GCSE Spanish

Spanish is one of the most spoken languages in the world as well as a vital tool for business and commerce. The GCSE Spanish course aims to promote the acquisition of the following receptive skills: the ability to read and understand the written language, the ability to write the language with accuracy and fluency, and the ability to speak the language with accuracy and fluency. The course lays a firm foundation for anyone wishing to take Spanish, Languages or European Studies at A Level.

Why study Spanish at GCSE?

An equal amount of time is devoted to working on oral skills (listening comprehension and conversation), essay planning and writing, guided writing in response to a stimulus, recasting material into Spanish, translating a variety of registers into English (including formal, informal, narrative, descriptive, imaginative, discursive, dialogue, journalistic or philosophical material), and compiling dissertations as coursework. Students will receive tuition in all types of examination question, whether short answer questions, source based stimulus response questions or essays and techniques in preparing for and answering compulsory questions. Students can expect each week a minimum of 6 hours of classroom tuition plus one or two substantial pieces of homework based on previous past papers.

Which syllabus do we follow?

We follow the Edexcel specification for GCSE Spanish.

How many topics are there?

There are five topics in total for Spanish GCSE.

What topics will be covered?

Topic 1Topic 2Topic 3Topic 4Topic 5
Identity and culture

  • Who am I? : interests, friends and family
  • Daily Life : food and drink, shopping, technology
  • Cultural life : celebrations, sport, music, reading, and films
Local area, holiday and travel

  • Holidays: destinations and experiences
  • Travel and tourist transactions: travel and accommodation, asking for help and directions, activities and attractions
  • Town, region and country: weather, places to see and things to do

  • What school is like: types of schools, a typical school day, subjects and rules
  • School activities: school trips and events
Future aspirations, study and work

  • Using languages beyond the classroom: forming relationships, travel and employment
  • Ambitions: further study, volunteering and training
  • Work: jobs, professions and careers
International and global dimension

  • Bringing the world together: sports and music events, campaigns and good causes
  • Environmental issues: access to natural resources, being ‘green’

How is the content examined?

Each examination draws on vocabulary across all topics.

Paper 1Paper 2Paper 3Paper 4
Listening and understanding in Spanish
It is externally assessed and takes place in May.
Students will respond to multiple-response and short-answer open response questions based on a recording of standard spoken Spanish, featuring a range of public and social settings.
45 minutes for higher tier
50 marks, 25% of GCSE
Speaking in Spanish
It is internally assessed under controlled conditions and it takes place at the beginning of May.
It is marked by the school and moderated by Edexcel.
Students must speak Spanish to communicate effectively for different purposes and in different settings.
There are three tasks:

  • Task 1 – a role play
  • Task 2 – questions based on a picture stimulus
  • Task 3 – conversation based on two themes

10-12 minutes, 12 minutes preparation time.
70 Marks, 25% of GCSE

Reading and understanding in Spanish
It is externally assessed and takes place on the same day as the listening and understanding. Students answer multiple-response and short-answer questions based on a range of texts, including advertisements, emails, letters, articles and literary texts.
1 hour for higher tier
50 marks, 25% of GCSE
Writing in Spanish
It is externally assessed and takes place at the beginning of May under controlled conditions.
Students must produce responses of varying lengths, expressing ideas and opinions for different purposes and audiences.
1 hour 20 minutes
60 marks, 25% of GCSE

When do the exams take place?

GCSE Spanish exams usually take place in May.

Alberto Lado Rey
(MA Hispanic Studies, UCL; BA English Language Studies, University of Santiago de Compestela, Spain; Teachers Training Certificate, University of Santiago de Compestela, Spain)

Ashbourne College London Spanish teacher - Alberto Lado Rey

Alberto is Faculty Head of Languages at Ashbourne and has been teaching at the college since 2000. He has been an Edexcel examiner since 2004. Alberto specialises in Spanish and Latin American culture.

Beyond A level Spanish

Spanish GCSE is a perfect basis for Spanish A Level, which itself is a necessity if you plan to study Modern Languages or Latin American Studies at university.
Most universities also offer combined degree courses that allow you to study languages alongside other major subjects such as History, Law, Business, Management, Politics and Development Studies.