A Level Spanish for Native Speakers
Your fast-track Spanish A Level course
Can I take Spanish A Level in one year?
Our fast-track A Level programme is open to students from native-speaking backgrounds and students who already have a high level of competency in Spanish.
It enables the full curriculum to be covered in one academic year, with exams taken in the Summer term.
Here, we look at how the fast-track A Level programme works for native speakers of Spanish, and how the most successful students organise their learning.
⭐ If you are already familiar with the requirements of the AQA A Level Spanish syllabus, and would like to book a consultation to look at course options, you can contact us here.
How can native speakers achieve the top grade in A Level Spanish?
A question we are often asked by bilingual students is: How much work is involved in the Spanish A Level if I already speak the language fluently?
Taking Spanish independently as an additional A Level subject, or alongside two or three other A Levels at sixth form, is a popular choice for students from native-speaking or bilingual backgrounds.
Of course, it's a huge bonus to begin your A Level studies with a strong foundation in the language, and your communication skills will be hugely valuable in all four of the final exam papers.
Even for confident speakers, though, the syllabus still takes time to prepare. What is the best way to approach the A Level in one academic year?
⭐ Tip 1: Take a placement test.
Every student has a unique set of strengths and abilities that they can bring to the Spanish A Level course. For native speakers, we begin with a placement test to provide a comprehensive, 360° assessment of your current level in the key areas of reading, writing and translation.
The placement test typically takes 1 hour and 20 minutes and consists of a written paper with selected exam-style tasks: a mix of comprehension activities, short written responses and translations to and from Spanish.
Based on the placement test, you will receive feedback and a tailored set of recommendations to help you optimise your A Level studies. This may include a writing support pack, a translation workbook, vocabulary lists and/or grammar pack, depending on the areas where you can most improve in order to boost your grade.
The fast track Spanish A Level programme builds on your existing skills and prepares you for the requirements of the three exam papers, including advanced translation skills, literary analysis and essay writing.
There is also support and guidance with preparing for your Individual Research Project (IRP), as well as the option to join live lessons to study the theme-based content.
⭐ Tip 2: Focus on the syllabus content.
The most successful students at A Level are those who take an organised approach to studying the topics in the curriculum.
Completing your Spanish A Level on a fast-track basis will mean you have two or three weeks to work on each sub-theme, so make the most of the time to create and organise concise notes that you can revise from easily.
Students are required to have an in-depth discussion on one of the topics, chosen at random, during the Speaking assessment and to show their own knowledge and understanding of it.
The A Level syllabus is based around four themes:
Aspects of Hispanic society
Modern and traditional values (Los valores tradicionales y modernos)
Cyberspace (El ciberespacio)
Equal rights (La igualdad de los sexos)
Multiculturalism in Hispanic society
Immigration (La inmigración)
Racism (El racismo)
Integration (La convivencia)
Artistic culture in the Hispanic world
Modern day idols (La influencia de los ídolos)
Spanish regional identity (La identidad regional en España)
Cultural heritage (El patrimonio cultural)
Aspects of political life in the Hispanic world
Today's youth, tomorrow's citizens (Jóvenes de hoy, ciudadanos del mañana)
Monarchies and dictatorships (Monarquías y dictaduras)
Popular movements (Movimientos populares)
💡 You can find the full AQA specification here.
Some examples of theme-based questions from past papers are:
Immigration: ¿Qué sabes tú de la situación de los inmigrantes en el mundo hispánico?
Gender equality: ¿Conoces a alguna mujer importante en el mundo de la política en los países hispánicos?
Cultural heritage: ¿Hay algún edificio en el mundo hispánico que tú consideras de valor cultural o histórico?
In order to access top marks under AO4, students are required to demonstrate a "very good knowledge and understanding of those aspects of the sub-theme covered in the discussion" and "consistently select relevant information to support their arguments".
The questions require you to share your own knowledge, so you will need to have studied each of the sub-themes in detail.
⭐ Tip 3: Practice giving a critical and analytical response.
As a native or near-native speaker of Spanish, you already likely have strong speaking skills, and we've already discussed the need for topic-based knowledge.
The next thing to master is the skill of evaluating information and evidence in order to support an argument and give a "critical and analytical response".
For example, for the first of the above questions, ¿Qué sabes tú de la situación de los inmigrantes en el mundo hispánico?, a weaker, descriptive response would be based on recounting facts and general observations about immigration in the Hispanic world.
A strong, analytical response, however, would examine positive and negative aspects of immigration from different perspectives and draw conclusions based on relevant evidence.
⭐ Tip 4: Get organised for your IRP.
As a native speaker of Spanish, you can use the the Individual Research Project to showcase your capabilities in the Speaking assessment.
In addition to being able to sustain an in-depth conversation in Spanish, you will be required to demonstrate that you have researched your theme in detail and can select relevant evidence to justify your ideas.
The most successful students are those who take an active, organised approach to the IRP right from the start of the course, and whose knowledge goes deeper than the surface level.
The best way to achieve this is to make the IRP part of your weekly or daily study plan. Even if you have already drafted your introductory presentation and decided on your sub-themes for discussion, continue with your research to keep your ideas fresh.
Some students find it helpful to set up email alerts for relevant news topics, subscribe to notifications from any related organisations, or follow prominent individuals, companies or associations on social media to keep in tune with their chosen theme.
Actively following debates and discussions will build the skills and knowledge you need to succeed in your A Level speaking exam.
💡 You can find our tips for the Individual Research Project here.
⭐ Tip 5: Get ahead with your reading.
The AQA Spanish A Level offers students the choice of studying two books (including plays), or one book and one film.
On our Fast Track A Level course, you will study your first book in Autumn Term and your second book, or your film, in Spring Term.
To free up valuable time during these two terms for studying the syllabus content and practicing essay writing, we strongly recommend that you read the book and watch the film before you begin your A Level course.
You can then make the most of live lessons in the Autumn and Spring terms and start working on practice essays right from the start of the year, developing a good technique that will help you to succeed in the Spanish A Level exams.
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The Kate Maria Languages Spanish Academy offers fast-track A Level courses for native speakers and high-achieving students.
Get in touch to find out more about our online Spanish A Level courses.