A GCSE Modern Foreign Language tutor aims to develop students’ ability to use their studied language effectively in order to communicate in a practical manner.
However, the Modern Foreign Language courses’ foundations are built on the skills of listening, reading, speaking and writing, and these are developed as students’ progress over the course of their studies. The syllabi also provide insights into the cultures of countries where the language is spoken, as well as practical skills for trips to these countries, whilst developing students’ written and verbal communication skills.
It is important to identify which exam board your child’s school is following for their choice of GCSE Modern Foreign Language as syllabi do vary. It is useful to know which exam board your child is sitting, as this information will help your GCSE Modern Foreign Language tutor to tailor their lessons.
The main exam boards for GCSE Modern Foreign Languages are:
Although course content varies according to the exam board, GCSE Modern Foreign Languages examinations assess a student’s competency in four key components of the language: Reading, Writing, Listening and Speaking.
The Reading component aims to help students develop their abilities in reading comprehension and the critical analysis of Modern Foreign Languages texts. A student will learn:
The Writing component aims to help students develop their abilities in communicating in writing for varying purposes and registers. A student will learn:
The Listening component aims to help students develop their abilities in understanding and responding to spoken language for varying purposes and registers. A student will learn
The Speaking component aims to help students develop their abilities in communicating and interacting in speech for varying purposes and registers. A student will learn:
Though the syllabi from each exam board may differ, course content is generally set out around five broad topics which provide the context for vocabulary lists as well as grammar and grammatical structures. It can often be hard to excel in all Modern Foreign languages. However, the help of a GCSE Modern Foreign Languages tutor can ensure that you can keep on top of all four areas.
By engaging with these topics, students are provided with insight into the countries and communities in which their chosen language is spoken. The topics are:
For all four components of the Modern Foreign Languages GCSE exams, the key to success is for your child to have a strong understanding of grammar and a bank of interesting and varied vocabulary. It is also important to build your child’s confidence and familiarity with the language and culture through exposing them to as much spoken Modern Foreign Languages as possible.
A GCSE Modern Foreign Languages tutor will help to gain language skills through conversation, developing a deeper understanding of grammar and sentence development. This can help students stand out from the rest of the field.
Understanding how Modern Foreign Languages exams are marked can be very useful. This is so your GCSE Modern Foreign Languages tutor will know how to help your child to obtain the best mark that they can achieve. However, all the exam boards publish detailed guidance on what they are looking for, including specimen marked answers. Some exam boards even go as far as publishing an indicative list of vocabulary that a student should know. A GCSE Modern Foreign Languages tutor will know the individual mark schemes like the back of their hand.
Even if a question is open-ended, the examiner will have a specific number of marks allocated for both content and accuracy. Therefore, your child needs to know exactly what the examiner wants from them in every type of question- be it a variety of tenses or the correct adjectival agreement. Your child then needs to learn how to ‘tick the boxes’ on the mark scheme to ensure they pick up as many marks as they can.
It is really important that your child starts their revision early enough and organises their revision well. They should start a structured revision plan by the January of their exam year.
Students should actively revise key grammar (conjugations and tenses), as well as vocabulary, connectives, and opinions. Revision can also be passive. Such as playing a radio show or podcast in your child’s chosen language at the breakfast table. This can help them familiarise themself with common speech patterns or structures. For students aiming for an 8 or 9, reading a translation of a familiar English text (e.g. Harry Potter) can improve comprehension speed, introduce new and impressive vocabulary, and prepare them for further study. Ultimately, towards exam season, doing past papers can help your child familiarise themself with common topics, styles of question, and the particular time pressures of an exam.
Students can feel immense pressure around the time of their first public exams. However, this can be a time of great personal growth for teenagers, as they juggle many subjects, sustain hard work over many months and push through exam nerves.
The best way to support your child through their Modern Foreign Languages GCSE is to ensure they have the tools and skills necessary to succeed. Some targeted intervention with an experienced tutor can make all the difference. Our GCSE Modern Foreign Languages tutors are experienced, qualified teachers, Heads of Department and Examiners. They know the GCSE Modern Foreign Languages syllabi inside out. Our tutors can therefore tailor their approach to meet the particular needs of your child. They will use the methods that best suit your child’s preferred style of learning.
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