OCR Simplified AS & A2

Course Content


AS Skills

You will be able to:

   Explore and develop understanding of the contemporary society, cultural background and heritage of one or more of the countries or communities whose language is being studied

   Listen and respond to a variety of authentic spoken sources

   Read and respond to a variety of written texts from authentic sources

   Demonstrate flexibility when communicating in both speech and writing

   Use appropriate registers in written communication

   Manipulate the foreign language accurately to organise facts and ideas, present explanations, opinions and information in both speech and writing

   Understand and apply the grammatical system and a range of structures as detailed in the AS specification

   Transfer meaning from the foreign language into English and vice versa.




A2 Skills

   Understand and study in greater depth aspects of the contemporary society, cultural background and heritage of one or more of the countries or communities whose language is being studied, demonstrating a high level of critical awareness

   Use the foreign language to analyse, hypothesise, evaluate, argue a case, justify, persuade, rebut, develop arguments and present viewpoints in speech and in writing

   Demonstrate their capacity for critical thinking, to see relationships between different aspects of the subject and to perceive their field of study in a broader context

   Understand and apply the grammatical system and a range of structures as detailed in the A level specification

   Transfer meaning from English into the foreign language, or vice versa.





Specification Aims


Students will:


   Develop understanding of the spoken and written forms of the foreign language from a variety of registers

   Communicate confidently, clearly and effectively in the foreign language through both the spoken and written word, using increasingly accurate, complex and varied language

   Increase their sensitivity to language and language learning

   Develop critical insights into, and contact with, the contemporary society, cultural background and heritage of countries or communities where the foreign language is spoken

   Develop positive attitudes to foreign language learning.




As well as this the course will:



   Provide a suitable foundation for further study and/or practical use of the foreign language

   Provide a coherent, satisfying and worthwhile course of study for students who do not progress to further study in the subject.

   Provide a sufficient basis for the further study of foreign languages at degree level or equivalent.



The examination modules


   Three units for AS GCE in Year 12

   Three units at A2 in Year 13 if you are seeking an Advanced GCE award.




AS Speaking

15 minutes

AS value: 30%

A2 Value:15%


AS Listening,

Reading and Writing 1

1 hr 30 minutes

AS value: 40%

A2 Value:20%


AS Reading and Writing

1 hr 30 minutes

AS Value 30%

A2 Value 15%


A2 Speaking and Reading

15 minutes



A2 Listening,

Reading and Writing 2

2 hours 45 minutes

Value 20%


A2 Culture and Society

French written paper

2 hours

Value 15%


German Coursework 15%






AS Speaking

Section A: Role-Play (5 minutes)

     The role-play is set within a business or domestic context, and may take place in Britain or the foreign country. Candidates have 20 minutes in which to study a document containing brief instructions to candidates in English and the target language, and a stimulus passage of not more than 150 words of background information in English relating to the situation in which they are placed, and on which they should draw during the conversation. They may make notes on the sheet, if they wish.

     Situations are of a kind requiring candidates to give practical information and advice, for example to a visitor. Candidates are required to do some of the following: seek and provide opinions; request and supply information; deal with enquiries; negotiate to solve problems;

     make arrangements; suggest possible courses of action; respond to a complaint.



Section B: Presentation and discussion of topic (10 minutes)

     The topic may relate to the subject areas for AS, or may be of the candidate's own choosing, but it must relate to aspects of the society or culture of a country or community where the language studied is spoken.

     Candidates start with a short presentation (2-3 minutes) which is followed by discussion of 7-8 minutes with the Examiner. Candidates may bring into the examination literary texts, illustrative material or notes in the foreign language to support the discussion of the topic.

AS Listening, Reading and Writing 1

(1 hour 30 minutes)


This Unit is in two sections.

Candidates are issued with their own cassette and need individual listening facilities by means of personal stereos with rewind facilities or by use of language laboratory.


Section 1


1A: Listening

A number of short listening texts (e.g. news flashes, items of general interest,

advertisements). The exercises comprise non-verbal test-types which do not involve

productive use of the foreign language. All material will be studio recorded.


1B: Reading

A text of 200-300 words requires non-verbal responses.



AS Listening, Reading and Writing 1 (continued)

Section 2: The World of Work

Tasks in this section are set within the context of the World of Work, but the situations are of a general nature and no specialised knowledge is required.


2A: Listening

One listening text: exercises comprise both non-verbal test types and some questions in the foreign language.


2B: Reading

A text of 150-200 words is an extract from a letter or memo for gist translation into English. Candidates are assessed for comprehension of the foreign language and quality of written English. This task represents the maximum of 10% of assessment allowed for use of English at AS Level.


2C: Writing

One writing task (100 words maximum) a letter or fax in reply to either the listening text in Section 2A or the reading text in Section 2B, to be written from instructions in English.




AS Reading and Writing (1 hour 30 minutes)


Three reading texts are set in Sections A and B (maximum 750 words). All texts relate to the broad subject areas for AS listed in Section 5.1 and are firmly rooted in the target language country or community.


Section A: Reading

On the first two texts candidates are required to demonstrate comprehension by carrying out a series of different exercise types which will not involve productive writing in the foreign language.


Section B: Writing

A writing task (word count to be recommended on the examination paper but no limits to be imposed), in which candidates need to respond to a written text of around 300 words provided as stimulus. Candidates are required to demonstrate comprehension by providing a summary of the main points of the text and offering a personal response to the issues raised by the text.


Section C: Cloze test

A gapped text will offer, for each gap, a choice of three possible answers, to test candidates awareness of a number of structures listed in Appendix B to this specification. The gapped text will draw on the language and information contained in the written text of Section B.





A2 Speaking and Reading


Section A: Discussion (5-6 minutes)

     Candidates have 20 minutes before the examination to read and prepare responses to a short written stimulus in the foreign language. This stimulus may be taken from a newspaper or periodical, and may present information in a visual or tabulated form as well as some written text.

     The total length of the stimulus material will not exceed 250 words, and the subject matter is taken from the lists for AS and A2 in Section 5.

     Candidates will then engage in discussion with the Examiner and respond to questions about the text prepared. Questions test understanding of and response to the actual text studied (AO2); and comprehension of and response to the Examiner (AO1).


Section B: General Conversation (10-12 minutes)

Candidates discuss current issues associated with the target-language country/community. [Current is defined as within the learning experience of the candidate, i.e. from the previous seven years.]


     Candidates are required to submit a list of three different subtopics which they have prepared to discuss with the Examiner: the Examiner then selects one or two of these to form the basis of the latter part of the conversation. The conversation should not cover the topic dealt with in Section A of the test, nor a topic which was dealt with in Unit 2651/2661/2671, Section B.

     Candidates should be able to offer some factual knowledge, ideas and opinions related to a country where the language is spoken. Candidates may bring into the examination notes in the foreign language to support the discussion (such notes must be limited to one side of A4 paper or a maximum of 3 postcards).



A2 Reading, Listening and Writing 2

(2 hours 45 minutes)


Section A: Listening

     One or two extended listening texts are set. The passage is taken from a statement or talk given by a single speaker or from an interview or discussion involving more than one speaker.

     Questions are set in the target language and aim to test both overall comprehension of the text and comprehension of specific details. Candidates responses are also in the target language.


Section B: Reading Comprehension

     One or two extended reading texts are set. Some exercises may involve a non-verbal response or English language questions requiring answers in English.

     There are also a set of questions requiring answers in the foreign language or other tasks requiring writing in the foreign language, such as finishing sentences, definitions etc.


Section C: Writing in the Foreign Language and transfer from English 10 marks AO3

     Candidates are required to transfer the meaning of an English text of 300-400 words into the foreign language by explaining parts of the material in the foreign language.

     The exercise takes the form of a guided summary of specified parts of the text, to which candidates are invited to add their own opinion.





Culture and Society (written paper: 2 hours)


Candidates write two discursive essays in the foreign language, each of no less than 300 words and of a recommended maximum of 500 words. Each answer must be based on a different topic or text.


Set Literary Texts


     Candidates may choose to answer one or two questions from this section, or they may omit this section altogether and choose questions in Section B or Section C. Two questions are set on each text in a list of eight set texts.

     The candidate may choose either to answer a question which consists of an extended passage from the text, inviting candidates to comment on a particular aspect or to indicate how the passage reflects the work as a whole; or to answer an essay question on an aspect of the chosen text.

     Questions focus on issues central to the text under discussion and candidates are expected to display detailed knowledge of the text and to show some awareness of the authors aims and how the meaning or the message of the work is conveyed.

     Candidates are expected to give a personal response to the text, based on sound understanding and appreciation of the work.



Culture and Society (Coursework) German only


    Candidates submit either one long piece (1200-1400 words) or two short pieces (each of 600- 700 words) of coursework in the foreign language on topics or texts of their choice, provided they are related to a target language country. Where two pieces are chosen, they may be on different topics or texts, or on different aspects of the same topic or text.


    Candidates may treat their coursework in whatever way they wish; imaginative and creative work is welcomed, provided that it arises from a body of reading or research and can be appropriately assessed using the criteria provided. There must not be a close relationship between the subject matter drawn on for presentation and discussion and any piece of coursework.








Section A Reading and listening materials used in the AS units are drawn from the following broad topic areas and are firmly rooted in the culture of a target-language country:


    Media (newspapers, magazines, TV and radio; the role and influence of the media).

    Advertising (the role and influence of advertising).

    The arts (aspects of cultural life, e.g. film, theatre; the arts as part of leisure time).

    Daily life (patterns of daily life; daily routine; school; the individuals way of life; living conditions; shopping; housing).

    Food and drink (traditional aspects of the national cuisine; healthy eating; fast food).

    Sport and pastimes (individual and team sports; amateur and professional sport; national sporting concerns and traditions; leisure activities).

    Travel, transport and holidays (tourism as a modern phenomenon; friction between tourists and local inhabitants; holidays and foreign travel; tourism and the environment).

    Human interest news items.


Section B is based on a World of Work context.

Tasks in this section are set within the context of the World of Work, but the situations will be of a general nature and no specialised knowledge is required.





Reading and listening material used in A2 is drawn from the following broad areas and is firmly rooted in the culture of a target-language country:


Social issues

     Urban and rural life; housing problems; social exclusion; employment and unemployment; leisure activities; immigration and qualification for residence; the role of women; equality of opportunity for minority groups; religion and belief; patterns of churchgoing; religious minorities.


The Environment

     The individual in his/her surroundings; effect of the environment on individuals; personal and individual ways of contributing to environmental awareness.

     Pollution: air, water pollution; noise; damage to animal world; solutions and cost implications; global warming; acid rain; destruction of rain forests.

     Conservation: saving endangered species and landscapes.



     Education systems and types of school; patterns of curriculum; relationship between education and training; further and higher education provision; examinations.




Law and order

     The role of the police; patterns of crime; public protests and demonstrations; juvenile delinquency.



     French: Aspects of France and the French-speaking world: Le systme politique en France; Paris et la Province; les mouvements de droite; lhritage colonial; le monde francophone.


     German: Aspects of Germany and the German-speaking world: Das vereinte Deutschland seit der Wende; Einwanderer in Deutschland; Rechtsradikalismus im neuen Deutschland; sterreich; die Schweiz.


Technological and scientific advances

     Medical advances: advances in the treatment of disease; ethical problems of medical progress.

     Technological advances: electronic communications; modern communications systems; satellites and space travel.


Human-interest news items.

    Minimum grade requirement to start the AS course.

Grade C at GCSE having sat Higher Tier papers in all skills.


    Joint honours courses at university


    Greater employability


    Access to a foreign language assistant

    Dedicated website for SBS students

    Access to ICT and satellite recorded material to support topic based work

Library stock of DVD/video, audio and printed support and revision material