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AQA GCSE SPANISH Exam

Introduction

GCSE Spanish is divided into four papers. Spanish 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 Spanish 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.

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 Spanish 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 Spanish 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 Spanish -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 and indefinite
lo plus adjective ®

Adjectives
agreement
position
comparative and superlative: regular and mayor, menor, mejor, peor
demonstrative (este, ese, aquel)
indefinite (cada, otro, todo, mismo, alguno)
possessive, short form (mi)
possessive, long form (mío) (R)
interrogative (cuánto, qué)

Adverbs
Formation
comparative and superlative: regular
interrogative (cómo, cuándo, dónde)
adverbs of time and place (aquí, allí, ahora, ya)
common adverbial phrases

Quantifiers/intensifiers
(muy, bastante, demasiado, poco, mucho)

Pronouns
subject
object (R)
position and order of object pronouns (R)
reflexive relative: que relative: quien, lo que (R)
disjunctive (conmigo, para mí)
demonstrative (éste, ése, aquél, esto, eso, aquello)
indefinite (algo, alguien)
interrogative (cuál, qué, quién)

Verbs
regular and irregular verbs, including reflexive verbs
all persons of the verb, singular and plural
modes of address: tú and usted
radical-changing verbs
negative forms
interrogative forms
reflexive constructions (se puede, se necesita, se habla)
uses of ser and estar

Tenses:
• present indicative
• present continuous
• preterite
• imperfect: in weather expressions with estar, hacer
• imperfect (R)
• immediate future
• future (R)
• perfect: most common verbs only
• conditional: gustar only in set phrases
• pluperfect (R)
• gerund (R)
• imperative: common forms including negative
• subjunctive, present (R) in certain exclamatory phrases (¡Viva! ¡Dígame!)
• subjunctive, imperfect: quisiera
• impersonal verbs: most common only.

Prepositions
common, including personal a
por and para

Conjunctions
common, including y, pero, o, porque, como, cuando

Number, quantity, dates and time
Use of desde hace with present tense (R)

Higher Tier

Articles
lo plus adjective

Adjectives
comparative and superlative
possessive, short and long forms (mi, mío)
relative (cuyo)

Adverbs
comparative and superlative
Pronouns
object
position and order of object pronouns
relative: all other uses including quien, lo que, el que, cual
possessive (el mío, la mía)

Verbs
Tenses:
• future
• imperfect
• imperfect continuous
• perfect
• pluperfect
• conditional
• passive voice (R)
• gerund
• present subjunctive: imperative, affirmation and negation, future after conjunctions of time (cuando), after verbs of wishing, command, request, emotion, to express purpose (para que)
• imperfect subjunctive (R).

Time
• use of desde hace with present tense
• use of desde hace with imperfect tense (R).

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

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