Tag Archives: A* GCSE Spanish


This is the second in a series of blogposts on how to write an A or A* Spanish controlled GCSE written assessment.

If you missed the first one, then click here.

In this blog post I will talk about using a key Spanish verb TENER (to have) idiomatically. Idiomatically is defined in the Collins English dictionary as “linguistic usage that is grammatical and natural to the native speakers of a language.” This is why idioms and idiomatic usage are marked highly by GCSE Spanish examiners.

Accordingly, it makes sense to have a good variety of TENER phrases in your written piece. But how can you do this? One of my maxims is to keep things simple, and with this in mind, I suggest that you introduce two or three TENER phrases into your work.

Here are some examples:-

Tengo … años (I am … years old). Notice in Spanish you are actually saying “I have..years”

Even better though, with additional complexity, try:-

Cuando tenga ….. años – this means “when I am …years old”. For the sharp eyed, you will see that “tengo” has changed to “tenga”. For the grammatically minded, “tenga” is a subjunctive. This grammatical feature is highly prized by the GCSE examiners. Use it! It is easy to get into a flowing and well crafted piece.

Tener has lots of idiomatic usages.

Why not work these into your assessment?

tengo hambre – I am hungry

tengo sed – I am thirsty.

tengo razón – I am right

tengo suerte – I am lucky

A real favourite of examiners is a phrase like “si yo tuviera suerte…” meaning “if I was lucky”. Use it in your assessment. See the glint in the examiners’ eyes!

So – use the verb TENER idiomatically in your Spanish controlled written assessments – it’s one of the keys in getting an A or A*.

Steven French Languages is based in Harpenden, Hertfordshire and specialises in GCSE and A level tuition in both French and Spanish.


How to get the coveted A* in the written Spanish GCSE assessment?

It is worth repeating – how do you get an A* in the written Spanish GCSE assessment?

I am going to write a series of short blog posts to answer this thorny question.

I am tutoring a number of pupils at the moment and they and their parents and guardians are asking this.

Three tips to secure the A* in the Spanish GCSE written assessment.

1. Be well prepared and do what you are asked to do. Write 250 words if you are asked to write 250 words.

2. Structure, structure, structure! If you asked to write using 5 bullet points, answer all of the bullet points. 5 paragraphs at 50 words equals 250 words. Easy to say – but can YOU do it?

3. Keep the work as accurate as you can – follow the language teacher’s mantra. Check verbs (are they in the correct tense and person?), check adjectives (do they agree?), check masculines and feminines (are they right?).

Well, that’s all there is to it! Well…. perhaps not. But the essence is here…lo esencial!

So there you have it – a short blog on the three key points to secure an A* in the Spanish GCSE controlled written assessment.

In the following blog posts, I will get down to the “nitty gritty”.

¡Hasta pronto!

Steven French Languages is based in Harpenden, Hertfordshire and specialises in GCSE and A level tuition in both French and Spanish.