What is GCSE French?

In the new GCSE French course, you will continue to develop your skills in listening, speaking, reading and writing French. You will also increase your understanding of the French-speaking world.

Course Detail

Qualification Exam Board Specification
GCSE French AQA 8652

Department Leader

Ms K Dris
Department Leader for French

Course Overview

The video below explains the different topics you will study on the French course:

You will study:

  • Theme 1: People and lifestyle
    • Topic 1: Identity and relationships with others
    • Topic 2: Healthy living and lifestyle
    • Topic 3: Education and work
  • Theme 2: Popular Culture
    • Topic 1: Free-time activities
    • Topic 2: Customs, festivals and celebrations
    • Topic 3: Celebrity culture
  • Theme 3: Communication and the worlds around us
    • Topic 1: Travel and tourism, including places of interest
    • Topic 2: Media and technology
    • Topic 3: The environment and where people live

You will take 4 final exams at the end of year 11. GCSE French has a Foundation tier (grades 1–5) and a Higher tier (grades 4–9). Students must take all four question papers at the same tier.

Listening Speaking
  • Understanding and responding to spoken extracts comprising the defined vocabulary and grammar for each tier
  • Dictation of short, spoken extracts
  • 35 minutes (Foundation tier), 45 minutes (higher tier)
  • 40 marks (Foundation tier), 50 marks (higher tier)
  • 25% of GCSE
  • Using clear and comprehensible language to undertake a Role-play
  • Carry out a Reading aloud task
  • Talk about visual stimuli
  • Non-exam assessment (NEA)
  • 7–9 minutes (Foundation tier) + 15 minutes’ supervised preparation time
  • 10–12 minutes (Higher tier) + 15 minutes’ supervised preparation time
  • 50 marks (for each of Foundation tier and Higher tier)
  • 25% of GCSE
Reading Writing
  • Understanding and responding to written texts which focus predominantly on the vocabulary and grammar
  • Inferring plausible meanings of single words when they are embedded in written sentences
  • Translating from French into Englis
  • 45 minutes (Foundation tier), 1 hour (Higher tier)
  • 50 marks (for each of Foundation tier and Higher tier)
  • 25% of GCSE
  • Writing text in the language in a lexically and grammatically accurate way in response to simple and familiar stimuli
  • Translating from English into French
  • 1 hour 10 minutes (Foundation tier), 1 hour 15 minutes (Higher tier)
  • 50 marks (for each of Foundation tier and Higher tier)
  • 25% of GCSE


Lunchtime and after school sessions will be offered to help you prepare for the speaking tests.

With further training or study, learners may progress into a wide range of careers – a French GCSE opens up a range of career options and alongside the more obvious careers in travel and leisure / tourism, can also lead to careers in retail and business management, international trade, education, banking and law. Robert West, the head of Education and Skills at the CBI, said: “Employer demands for foreign language skills have significantly increased over the last few years.”

Got A Question?

If you have a question about French you can use the form below to contact Ms Dris, Department Leader for French.


    Updated: 07/02/2024