French A Level

Who is this suitable for?

  • French is one of the most highly regarded academic subjects and is a popular choice for Oxbridge applicants.
  • French is one of the most important languages for international trade, business and finance, and will likely become more important as the UK renegotiates its relationship with the EU.
  • It is the mother tongue of over 220 million people around the globe.
  • The literature, art, cinema and philosophy of France and the francophone countries are among the richest, most widely enjoyed and most influential in the world.

French is a highly academic subject which requires a strong work ethic and dedication. It is also hugely rewarding and enjoyable. To study French at A Level you need:

  • A keen interest in becoming fluent in French.
  • A willingness to work hard and persevere.
  • To enjoy learning about other cultures and languages.
  • An interest in literature, the arts and French-speaking society.

What will I learn?

  • You will progress beyond the fundamentals of GCSE to learn how to express yourself fluently in spoken and written French, making use of the highest levels of vocabulary and grammar.
  • You will read French literature and literature from the French-speaking (francophone) world, and understand more about the French literary tradition and culture.
  • You will learn about the rich tradition of French cinema, study the history and importance of the art form, and watch and appreciate numerous French films.
  • You will learn about francophone society: its politics, culture, art, history and philosophical underpinnings.
  • You will have the opportunity to spend time in France, learning the language and experiencing the culture.

How will I be assessed?

Year 13:
  • Paper 1 (50%) is a comprehension paper. It tests your understanding of a variety of French sources. These could be news reports, radio programmes or magazine articles.
  • Paper 2 (20%) is a written paper. It involves an essay analysis of two works of literature that you have studied.
  • Paper 3 (30%) is a speaking exam. You are assessed on a presentation and discussion on an aspect of francophone society.

What other subjects go with French?

French is an excellent complement to arts and the humanities.

Where could it lead me?

  • Languages are universally very highly regarded. Learning a foreign language demonstrates that you are diligent and conscientious, character traits valued by universities and employers.
  • In a globalised economy being able to speak a foreign language is a highly-prized skill in any field. French speakers are sought after in both the public and private sectors.
  • Studying French at university can lead to multiple career paths. Within the discipline, there are many careers such as translating and interpreting, many of which mean a lot of foreign travel. It is also an excellent complement to other degree areas, such as law or the humanities. Language graduates have become lawyers, authors, teachers, bankers, advertisers, computer programmers… even spies! With a language degree, the world really is your huître.

“The limits of my language mean the limits of my world.”Ludwig Wittgenstein