Following on from our blog post on the AQA GCSE examiner reports, we’ve taken a detailed look at the AQA A Level examiner reports for French, Spanish and German – here’s what we found out.
Enthusiasm pays off…
For the IRP (Individual Research Project) or photo activity, students who had chosen a topic they were genuinely interested in were most likely to get the full range of available marks due to their thorough knowledge and informed evaluation. It’s also worth reminding students that at A Level, they can give their opinion but examiners will want them to explain and justify it.
…but get straight to the point
Some students went well over the permitted word count which meant they lost valuable marks. Examiners noted that students don’t need to include introductory paragraphs or long quotes. And, for the speaking exam, they should practise in advance, keeping to the required timings and using the preparation time as effectively as possible.
Read, and re-read, the question and instructions properly
It was noted that students should take the time to read the tasks carefully then plan their responses to ensure they give as full, and relevant, an answer as possible to maximise their potential marks.
Practise manipulating language
For summarising tasks that reward manipulating language, it is more important for students to practise re-expressing ideas and information in different terms and to not fall into a trap of lifting and transcribing chunks of the text they hear/read.
Make an educated guess – don’t leave blanks
There are no forfeits for wrong answers, so there is nothing to lose! Likewise in the speaking exam, it was suggested that students use strategies, such as repair words and phrases, if they’re not sure that they’ve understood a question or if their mind goes blank in the exam.