Head of Department: Ms Katherine Wells

Exam board: Edexcel

A Level Russian students move beyond the familiar topics of GCSE and soon begin to encounter authentic texts in order to practise the skill of reading for meaning in a foreign language. Throughout the two year course they seek to consolidate their grasp of abstract vocabulary in order to improve their reading and listening skills. Students tackle topics such as Russian history, politics, culture and social issues, examining the country’s turbulent past as well as its intriguing present. They constantly develop their translation skills, both into Russian and into English, and they begin to write essays on cultural topics. In order to produce accurate and complex Russian, students spend a considerable amount of time examining and practising new grammatical structures.

Having the confidence to speak in a foreign language is crucial for success. In addition to oral work in class, students of Russian in Year 12 are able to practise their oral skills in pairs in their weekly lesson with the Russian conversationalist; in Year 13 they have individual conversation lessons. In their final year they research a topic of their own choice in preparation for the presentation and discussion component of the A-level oral exam.

Finally, students study a contemporary Russian film and also read a classic work of literature during lessons. This not only prepares them for the essay paper, but also offers them an insight into the fascinating cultural history of Russia. Students also take part in the biennial exchange with our partner school in Russia, the Novgorod Lycee; this is a unique opportunity for students to experience real Russian life and also improve their spoken Russian.

At the end of Year 13 there are three exams: a comprehension paper (listening, reading and translation) worth 40%, a writing paper (two essays and a translation) worth 30% and an oral exam worth 30%.

Exam Results

The average of the A Level results in Russian over the most recent three year period (2023, 2022, 2021) is:

A* – A78%
A* – B85%