Reading exam tips for AS and A2 language students

Read through the questions before reading the text as they may give you a clue as to what the text is about and key vocabulary to watch out for.

Make sure you know whether you need to answer the questions in Spanish or English.

Read the whole text to understand its general meaning before you start to answer the questions.

Underline the key words in the text as you read through it.

Take notice of the headings and subheadings of the text as they will give you an idea of the topic area which will prepare you for the key words.

Keep an eye on the time so that you spend the right amount of time on each section.

If you are struggling to find an answer, leave it and come back to it at the end if there is time.

Vocabulary related to media and popular culture will contain a lot of words and concepts similar in form to English. Technical jargon is also very similar. Examples: los programas documentales, la música pop, instalar un programa.

The questions follow the text in sequence. Don’t answer a question based on the first paragraph with a comment taken from the final paragraph.

Pay attention to figures in the text, they may be required in your answers. With questions that relate to the date or the time, give all of the information; e.g. 9 a.m. or 50 euros.

Remember to give a correct answer you do not necessarily need to understand every word, so don’t panic if you come across a word you do not know or a word which can have different meanings. Read the context to try to work out what it may mean.

Make sure you don’t confuse verb endings, especially between the imperfect tense (“used to” or “was doing”) and the conditional (would) which both have –ía endings. For example: vivía “I lived” and viviría “I would live”.

Watch out for verbs used in the imperative (commands) ending in –a or –e or –an, -en, or –ad or –ed. They will be telling you to do something, they are not the present tense. Examples: “Escribe” may be used for the command “Write …” rather than “He/She writes”.

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

For help with the writing section of the exam read the blog post: AS / A2 Writing exam tips for language students

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