clear and coherent text of extended length to present facts and express ideas and opinions appropriately for different purposes and in different settings

• make accurate use of a variety of vocabulary and grammatical structures, including some more complex forms, to describe and narrate with reference to past, present and future events

• manipulate the language, using and adapting a variety of structures and vocabulary with increasing accuracy and fluency for new purposes, including using appropriate style and register

• make independent, creative and more complex use of the language, as appropriate, to note down key points, express and justify individual thoughts and points of view, in order to interest, inform or convince

• translate sentences and short texts from English into French to convey key messages accurately and to apply grammatical knowledge of language and structures in context.

Themes

Theme 1: Identity and culture

Topic 1: Me, my family and friends
Topic 2: Technology in everyday life
Topic 3: Free-time activities
Topic 4: Customs and festivals in French-speaking countries/communities

Theme 2: Local, national, international and global areas of interest


Topic 1: Home, town, neighbourhood and region
Topic 2: Social issues
Topic 3: Global issues
Topic 4: Travel and tourism

Theme 3: Current and future study and employment

Topic 1: My studies
Topic 2: Life at school/college
Topic 3: Education post-16
Topic 4: Jobs, career choices and ambitions

Grammar

Foundation Tier

Nouns
gender
singular and plural forms

Articles
definite, indefinite and partitive, including use of de after negatives


Adjectives
agreement
position
comparative and superlative: regular and meilleur
demonstrative (ce, cet, cette, ces)
indefinite (chaque, quelque)
possessive
interrogative (quel, quelle)

Adverbs
comparative and superlative
regular interrogative (comment, quand)
adverbs of time and place (aujourd’hui, demain, ici, là-bas)
common adverbial phrases

Quantifiers/intensifiers
très, assez, beaucoup, peu, trop

Pronouns
personal: all subjects, including on
reflexive relative: qui
relative: que (R)
object: direct (R) and indirect (R) position and order of object pronouns (R)
disjunctive/emphatic
demonstrative (ça, cela)
indefinite (quelqu’un)
interrogative (qui, que)
use of y, en (R)

Verbs
regular and irregular verbs, including reflexive verbs
all persons of the verb, singular and plural
negative forms
interrogative forms
modes of address: tu, vous
impersonal verbs (il faut)
verbs followed by an infinitive, with or without a preposition
Tenses:
• present
• perfect
• imperfect: avoir, être and faire
• other common verbs in the imperfect tense (R)
• immediate future
• future (R)
• conditional: vouloir and aimer
• pluperfect (R)
• passive voice: present tense (R)
• imperative
• present participle.

Prepositions
common prepositions eg à, au, à l’, à la, aux; de, du, de l’, de la, des; après; avant; avec; chez; contre; dans; depuis; derrière; devant; entre; pendant; pour; sans; sur; sous; vers
common compound prepositions eg à côté de; près de; en face de, à cause de; au lieu de

Conjunctions
common coordinating conjunctions eg car; donc; ensuite; et; mais; ou, ou bien, puis
common subordinating conjunctions eg comme; lorsque; parce que; puisque; quand; que; si

Number, quantity, dates and time
including use of depuis with present tense

Higher Tier


Adjectives

comparative and superlative, including meilleur, pire


Adverbs
comparative and superlative, including mieux, le mieux


Pronouns
use of y, en
relative: que
relative: dont (R)
object: direct and indirect
position and order of object pronouns
demonstrative (celui) (R)
possessive (le mien) (R)


Verbs
Tenses:
• future
• imperfect
• conditional
• pluperfect
• passive voice: future, imperfect and perfect tenses (R)
• perfect infinitive
• present participle, including use after en
• subjunctive mood: present, in commonly used expressions (R).


Time
including use of depuis with imperfect tense.

Assessment details

The first paper (listening) assesses the candidate’s ability to understand and respond to different types of spoken language. Please see below for exam features.

• Written exam: 35 minutes (Foundation Tier), 45 minutes (Higher Tier)
• 40 marks (Foundation Tier), 50 marks (Higher Tier)
• 25% of GCSE

(Each exam includes 5 minutes’ reading time of the question paper before the listening stimulus is played).
The second paper (speaking) assesses the candidate’s ability to communicate and interact effectively in speech for a variety of purposes. Please see below for exam features.

• Non-exam assessment
• 7–9 minutes (Foundation Tier) + preparation time
• 10–12 minutes (Higher Tier) + preparation time
• 60 marks (for each of Foundation Tier and Higher Tier)
• 25% of GCSE

The third paper (reading) assesses the candidate’s ability to understand and respond to different types of written language. Please see below for exam features.

• Written exam: 45 minutes (Foundation Tier), 1 hour (Higher Tier)
• 60 marks (for each of Foundation Tier and Higher Tier)
• 25% of GCSE

The fourth paper (writing) assesses the candidate’s ability to communicate effectively in writing for a variety of purposes. Please see below for exam features.

• Written exam: 1 hour (Foundation Tier), 1 hour 15 minutes (Higher Tier)
• 50 marks at Foundation Tier and 60 marks at Higher Tier
• 25% of GCSE

Assessment Objectives

The exams will measure how students have achieved the following assessment objectives:

  • AO1 Listening – understand and respond to different types of spoken language
  • AO2 Speaking – communicate and interact effectively in speech
  • AO3 Reading – understand and respond to different types of written language
  • AO4 Writing – communicate in writing.
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