What can we learn from the GCSE 9-1 modern languages examiner reports?

This year’s AQA examiner reports for French, Spanish and German GCSE exams were extremely positive, the transition from controlled assessment to exam went well in general and students had been correctly entered into the right tier. Here’s a short summary of their advice to students.

  1. Read. Then re-read

    Some students lost points for mistakes caused by not reading the questions or tasks thoroughly.

  2. Accuracy is key

    No marks are given for ambiguity when answering questions so students must follow the instructions carefully, cover all sections/bullets and stick to the word count to increase the chance of getting top marks.

  3. Check your tenses

    Students sometimes fail to use all of the “timeframes” required by the question so they missed out on marks.

  4. Vocab, vocab, vocab

    Several examiners’ reports mentioned that students would have scored higher if they’d used a wider range of vocabulary. Equally, in speaking exams, knowledge of a greater variety of repair phrases would help students interact more spontaneously and give them a second chance to understand what the examiner was asking without losing marks.

  5. Go for it!

    And finally, there are no points for answers left blank so students should make sure they have a go at all of the questions. They have nothing to lose and points to gain.

Get ahead for next year

Here are some free sample Worksheets taken from our AQA GCSE French, Spanish and German Kerboodles to help address the issues that came up in the 2018 summer exams.

Understanding questions (AQA GCSE German Kerboodle)

Giving all the information in questions (AQA GCSE Spanish Kerboodle)

Listening and reading for detail (AQA GCSE French Kerboodle)

Using different tenses in answers (AQA GCSE Spanish Kerboodle)

‘In my head’ videos to help students prepare for the photo activity in the speaking exam (AQA GCSE French Kerboodle)

You’ll find a full bank of exam strategy and practice resources for French, Spanish and German on Kerboodle including, Worksheets to practise repair phrases and learning vocabulary, videos, as well as assessments to practice key skills. If you already have a subscription just search for ‘strategy’. If you don’t have Kerboodle you can get a free trial by emailing: [email protected].

Coming soon

We’re adding GCSE practice papers to Kerboodle. These will include a complete set of Foundation and Higher practice papers for listening, reading, speaking and writing exams.

Take a closer look at our courses

You can find more about our AQA-approved GCSE courses by clicking the links below.


AQA GCSE Spanish