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Languages - general FAQs

AS/A Level Languages (other than English): What do you think of the educational benefits of doing the AS Literature syllabus with students of IGCSE age?

This is a good idea. We have had feedback from a number of schools who feel that this is something which could be used for Cambridge IGCSE First Language or very fluent Foreign Language students to give curriculum and cultural enrichment.

AS/A Level Languages (other than English): Which combinations of qualifications are permitted within each language?

Where common components contribute to different awards, students may not take more than one of the awards in the same examination series. For example, students for an A Level award in a subject may not take an AS Level award in the same language in the same series. However, students may take AS Level Language and AS Level Literature in the same language in the same series.

AS/A Level Languages (other than English): Why do the syllabuses not follow the same staged assessment pattern as the other new AS/A Level syllabuses?

Language learning is both linear and skills based. Experience has shown that it takes some time for students to acquire the confidence to handle Cambridge International AS/A Level topic areas, and feedback from “modular” type examinations shows that languages do not readily fit this pattern. This means that it would be inappropriate to test students in the early stages of their development of a particular skill area e.g. speaking or reading and then count that towards an A Level grade without further assessment of their progress. If this was done, students would compulsorily have to take two tests in each of the skill areas which would significantly add to the burden.

AS/A Level Portuguese: What are the implications of the new "acordo ortográfico"?

From the June 2012 examination series onward, we used the new orthographic agreement spellings in our question papers. We will not penalise candidates who use the pre-orthographic agreement spellings in their answers, but schools should encourage candidates to use the new spellings in their study of the AS/A Level Portuguese course.

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