Alternatives to A-Levels for language learners


A-Level results are out this week.  I didn’t take A-Levels, so don’t feel qualified to discuss the stress, anxiety but also overwhelming joy that getting your results must bring.  (GCSE’s were bad enough for me). It has made me contemplate however the alternatives that are available for language learners. 

Academic v’s practical learners

What type of learner are you?

Usually academic learners take A-Levels and practical learners prefer BTecs or NVQ’s, but it’s not always the case.

Personally I benefit from more practical, hands-on experiences so would be classes as a Kinesthetic learner . It took me a while to realise that though.  I tried Spanish, Economics and history A-Levels at Sandbach High School Sixth-form and at College.

It took me a year to realise that I learn through doing and experiencing as oppose to theory and discussion.  Hence my decision to opt out of A-Levels and take a technical diploma (Leisure & Tourism).

I know lots of people who delighted in staying on at high-school to take their A-Levels.  After university some of them even went on to find work in a professional field that actually related to the subjects they took (!!)

Travel the world clouds conceptWhat do I need an A-Level in a language for anyway?

For those who are academically minded the main reason is to get into University (hopefully your first choice).

For others it may be to get a job.

For some it will be to simply further their studies and see where it takes them with no real “plan”.

Alternatives to A-Levels

So what are your options if you are “academically challenged” (or just don’t want to take A-Levels).

  1. BTEC – Work related qualification (equivalent to A-Levels). a great alterantive to Alevels. Languages are usually included within a specific qualification (usually travel & tourism).
  2. Advanced Apprentiship; working full-time whilst gaining training and completing qualifications.
  3. National Vocational Qualification (NVQ); similar to Apprentiships as in you are assessed on the job.
  4. Short or intensive Courses on specialist areas ie. translations. Up until the age of 18 there is government funding available for all kinds of courses, there is also other funds available for under 23’s.
  5. Get a job; let’s face it, if you already have an idea of what you want to do professionally then why not begin getting some real work experience.
  6. Travel the World.
  7. Immersion program; I am a huge supporter of immersion programmes (!!). This is how I took my ability to speak Spanish to another level.  It is easier and (a lot) more fun than A-Levels to do an immersion programme. Fair enough it may be a little more expensive as you have to consider flights & accommodation costs, but at 17 (the age at which most take their A-Levels) students are old-enough to work part-time to assist with the funds.

I hope you enjoyed this article please feel free to leave a comment below.

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