IGCSE Spanish Tips From The Experts – Reading, Writing, Speaking & Listening

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Preparing for the IGCSE Spanish exam can often be overwhelming, as it requires mastering a wide range of vocabulary and grammar. Indeed, memorising countless words and rules may seem like a daunting prospect.

However, we have good news for you!

With some effective revision strategies and learning techniques, you can reduce stress, gain confidence, and even find more time for the things you enjoy.

Without further ado, let us take you through some easy-to-follow IGCSE Spanish revision tips to help you excel in your upcoming exam.

General Tips For Your IGCSE Spanish Assessment

IGCSE Spanish assessment is multi-level and consists of papers concerning reading, listening, speaking, and writing.

Therefore, your revision should be comprehensive and balanced in order to address each of these four components equally. Don’t fall into the trap of only revising the parts that you are already comfortable with.

Before diving into the specifics regarding these components, we’d like to provide some general tips to help improve your revision sessions.

With the following overarching tactics, not only will you be able to optimise your study time but also increase your confidence and your ability.

1. Revise grammar rules and structures

Your IGCSE Spanish guide (here are the guides for CAIE and Pearson Edexcel) features a list of all grammar structures necessary for your current level of proficiency.

While learning grammar for the next level (B1 and higher) would be a nice touch, your main focus should remain on the scope of things specified by your exam board. You should revise the rules and try to implement them in different sentence structures and texts. Conjuguemos and other similar websites can offer fun and interactive exercises to help you practice various aspects of Spanish grammar.

2. Make associations between words in fun ways

Learning new words and continuously expanding your vocabulary is a must. But it’s easier to say than done. To make this process less tedious, you can use images, flashcards, or mind maps.

It is also a good idea to try and make associations between words related to specific topics.

For example, if you are studying the topic of holidays, you can make a list of words that are related to it, such as viajar (to travel), playa (beach), hotel (hotel), maleta (suitcase), etc.

You can come up with crazy and imaginative ways to link the words together so they will stay in your memory more effectively.

3. Learn the question words in Spanish

Words like qué (what), por qué (why), cómo (how), cuándo (when), quién (who), etc. should become an essential component of your revision efforts.

For example, you can ask yourself questions about a certain text or topic and then answer them in Spanish.

Without mastering these elements you will find it hard to shine in the final exams.

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4. Practice with past papers

Past papers are a useful tool to familiarise yourself with the format and style of the exam as well as test your knowledge.

Explore the websites of your specific exam board for past papers, examiner reposts, and mark schemes.

You can make use of these resources to challenge yourself via self-assessment, find out your weaknesses, and learn from your mistakes.

In fact, this is a great way to study with a friend, as you can mark each other’s paper and take it in turn to teach each other. In this way, you will have fun correcting each other’s mistakes.

5. Find a study buddy

This leads to our next piece of advice, select a friend to revise with. Choose a friend or a classmate who is also preparing for the IGCSE Spanish exam and is willing to team up can help create a supportive learning environment.

Together, you will be able to engage in interactive quizzes, have conversation practice, provide constructive feedback to each other, as well as exchange valuable tips and resources.

6. Connect with native speakers

Also, if you can, practice with Spanish-speaking people, as this will help you expose yourself to authentic language and learn from real-life situations. Apps, such as HelloTalk or Tandem can provide access to these language partners.

You can chat with them, exchange opinions, learn new words, and get to know Spanish culture on a deeper level.

7. Get a tutor

Talking with native speakers is beneficial, but they are not education professionals.

Likely, you can get the best of both worlds – exposure to Spanish and insight into the requirements of IGCSE qualification – with an IGCSE Spanish tutor.

They can help you out when you are stuck. As they are professional teachers they can support you with any aspect of learning a foreign language you’re struggling with (grammar, vocabulary, pronunciation, etc.). They also have the know-how to get you on track for your exams.

8. Practical Tips to Prepare for Reading, Writing, Listening, and Speaking

Now let us share specific strategies for each component of your final assessment. By focusing on these targeted areas, you can refine your skills and maximise your chances of success.

Revision Tips for IGCSE Spanish Reading Component

1. Read Spanish texts outside class

A great way to improve your reading skills as well as get to know different types of texts and vocabulary is to regularly read Spanish content.

It doesn’t have to be boring! There are many things that may interest you – books, magazines, newspapers, blogs, comics, etc. – and they are available in abundance for A2 and B1 levels of Spanish proficiency.

You can also use online resources (Snappy Spanish, Readlang, Kwiziq, just to name a few) to find interesting articles and stories.

2. Don’t panic if you can’t understand something in the text

A common mistake that students tend to make is to stress if they encounter an unfamiliar word or phrase.

However, you don’t need to understand everything in the text to get a high grade. You should rely on your existing knowledge and experience to make judgments.

Also, there are clues throughout the text – titles, pictures, and even the context – that may help you understand the meaning of words you don’t know.

3. Don’t get stuck at the beginning

The reading exam consists of several texts of different lengths and difficulties, starting from shorter and easier ones and progressing to longer and harder ones. You should not spend too much time on the first texts, as they are worth fewer marks, plus you will need more time for the later tasks. If you encounter a difficult question, skip it and move on to the next one. You can then come back to it after you’re done with all other assignments.

  • Aim to express yourself rather than be perfect. While spelling correctly is important, it is not the main focus of the reading exam. Examiners want to see that you understand the texts you’re given and can successfully convey your thoughts. So rather than worrying about possible mistakes, you should concentrate on making your message clear.

Revision Tips for the Writing Component

1. Plan your answers

Before putting your pen to paper, think about what you want to say and how you want to say it. I know this sounds obvious, but you would be surprised how often you can start writing only to end up in a dead end.

You can use a mind map, outline, or bullet points to come up with a good structure.

For example, if your task involves writing an email, it makes sense to structure it like this: subject line, greetings, introduction, detail, questions, and closing.

2. Use a variety of sentence types

To make your writing more dynamic and engaging, ensure to utilise different lengths, structures, as well as functions of sentences, such as statements, questions, commands, exclamations, etc.

Along with that, you should use subordinate clauses, relative clauses, conditional clauses, etc. to create more complex yet natural sentences.

3. Incorporate connective words into your writing

A simple but effective way to impress your examiners is to use connective words.

Words such as tal como (such as), también (also), aunque (although), además (moreover), por lo tanto (therefore), sin embargo (however), etc. can help organise your message in a logical and coherent way.

Make a list of the connective words you like to use in Spanish and learn them by heart. Oftentimes, it is a good idea to learn them within a whole phrase you can use in your writing.

4. Use synonyms to enrich your language

To maximise your marks in the writing component of the IGCSE Spanish, you should avoid repetition.

Instead of writing the same words over and over again, try to learn synonyms for the most common nouns, verbs, and adjectives.

This will show your examiners that you have a wide range of vocabulary and can express yourself in different ways.

5. Leave time to proofread your answers

Before you submit your paper, you need to ensure to check your spelling, grammar, punctuation, and accuracy.

However, you need to make sure you allow time for this. Reserve at least 5 minutes of your exam time to read your answers and correct any errors.

You will be surprised how many marks you can regain by picking up these small errors.

In fact, you can train yourself to do this by making sure you edit and correct small mistakes as you go and do this to all written work before you hand it in.

Revision Tips for IGCSE Spanish Speaking Exam

1. Speak loudly and clearly

You should speak at a normal pace, not too fast or too slow, and articulate your words well. Appropriate intonations and stress are equally important since you want to correctly convey your meaning and emotions.

2. Reply in full sentences

One-word or short answers (sí, no, bien, etc.) won’t demonstrate your range of communication skills.

It is more beneficial to expand your answers with details, examples, and reasons. For example, if you are asked “¿Te gusta el chocolate?” (Do you like chocolate?), you may reply “Sí, me gusta el chocolate porque es delicioso y me hace feliz” (Yes, I like chocolate because it is delicious and it makes me happy).

3. Express your opinion

Adding a personal perspective can show that you’re interested in the topic. Plus, it can engage the examiner when they listen to the recording of your oral exam.

There are many phrases to help you with that: pienso que (I think that), me parece que (it seems to me that), en mi opinión (in my opinion), me molesta que (it annoys me that), creo que (I believe that), etc.

4. Justify your opinions by explaining them

Critical thinking and reasoning skills are important aspects of the entire IGCSE programme, not just the Spanish course.

Your examiners expect you to demonstrate them. So to make your arguments more convincing, you can use words like dado que (given that), ya que (since), por eso (that’s why), etc.

5. Don’t be afraid to ask for clarification

Sometimes, you may not hear a question clearly or you may not understand what it is asking for. In these cases, you should not hesitate to ask for clarification or repetition from your examiner.

Of course, you need to do it in Spanish with the phrases such as “¿Puede repetir la pregunta, por favor?” (Can you repeat the question, please?), “¿Qué quiere decir …?” (What do you mean by …?), or “No entiendo” (I don’t understand). Y

our examiner won’t deduct any marks for that.

On the contrary, your willingness to ask questions can show that you are attentive and able to communicate in Spanish.

Revision Tips for IGCSE Spanish Listening Exam

1. Get access to listening exercises

For many students, the listening exam is the hardest because they are not used to accents, sounds, and the rhythm of the Spanish language.

To train your ears, you can try out listening exercises on various topics.

You’ll be able to find some useful ones on Conjuguemos and BBC Bitesize.

2. Listen to Spanish EVERY day

In a similar way, you can expose yourself to Spanish via music, podcasts, short films, or educational resources.

Do it as often as possible to tune your ears to the sound of Spanish.

Find a way to build it into your daily schedule, you could listen to a podcast while you brush your teeth. It doesn’t matter as long as you do a small amount each day.

3. Give yourself mock listening exams

As we have already mentioned, past papers are an excellent tool to learn assessment format and test your skills.

There are past papers for Listening, too. Why not use these sources to simulate a real-life exam experience?

You can set a timer, play records provided by your exam board, and answer associated questions.

It is an opportunity to test yourself in a stressful situation and find possible gaps in your knowledge.

4. Don’t rush with answers and don’t panic if you can’t hear something

Sometimes, you may not hear or understand something in the recordings, but that’s okay.

You will have a second chance to listen to them and catch what you missed. Make sure to use the time between the recordings to carefully read the questions and think about your answers.

Don’t write down anything until you’re confident in your answer.

5. Don’t leave any questions unanswered

If you still didn’t hear or understand something, just try to make a guess. Your existing knowledge and context of the text can help figure out an answer.

You may get lucky and get it right. It is always worth a try!

Do you need more help?

Revision for your IGCSE Spanish exam doesn’t have to be stressful.

On the contrary, you can make it quite entertaining, let alone effective, with some of the suggestions we outlined above. And here is our final tip – don’t be afraid to call for help if you need it.

You are not alone in this journey; your classmates, fellow students, and teachers can be there for you if you need support and guidance. TutorsPlus is ready to come to the rescue as well!

As IGCSE qualification experts, we have a dedicated team of language tutors who can attend to your learning needs and provide targeted instructions to enhance your preparation. Feel free to reach out to us at +41 022 731 8148 or info@tutorsplus.com. Our resources, insight, and expertise may become your recipe for success.

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