If you are interested in the way of life of German speakers, if you enjoy speaking German and want to be able to express yourself in sophisticated, accurate German, if you are fascinated by German and its differences from English, then more advanced language study is for you. Through listening, reading, speaking and writing the language you will gain awareness and understanding of the cultural and social background of the countries where German is spoken.
Is German suitable for me?
Our students tell us they like learning about German speaking culture and society, and mentioned for example the Berlin Wall as a fascinating topic. They enjoy conversation in small groups with a native-speaker German assistant and appreciate the variety of resources we use. There is much more independent work and a choice of reading. Listening is seen as demanding, going beyond picking out general facts towards understanding details and the implications of what you hear. Students also say they find the increased emphasis on grammar challenging but they feel we offer them excellent help with the transition from GCSE.
How will I learn?
In lessons you will use German constantly to understand and to communicate your own reactions and views. You will learn about people and society in German speaking countries from a variety of German language sources, fact and fiction, using print, audio and video media. You will often work in pairs and small groups and can work at your own pace using audio, video, text and internet based resources in the multimedia Language Laboratory and via the College’s Moodle (Virtual Learning Environment).
In the first few weeks we help you make the transition from GCSE to more advanced work, starting with short texts and audio extracts for discussion and short pieces of writing. You will develop your personal study skills and start individual reading and listening programmes. To enable you to feel more confident about the language you can use there will be a strong focus on grammar understanding and grammar practice.
Constant practise and use of the language are the key to progress, so besides set tasks for homework you will be expected to spend time on guided independent study, including reading, listening, watching news reports and other video materials, whether paper-based or online.
How will I be assessed?
For A level you will be tested on listening and reading comprehension, written language accuracy, translation between languages and your speaking skills.
In the A level examination you will be tested on the study of a book and a film.
Language study contributes to a broad general education and gives you invaluable practical and transferable skills for the future.
You may choose to specialise in German at university or combine German with other subjects such as Engineering or History. In most careers nowadays language abilities are highly valued and most modern HE courses encourage an element of language study as an extra module or additional skill. Recent A Level linguists have gone to take among others, Business Studies, European Studies, International or European Law.
Jonty gained top grade A Levels in German, History and Mathematics. He has just embarked on a course at Durham University combining German and History, including a year studying History at a German university. Jade gained good A Levels in Psychology, History and German: she is now undertaking training for Primary Teaching at the University of Winchester and will be able to offer German to her future primary school pupils.
Students should normally have achieved an A*- C grade profile at GCSE. For GCSE English and Maths where a new grading system has been introduced, a Grade 4 is equivalent to a Grade C.
You should have at least a grade B in German GCSE.
All students will be expected to buy their own learning materials and stationery. Estimated costs are outlined below:
Essential for AS: approximately £25 for textbooks, £10 for other materials, eg. on-line login
Essential for A level over two years: approximately £50 for textbooks, £20 for other materials, eg. on-line login
Optional: trips, e.g. plays, conference days (£15 – £20 per trip); possible overseas visits £400-500
If the costs of equipment, materials and trips may cause you financial hardship, you may wish to read through details of our financial support scheme on our website.