Pre-U Spanish

The Modern Languages Department at MCS aims to provide enjoyment and intellectual stimulation as well as a rewarding and successful learning experience that will allow pupils to participate confidently and competently in communicative exchanges with native speakers.

The emphasis in the Pre-U is on authentic language and culture. As a learner of Spanish, you will be able to explore aspects of the historical and sociological changes that have shaped Spain and transformed it into one of the most forward-looking countries in the European Union. Equally, if you are interested in economics, medicine or the law as a career you will be able to develop an oral and written competency that will allow you to work in the most important international and national institutions with the sound knowledge and confidence that you will not only stand your ground but also adapt and react flexibly to any communicative situation that your work throws at you.

Above all your teaching will be first-rate, delivered by passionate teachers who know from experience what it’s like to learn a foreign language, and will be able to support you through these two life-shaping years.


The Cambridge Pre-U Modern Foreign Language syllabus for Spanish aims to:

  • develop pupils’ ability to understand the target language in a variety of registers
  • enable pupils to communicate confidently and clearly in the target language
  • form a sound base of skills, language, and attitudes required for further study, work and leisure
  • develop insights into the culture and civilisation of countries where the target language is spoken
  • encourage positive attitudes to language learning and a sympathetic approach to other cultures
  • further intellectual and personal development by promoting learning and social skills


Examination arrangements and course content

The course is assessed in four exams, each equally weighted towards the final grade.

  • Speaking: Externally assessed speaking test conducted by a visiting examiner, approximately 16 minutes. Pupils are expected to understand and respond to texts written in the target language, drawn from a variety of sources such as magazines, newspapers, reports, books, and other forms of extended written and spoken material.
  • Reading and Listening: A series of reading and listening exercises, 2 hours 15 minutes. Pupils are expected to manipulate the target language accurately in spoken and written forms to demonstrate an ability to choose appropriate examples of vocabulary and structure.
  • Writing and Usage: Discursive essay in the target language and three grammar usage exercises, 2 hours 15 minutes. Topics covered in preparation for the discursive essay include: human relationships, the generation gap, the media, law and order, equality of opportunity, travel and tourism, war and peace, scientific and technological innovation, conservation. Pupils are expected to select and present information, and to organise their arguments and ideas logically.
  • Topics and Texts: Two extended answers, one in the target language based on a theme and one English commentary or essay on a variety of texts and films, 2 hours 30 minutes.

Topics in Spanish include: the films of Pedro Almodóvar.

Texts in Spanish include: Lorca, Bodas de sangre.

Pupils are expected to research and discuss aspects of the history, current affairs or cultures of countries where the target language is spoken.

The oral exam will be practised in individual weekly lessons with the dedicated Spanish Language Assistants.

Suggested preparation and further inspiration 
In Our Time The Spanish Civil War
Language and the Mind Read the news in Spanish to familiarise yourself with current social, political and cultural topics in Spain and the Hispanic world. This will support L6th reading and listening, and help your individual oral lessons.
Sierra i Fabra, Jordi Campos de Fresas The story of a young girl on a night out and the consequences of her actions, by a very popular author of literature for young people.
Cervantes Virtual Institute selection of Poems by Pablo Neruda Just for fun! Playful combinations of words meant to be enjoyed for their sounds and imagery. Deceptively simple, but great fun for poetry beginners.
Esquivel, Laura
(film dir. Alfonso Arau)
Como agua para chocolate It is always good to choose a realistic novel with a fast paced story line, if you have not read literature in Spanish before (though it is available in translation). Based on revolutionary Mexico, it tells a story of traditions, love and misfortunes all in the setting of the protagonist’s kitchen – with some revolution thrown in!
del Toro, Guillermo El laberinto del fauno (Pan’s Labyrinth) The story of a brutal post-war Spain through the eyes and magical imagination of a young girl in a rural environment: fantasy, darkness and the triumph of innocence.