Any tips for improving Spanish for A-level student?

(13 Posts)
everythingcrossed Mon 05-Oct-20 18:23:06

My daughter has started Spanish A-level and, a month in, is already feeling completely demoralised and unable to keep up (she claims everyone in her class is bilingual). She wants to give it up and I'd prefer it if she at least tried doing some work on her Spanish outside class - I've suggested reading newspapers, children's stories, watching children's films etc in Spanish and offered to get her some tuition all of which she has said won't help. Has anyone else got any ideas of any approaches that might help?

OP’s posts: |
Bunowen81 Mon 05-Oct-20 18:29:02

Find a Spanish radio station to put on in the background. It’s a great way to get used to the rhythm of a language. Try to find the Spanish equivalent of Radio 4 as she won’t want to start sounding like a pop DJ.

That said, if she’s really unhappy with her course would she be allowed to change to something else? It will be a long 2 years studying a subject she doesn’t want to do.

raskolnikova Mon 05-Oct-20 18:29:27

Why doesn't she think those things will help? They seem like good ideas to me. I have a private tutor myself (as an adult learner), who is an amazing teacher. She could try an intercambio (person or group who she could do a language exchange with), it could be a bit like a private tutor but a bit more informal?

What about apps? I have one called Ella's Verbs which helps with conjugation practice.

everythingcrossed Mon 05-Oct-20 19:40:27

Hi Buno - I'll try to find a spoken word radio station, that's a great idea - I wonder if there are any really simple Spanish language podcasts. I've downloaded Ella Verbs raskol and it looks really useful. I think I'll give it 24 hours to try her on it as she is currently very down about the whole thing and won't listen to any suggestions at all sad.

OP’s posts: |
angleseyllama Mon 05-Oct-20 19:51:56

I could've written this post last year. I was in the same situation with my DD. Everyone in her class was bilingual and the jump from GCSE to A-level was huge. She was completely miserable but stuck with it. Not having to sit the exam was fabulous for her and she's now got a C (teacher assessed grade). She found Podcasts a great help, Netflix dramas (Elite, Money Heist, Narcos). We also found a brilliant tutor who she clicked with. I can pm you details if you like as she is probably tutoring on-line now. She's now really pleased that she did it and intends to travel so that she can practise. (covid allowing)

Enterthewolves Mon 05-Oct-20 19:56:41

I survived my French A level by watching huge quantities of French films (with English subtiles), doing French exchanges and joining a French conversation evening class - I was the youngest by about 20 years. I got a U on my English to French translation paper but got a B overall because my spoken French and my comprehension were good.

I would say though that if she isn’t motivated it will be hellish and miserable.

QuentinInQuarantino Mon 05-Oct-20 20:02:12

Hola! I absolutely agree with tv - there are so many good shows on Netflix. My favourites are Gran Hotel and Chicas del Cable, followed by money heist. The absolute best way is to go on one of those residential courses in Spain, you pick it up so quickly, but of course that's not so much an option!


OlegBurov Mon 05-Oct-20 20:05:54

I agree about Netflix - Elite and Money Heist are great and Cable Girls.

My daughter watched them with subtitles but it really helped her ear for the language sounds.

We watched Narcos and El Chapo too but the vocabulary is a bit more choice and the accents South American.

She also listened to lots of Spanish music.

She did really well in the end.

everythingcrossed Mon 05-Oct-20 20:21:31

Thanks everyone - especially anglesey whose experience seems so similar (and, yes, please send me your tutor's details). We've tried Money Heist with subtitles but we only pick up about 5% of the vocab even with subtitles (I used to speak Spanish but it is very rusty now) - but I'll try her on Cable Girls if I can persuade her which might be simpler? I wanted to send her to stay with my Spanish teacher in the Latin American country where I learned Spanish many years ago but I'm not sure C-19 is going to make that a realistic option.

OP’s posts: |
3rdNamechange Mon 05-Oct-20 20:29:49

The Duolingo app has podcasts

DipSwimSwoosh Mon 05-Oct-20 20:33:12

Try these apps and websites -
Many students also like Memrise and Lirica

alison5567888 Tue 06-Oct-20 16:34:56

Hi @everythingcrossed, I know from personal experience that language A levels are really tough but so worth the investment if you can get your daughter through it. My friend's daughter has a Spanish tutor for GCSE (she also teaches A level) and she is exceptional. She has a lot of experience and has boosted her grade dramatically, but she has also fostered a real enjoyment for Spanish as my friend's daughter didn't like GCSE Spanish at all, but has now changed to do A Level Spanish! It sounds like you need someone who will give your daughter the enjoyment you want in Spanish.

You can get in contact with the Spanish teacher via this website:

My friend never stops going on about how wonderful she is!

Pattydien Fri 12-Feb-21 22:29:24

Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.

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