Languages (Self-taught Supported) has been added to My Courses


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This is an opportunity for students who are fluent in a language for which an A-level examination exists and who wish to gain an extra A-level in that language.

The Modern Foreign Languages Department is pleased to be able to provide some guidance to these students on how to use the specification and past papers to prepare for the exam and how to set up a programme of study.

However, the responsibility for preparing for the exam is the student’s own. There is no tuition and students should only take these exams if they are able to prepare for the linguistic element independently.


Course content

The specific content varies according to the language studied. Students will need to practice and develop the language skills of speaking, listening, reading, writing and translation to cover all the themes in the relevant specification. They should also to develop their essay writing in the language studied. They will have to write an essay on each of the chosen works and possibly on a chosen research topic.

  • Social issues and trends
  • Political, intellectual and artistic culture
  • Research into a cultural, historical or literary topic chosen by the student
  • Study of two works from a prescribed list of literary texts and films

Methods of assessment

All assessment is by examination. Some languages such as Arabic and Polish are examined through written papers in listening, reading, writing and translation, but some such as Italian, also include speaking exams which take place at another centre, or are conducted via zoom.

Many students choose to take these exams in their first year at St Brendan’s so they can dedicate the final year to their other subjects, but it is also possible to take these exams in the final year.


Guidance in preparing for this course is given via a dedicated Microsoft Team. In the Team students are able to ask questions and collaborate with others. They are encouraged to share and store resources in the Team for their language of study. Students should also practice reading and listening to a variety of media online.


Students benefit from being part of the St Brendan’s Language Centre and are invited to join in with a variety of enrichment activities such as The Language Carousel and masterclasses with visiting speakers.

Additional Costs

As this is an additional subject to those studied at college, the student is expected to pay the Board’s examination fees. If there is a speaking exam there is an additional fee. However, the exam administration and invigilation is provided without extra charge by the college.

What next?

Students of a self-taught language have gone on to study it or other languages at degree level. A language can also be combined with a wide range of other subjects at university, offering the possibility of a year abroad.

A foreign language qualification is considered a most valuable asset by employers in a range of occupations within the fields of engineering, medicine, diplomacy, the sciences, journalism and many others.

Where can this course lead?

Apply for this course

Find out how to apply for A-level Languages (Self-taught Supported).

Languages (Self-taught Supported) has been added to My Courses