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As we approach exam time here at London Spanish Academy, we’ll be releasing a series of blogs dedicated to avoiding the common pitfalls of the Spanish GCSE, AS and A2 level exams. This guidance will apply to all exams taken across the board: AQA, OCR, Edexcel, CIE and IB Spanish students:

Here are some common mistakes students make in their Spanish GCSE exam and what to do to avoid them:

  1. Running out of time in the exam: at the beginning of the exam, try to spend a few minutes planning the amount of time you’ll allocate to each question. For example, a question worth 10 marks will need more time spent than a question worth 5 marks. Plan ahead so you know what you have to do to see you to the end of the paper.
  2. Misunderstanding the question: make sure you understand the question and the instruction.  This is really important so you know which direction to take in that specific question. If the question is in Spanish, answer in Spanish and vice versa.
  3. Leaving blanks: don’t leave blank answers – always guess if you can’t think of anything. Practice the following techniques to guess the meaning of the word or phrase:
    1. sometimes the word is very similar to the English equivalent (cognates) for example, difícil = difficult
    2. other times we uses prefixes and suffixes (ie, -ción, -tad, -mente etc) to help us think of the translation, for example, generalmente = generally
    3. if you speak another language, this can also help you greatly, for example, église = church in French, iglesia = church in Spanish
    4. think of English synonyms/alternatives and this may help you, eg, la grasa > grease > fat (in Spanish)
    5. think of the context of the question, for example, el medio ambiente – you know that you will need words associated with the environment
  4. Not enough time to double check the answers: leave about 5 minutes or so at the end to check through your answers (twice). Students almost always correct their own mistakes as they go through the questions or sometimes improve their answers. Check once from the beginning to the end and then check from the end to the beginning (this will confuse our mind a little and help you to spot errors you may have missed). This could make the difference between an ‘A’ grade and an ‘A*’ grade.

 

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