German A Level
The course is designed to build on the language acquired when studying for GCSE German and continues the development of listening, speaking, reading and writing skills, alongside an understanding of the way in which grammatical structures enhance linguistic independence.
Students study social and technological change in modern, diverse German speaking societies, alongside highlights of German-speaking artistic culture and also explore the influence of the past on present-day German-speaking communities and how Germany’s political structures were formed. They learn the language in the context of German-speaking countries and the issues and influences which have shaped them. Students will study a film and a literary text and will have the opportunity to carry out independent research on a topic of their choice linked to an aspect of German language culture.
A minimum of 4 subjects at grade 5 or above at GCSE plus English Language at grade 4 or above. You should also have a grade 6 or above in GCSE German.
What will I study?
Aspects of German Speaking Society
- The Changing State of the Family: different types of families and relationships
- The Digital World: the uses and dangers of the internet and social networks, the digital society
- Youth Culture: fashion and trends, music, television in German-speaking countries
Artistic Culture in the German Speaking World
- Festivals and Traditions: their origins, importance, diversity
- Art and Architecture: influence, role and developments past and present
- Cultural Life in Berlin, Past and Present: history, music, museums, the multicultural city
You will also study a German language film, Das Leben der Anderen in the first year.
You will build on the topics studied in Year One and study new topics.
Multiculturalism in German Speaking Society
- Immigration: reasons for migration, its benefits and challenges
- Integration: measures and obstacles to successful integration
- Racism: origins of racism, those affected by it and measures to counter it
Aspects of Political Life in the German Speaking World
- Germany and the EU: its role in the EU and the benefit of membership to Germany
- Politics and Youth: political engagement of young people, their priorities, values and ideals
- German Reunification and the Consequences: revolution, culture and identity of the new states
You will also study a literary work, Der Besuch der alten Dame, in the second year and build on the work of the film from the first year.
The second year of the course also includes an independent research project, on a topic of your choice, related to an aspect of German language society or culture.
You will need to purchase a copy of the novel and also a DVD of the film that will be studied.
Method of delivery
The course follows the traditional A Level delivery model of three 90 minute lessons a week, typically including listening and reading practice, group and paired speaking work and practice of grammatical structures.
We use the AQA approved Kerboodle online coursebook, with additional material. Students are provided with a personal login so they can access materials for independent study. In addition there is a short small group or individual lesson each week, to improve spoken confidence, fluency, and accuracy.
How will I be assessed?
Assessment is by final examination at the end of each year, including a speaking examination, listening and reading comprehension, translation and essays on the film and/or book.
Paper 1: Listening, reading and writing, worth 45%
Paper 2: Writing and translation, worth 25%
Paper 3: Speaking, worth 30%
Paper 1: Listening, reading, writing and translation, worth 50%
Paper 2: Writing, worth 20%
Paper 3: Speaking, including the Independent Research Project, worth 30%
Good course combinations
Students can combine German successfully with the full range of A Levels; we positively welcome dual or even triple linguists if applicants have studied the relevant GCSEs. The current specification works particularly well with English Language, Film Studies, English Literature, History, Politics and Sociology. The skills needed also feature in A Levels with an emphasis on logic or process such as Maths, Music and the Sciences.
Your next steps
Many students go on to a language related degree course. Learning a language at A Level teaches the skills needed to learn all languages, so students sometimes choose to start a new language at university e.g. Mandarin, Arabic, Japanese. There are many universities offering courses including language study, combined with another option.
Recently students have progressed to courses including German and Engineering at Sheffield, French and Law at Liverpool, French and Spanish at York and History and German at Cambridge. Students progressing to non-MFL courses have opted for Journalism at the University of Westminster, Maths at Newcastle, Classics at Oxford, and Environmental Science at Sheffield.
Possible careers include teaching, translation, journalism, publishing, and work in the tourism or financial sectors. Knowledge of a minority language can increase a student’s options in the job market and the skills developed on languages courses, including analysis, attention to detail and oral skills are valued in many areas of employment. Some students progress straight into a career and many feel that German A Level builds up the confidence and language skills needed for travelling and periods of work abroad.
“My German course at College has been both effective in improving my confidence and ability within the language and extremely enjoyable. It has always had an extremely friendly and relaxed conversational atmosphere which I feel has helped improve my spoken German skills.”