After reading the advance information for the 2022 June exam and the changes for 2022 published on the AQA website it appears that the main difference is to the writing exam format (Paper 4). In addition, there will be no requirement for vocabulary outside of the specification.
The speaking, reading and listening exams remain the same and the marking is not affected by any changes.
The writing exam will offer more choices for students by providing a supplementary exam question (Question 4.1 for Foundation and Question 1.3 and 2.3 for Higher). There is also advance information available on the AQA website that indicates which topics in each theme will be focused on, and there is a time extension of five minutes for both tiers.
By being given more choices, students will have the opportunity to select a topic they are more comfortable with, and the advance information will allow them to prepare the topic ahead of time. Thus, to best support students, teachers should focus on consolidating the vocabulary the students are familiar with and on strategies to improve their creative writing skills such as:
- writing simple sentences
- adding a higher register of adjectives
- diversifying the use of quantifiers, connectives and adverbs
- making shifting between tenses easier
- focusing on agreement and word order.
The vocabulary list has been much debated on but it is fundamental to prepare students by helping them memorise the words. Memorising vocabulary is an independent skill that can be acquired through self-discipline and self-motivation, therefore apps (such as Quizlet) can come in handy, alongside vocabulary builders on Kerboodle. Teaching strategies to memorise vocabulary can also take place in class. Learning vocabulary is transferable for all skills whether it is writing, speaking, reading or listening.
Ensuring that students know by heart a few set-phrases with the most commonly used verbs will be useful. Examples of these include: ‘I went’, ‘I am going to’, ‘I go’, ‘I am’, ‘there is/are’, ‘there was/were’, ‘I have’,’I had’, ‘I was’, ‘it was’, ‘it is’. This will be particularly helpful for Foundation tier students who may not be able to conjugate a verb even if they recognise its infinitive.
For students taking Higher tier, it will be important to provide them with strategies to extend their writing from 90 to 150 words. These strategies involve using synonyms, making sentences with lists and practising giving opinions with set phrases such as: “In my opinion it appears that, according to me it seems to me, I find it, I believe it is etc…”
Maud is a French citizen of mixed-race origins, half French and half West African living in the UK. As a feminist, an environmentalist and humanist, Maud believes that education is a fundamental right and an unalienable duty. All children should have access to a rich, varied, and challenging curriculum giving them the right tools to make sense of the world they inhabit. Maud currently teaches Foreign Languages and Humanities in a state secondary school in Archway, North London. She studied literature and history in France at the Sorbonne and did her PGCE in London at Goldsmiths university. She has recently embarked on a series of online presentations in order to share her passion for decolonising the curriculum and promoting black history, black and mixed-race experience and indigenous cultural identities and their representations in the media.