AS / A2 Writing exam tips for language students

Revising for the exam

The key to getting a good mark in your writing part of the exam is to learn as much vocabulary as you can. Try to revise words every day leading up to the exam and ask someone to test you. To help you memorise words use pictures and images and group words into topic areas. Go through texts you have read in class and revise the words you find more difficult to remember.

Revise verb endings for different tenses, especially those you don’t use often: vosotros and ustedes forms.

During the exam

Underline the key elements set in the question and use these as paragraph sub-headings in your planning.

When reading through the questions write down any related vocabulary on the subject; sport, environment, immigration, family etc.

Plan your ideas in a logical way. An essay should have a clear structure: introduction, main body and conclusion. Make bullet points of points you want to make with the key words to include in that paragraph.

Use key phrases to make your text easier to follow; En primer lugar (Firstly), además (besides), En resumen (In summary).

Follow the principle of stating an idea or opinion and then develop it with examples that successfully justify or explain it.

If you don’t know the exact word you need, use a similar one (majo – simpático – agradable.)

Make sure you answer the question in the tense it was asked.

Check that as you develop your answer, it continues to focus on the question set.

Build your essay up from simple sentences and use link statements to connect ideas.

If you are asked to write a letter, think carefully about whether the style should be formal or informal and use the correct tone throughout. ( or usted).

Accuracy. You will be graded on your use of the Spanish language. Check your grammar, spelling and vocabulary. Check that adjectives agree with what they are describing. Pay particular attention to the use of ser and estar, para and por.  Remember, accents are important.

Take time to read through what you have written to check for accuracy and make improvements to the content where necessary.

For tips on getting the best mark possible in the reading section of the exam read the blog post: Reading tips for language students

For help with the listening part of the exam, read the blog post: A-level listening exam tips.

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