Which topic areas should I study for my Spanish GCSE?

When you are preparing for GCSE Spanish exams, or just studying a language out of interest it is essential to have a clear idea about what you need to cover. I think this is why children in schools sometimes get discouraged. They can’t see the big picture, or how it’s going to be broken down into little chunks for them. They rarely have some sort of map of the journey they are embarking on and therefore there is no clear end in sight. The whole course seems overwhelmingly big and never-ending. I feel it does help when there are short, medium and long term goals to aim for. This gives a sense of achievement along the way.

It means that you are in control of your learning and your revision. And if you are anything like me (many people are not, I can be a little bit of a fruitcake about this) you will enjoy buying the pretty ring-binder, the dividers, highlighters, index cards and any other post-its or stickers that help to create my system. And yes, it’s all about me being in control…

For GCSE Spanish there are 5 main topic areas that are going to be assessed. These five topic areas will be taught, practised and tested in the four skill areas you will be covering in your course: Speaking, Listening, Reading and Writing.

The five topic areas are :

1.  Yourself:

a) Yourself, Your family, friends, pets and your life at home.

b) Your home town and local area; transport links, facitlities, etc.

2. A healthy, active lifestyle:

a) Sports and outdoor activities and the importance of a healthy lifestyle.

b) Buying food and drinks in shops and restaurants. Food in relation to health and culture.

3. Leisure time and hobbies:

a) Going out with friends, special occasions, festivals.

b) Your opinions on TV, films, music and online entertainment.

4. Holidays and the Evironment:

a) Travelling at home and abroad, exchanges.

b) Our planet, threats to the environment and what can be done about it.

5. School/ education and the world of work:

a) School life: subjects, uniform, rules, homework lunchtime arrangements, etc. 

b) Work experience, future plans (career, education, working abroad).

So what can you do with this information. Well, if you get the ring binder with the dividers you can keep one separate section for each of these topic areas. Start to build up a bank or collection of words in Spanish that relate to that topic area. As you begin to build them up and learn them you will begin to develop greater confidence. The main ingredients to language learning are the vocabulary and the verbs. We also add some grammar points. But if you develop a wide range of vocabulary you will be in a stronger position to express yourself and achieve a better level of communication. To use and understand the language.  Hopefully without too many frustrations…

What are your favourite study tips?


How is Spanish GCSE assessed?

Spanish GCSE aims to assess your knowledge of the language across four skill areas; Listening, Speaking, Reading and Writing. Examiners are looking to see that as a candidate you can both use and understand the language in the four different skill areas.

At the end of the course there will be one Listening exam and one Reading exam. Each one is worth 20% of the final mark.

Speaking and Writing are assessed by means of Controlled Assessments. There are two Speaking tasks and two Writing tasks that need to be conducted throughout the course. Altogether they are worth 60%.

So what is a Controlled Assessment? This is an exam but it has a number of advantages:

  • It is not set by the examining board. You have a choice.
  • You can choose the topic areas which suit you best. Decide where your strengths lie.
  • You have scheduled preparation time – so ensure you prepare well and maximise your research from the internet, notes, textbook and dictionary.
  • You will be allowed to make notes in Spanish (as bullet points) and take them into the exam room.
  • If you have the opportunity of carrying out more than 2 tasks you can select the best 2 to send to the examining board. 

Overall the Controlled Assessments (Speaking and Writing) are worth 60% so it is worth preparing well. There is no Foundation or Higher Level in these tasks. All students are entered in the same way.

Listening and Reading are exam based and are worth 40%. There is the possibility of being entered as either a Foundation or Higher Level candidate depending on your knowledge, strengths or level of confidence. The papers are different. The difficulty level varies considerably. However, if you aim to achieve the higher grades you need to opt for Higher Level papers.

If you would like a pdf with this information please get in touch and we will email it to you.