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French or Spanish GCSE? Or...sacrilege...neither?

(8 Posts)
Trewser Fri 17-Jan-20 09:59:16

Talking to dd about her GCSE options and I think she should take a language as she is quite good at them, although it is hard to fit everything into the 9 slots that she has.

Is it true that Spanish is easier at first, then gets harder, whereas French is hard at first then gets easier?

I'd quite like her to take French as I speak quite good French and could help her a bit. My other dcs both took Spanish and got a C and a 6 respectively and found it very difficult. She will decide herself but wondered if there was any truth in French getting 'easier' and Spanish getting 'harder'?

OP’s posts: |
TeenPlusTwenties Fri 17-Jan-20 11:37:49

DD1 did both under the 'old' GCSE. She did Spanish ab initio in y10 but definitely found it easier than French, and continued it to AS.
I think Spanish is potentially more 'useful' as a life skill as more areas of the world speak Spanish than speak French.
I don't know about the new specs as DD2 struggles enough with English so isn't doing an MFL!

TooGood2BeTrue Fri 17-Jan-20 11:47:15

Definitely Spanish is easier and also much more useful as spoken in many countries around the world. To help her learn you can make use of YouTube, watching Netflix / Amazon movies in Spanish with subtitles, listen to Spanish radio and podcasts, read online newspapers, etc. It's so much easier these days to access foreign language content if you're interested.

Trewser Fri 17-Jan-20 11:50:11

I know they are lowering the grade boundaries for GCSE French and German. Think her school might do iGCSE though so not sure what difference it makes.

Tempted to say don't bother with either and do History instead...

OP’s posts: |
dietcokeandwine Fri 17-Jan-20 12:01:26

Is she actually allowed to do neither though op?

At DS’s (non selective) state secondary all the dc must take one language - either French or Spanish - as an option. They are not allowed to drop both to take a completely different subject unless their academic ability is such that achieving a GCSE MFL is ‘an unrealistic expectation’ in which case they are allowed to drop both and do business studies instead.

FWIW DS opted for Spanish as easier and potentially more useful and - direct quote - he “hated it slightly less than French” grin Tbh he’d have dropped all MFL in a heartbeat if he could but he was not allowed to.

Trewser Fri 17-Jan-20 12:37:01

Yes she can drop it if she wants (private secondary) but is encouraged to do at least one. But if she desperately wanted to do History and Geography she could drop French. Its IGCSE anyway so doesn't count for league tables etc.

OP’s posts: |
cologne4711 Fri 17-Jan-20 13:20:41

If you can help her, she could do French. Do you like going to France on holiday if you speak the language? That would also help.

glittercats Fri 17-Jan-20 13:22:31

Hi Trewser - I’m ill today so have been browsing uni options for DS (who is in lower sixth) and one thing I was surprised to see is that some unis eg UCL require at least one GCSE language for any of their humanities courses (if not all courses)? because they want students with “an international outlook.” confused

Having said this, History and Geography are solid traditional” subjects obviously.

Is she more arts / humanities or STEM orientated do you think? Any idea what she may be thinking for A-level? If it’s definitely maths / sciences for instance, a humanities subject may be less relevant, but a language basis at GCSE may give her an opportunity to study abroad as part of a course? Or to pick up a language option later?

FWIW, my DS did both French and Spanish IGCSE. He started in Year 7 with French, Mandarin. and Latin (all were compulsory). Then, in Year 9 he dropped the Latin and Mandarin and took Spanish and French for IGCSE. He got a 9 in both, but one point higher for French. He’s now doing Spanish A-level. It was a tricky choice as he lives both languages, but he thought Spanish would be potentially more useful.

He did French, Spanish, History and Geog, but dropped Chemistry as he knew he wouldn’t be going the STEM route.

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