My GCSE language struggle

When i started highschool i learnt German. I enjoyed it and got pretty decent grades. But halfway through year 9 i moved school, and in my new school they didn't do German- they did Spanish.

I was pretty gutted that they didn't do German. I felt that almost 3 years of hard work were put to waste. Nevertheless, I got on with my life, Languages didn't seem like a big deal to me back then, i focused on my other subjects.

When I came to the end of year 9, i had to pick my options for GCSE. I had picked three options and had one left. I asked for advice from friends and family members, most of them had said that i should do a language. They said that by doing this i would get an EBAC (english bacoloria or something like that) and that it would benefit me in the future. Spanish was the only language that the school did, so i ended up picking that.

It was horrible at first. I regretted the decision more than anything. Everyone else in my class had been doing Spanish since year 7, and I started in year 10! I was so behind in class. I didn't understand anything at all, and sometimes in my writing i accidentally put in some German phrases without realizing.

Now, I'm in year 11. I've been learning spanish for a year and I am a grade 5 student, (equivalent to a C) there is still lots of room for improvement but i am pleased with my progress.

In the past year i have been using websites such as memrise, duolinguo, babbel and quizlet. I have been listening to spanish music, and watching Netflix in Spanish.

No one said it was going to be easy, but you can do anything if you put in the effort :)

September 5, 2019


Well said. In many UK schools, for people who want to concentrate on languages, a new language is started in year 10 so it is doable. Of course, it is much easier when your classmates are all in the same position - so well done for managing to motivate yourself. Have you thought about asking your school if they will also enter you for GCSE German - just because you didn't learn it there doesn't mean they can't do that.

September 5, 2019

Thanks :) and yes i'm sure, i've tried asking and they said the only way i can do German is to move school again. Im happy doing Spanish now tho, i might think about doing German again in the future.

September 5, 2019

Well done you, simmmy.p.

It must have been awkward and demoralizing to be behind the others in Spanish, especially after the work you put into German. Many would have seen it as a sign to give up on education entirely.

I admire your attitude. Learn what you can, now, with the best of the options available to you, and nothing will be wasted. You will find other paths and opportunities opening up to you, because you've demonstrated that you can adapt and move on when necessary.

September 5, 2019

Thank you so much :)

September 5, 2019

You are amazing! Never lose your love for German! German, however, is incredibly structured and Spanish seems to have a relatively simple structure. Take advantage of this. Don't try to compare them at all. Empty your mind and just take Spanish for what it is. Best of Luck!

September 5, 2019

Thank you! i appreciate it

September 6, 2019

Surely your school could enter you for the German exam if you are prepared to pay for it.

September 5, 2019

A school always has one eye on league tables, and percentage pass rates. They may not risk entering anyone under their auspices if there was a risk of failure, wether they paid entry fees or not. Conversely I know someone who as an adult learning German privately was offered an opportunity to sit the exam under a local school auspices because it would have boosted the schools pass rate (obviously he was expected to pass)

September 6, 2019

First of all, well done on sticking with it, even though you found it tough. It will pay off in the end!

There is IGCSE's which you might be able to take outside of school (you would have to pay it yourself), however, if you are still interested in doing a German GCSE, this might be an option for you?

Keep up the good work with Spanish! Happy learning.

September 6, 2019

Thank you! And yes i will look into that.

September 6, 2019

I am with the others that say to keep learning German - why don't you keep it fresh doing it on Duolingo too? (when you are a but more catched up with the Spanish, maybe)

I did French in Middle School (11-13 yo), now I don't remember anything, and I want to get back to it, because otherwise all that time is lost... (Already started it on Duolingo) My school choices brought me to have just English in the curriculum (other than my native language, I mean), and I think it is a great loss...

September 6, 2019

What is your native language, may I ask?

September 6, 2019

It is Italian

September 6, 2019

Well done. Have 2 lingots for doing so well.

I think you need to blame the English politicians who keep mucking up what is taught in schools. Such a shame.

As a teacher I used to get really angry as the subjects and content seemed to be changed 3 years. You would sort out your syllabus, timetables and scoring mechanisms, and then just as you were settling into running it, the next Minister of Education would come along with his/her pet subjects and theories. And bang off you would go yet again having to change everything (none of them trained teachers!). It used to be you did French and German and then added Spanish or Russian later. But now it seems that each Academy chain, and local authority school can choose what mix they do. Our son had the same problem and right from the Year 7 had to do 2 languages (the politicians thought this was a great idea). Well being dyslexic................!!

Don't give up. It's not your fault and you are doing really well if you are heading for a 5.

Keep up the Duo. Watch Spanish TV and read Spanish books. Look on-line and there will be some simple ones. May even be learner mags.

September 9, 2019
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