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German A level or pre U?

(9 Posts)
Ciutadella Tue 13-Sep-16 17:44:49

Dc is thinking of carrying on with German after GCSEs, and I was wondering - rather a long way in advance! - if there is a choice (I realise there isn't usually!) whether A level or pre U German is 'better'? If there are any German teachers, or anyone else with experience, I would be most grateful for views!
I also read on an mn thread recently that with mfls, grade boundaries may be pushed up by the number of first language speakers taking the exams, so other students doing mfls can end up doing worse than they expect - just wondering if anyone has any experience of this?

Ciutadella Thu 15-Sep-16 20:06:36

Bumping for the evening german experts if any are on at the moment!

Ciutadella Fri 16-Sep-16 09:01:37

Or maybe the daytime crowd? (Though realise teachers are unlikely to be mning!).

catslife Fri 16-Sep-16 14:11:53

Am not a German expert, but would recommend the A level over the pre-U. See linked article for details why
The native speaker situation is really for minority languages that are taken by only a small number of candidates e.g. arabic or perhaps mandarin. it is more a problem at GCSE since most UK universities give less weight to A levels taken by pupils who are bilingual.

Ciutadella Fri 16-Sep-16 16:19:40

Thanks Catslife, that's very interesting. My impression is that more (fee paying?) schools have moved to the pre u for languages over the past few years since the article was written, though that is anecdote rather than data!

Interesting about the bilingual issue as well - though again my impression is that nowadays German GCSE (and even more the A level!) is taken by a relatively small number of candidates in comparison with French and Spanish. Do universities ask candidates if they're bilingual if one of their A levels is an mfl - otherwise I'm not sure they would know, would they?

MrsWobble3 Fri 16-Sep-16 16:26:26

My dd is doing German pre U. She didn't have a choice of A level as the school doesn't offer it. I know some schools offer IB as an alternative to a level or pre U but I didn't know any offered the choice between a level and pre U so it wasn't something we thought about. And I don't know enough to know which would be best if we had been given the choice. So probably not a very helpful answer - sorry!

Ciutadella Fri 16-Sep-16 16:53:35

Yes, I doubt that many schools offer the choice MrsW - I was thinking more that if you're changing 6th form it might be possible to choose a 6th form that does pre u rather than a level, or vice versa! How does your dd enjoy the pre U? Or is it a bit too soon to ask if she is only yr 12?!

bojorojo Fri 16-Sep-16 18:23:35

The native speaker problem is not just minority languages. There are vast numbers of native French speakers in this country now and research is showing that it is affecting grades of non-native speakers. Also the same problems occur at university. DD said native speakers were said by the university not to have an advantage (she thought that was rubbish given that some exams are oral and translation!). Lots of the First Class awards went to native speakers! (Spanish a huge number of First Class awards as well - way more than Fench or German, or any other language for that matter at her university).

My DD went in with A levels, although she went to a private school. The A levels, and the quality of her teaching, were fine. I do not think pre U gives an advantage and offers for MFL at university are lowish anyway. Oxford/Cambridge was AAA and nearly everywhere else is either AAB or ABB. You do not have to be brilliant to get in!

I would say it is very important to make sure you do an essay subject at A level, not all languages. Essays are the majority of what is required at university, plus language acquisition of course.

Ciutadella Fri 16-Sep-16 21:29:35

Thanks Bojororo (sorry, think got spelling wrong) - is the 'bilingual/native' speakers issue significant for german as well, do you know? For some reason i assume there are fewer german than french native speakers doing uk public exams, but i could be wrong!
True you probably don't need the very top grades to get into university to do mfl, but later on i would imagine employers also look at a level grades, so it is still a disincentive if it's harder to get the top grades in mfls.
Thanks for feedback on the a level as well. I suppose some private schools might have switched to pre u earlier to escape the need to do as level? And then not switched back because they're used to it, even though a levels are now linear.

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