IGCSE Spanish is the option taken by most home-educators now, but options widen from summer 2018 exams.
The current A*-G GCSE Spanish (last exams summer 2017) involves controlled assessment and so is not practical for most private candidates.
The new 9-1 GCSE languages with exams from summer 2018 will follow the format of the IGCSEs, with a speaking assessment which is recorded and sent to the exam board. This means that it should, in theory, be an option for external candidates. As with the IGCSE, you would need to get the centre to agree to do your oral exam. However, as they may be doing it for their own candidates, it might be easier to get schools to agree to take you on as an external candidate.
International GCSE / IGCSE Spanish Edit
IGCSE Spanish is currently offered by Edexcel, CIE and AQA. There is still a compulsory spoken element in IGCSE Spanish with all boards, and it can be difficult to find an exam centre which will offer this. Private tutorial college exam centres are the ones which are most likely to offer such assessment. You MUST confirm that you have an exam centre prepared to do the speaking test, as most centres will not do this for external candidates. Do not assume that an exam centre which takes candidates for written tests knows about this as, until 2013, the oral exams were optional for IGCSE.
AQA Certificate IGCSEEdit
First examination in Summer 2014. Available to private candidates but as with the others, includes a compulsory speaking assessment. Last sitting in Summer 2017 as AQA are discontinuing their Certificates.
Edexcel International GCSE SpanishEdit
Past papers and resources from the Legacy 2009 specification will still be useful.
Note that the Edexcel Certificate is basically the same qualification as the International GCSE, but marketed for UK state schools and approved for their use by OFQUAL. As a private candidate it does not matter which you take, as it will not affect the school's results either way and there is no reason to suppose that the Certificate will be regarded any differently from the IGCSE.
Comments from HE-Exams groupEdit
We did the Edexcel IGCSE this year. It's quite straightforward, but you will need to find a center that will facilitate the oral exam. In reality, this will probably be somewhere that is already entering students for it themselves, or a language school.
I quite like the format of the papers, and there are many more available than the current specification shows (the legacy spec is close enough to use the old papers). Once you start practicing the essays, they are not so daunting as you'd first think.
The book (blue cover, dancing lady) is fine. It's a good all round resource covering lots of topics BUT it is useless without the CD's and teachers guide. We really didn't want to pay the high price for the guide and CD's and tried for a while without, but in the end we had to bite the bullet and buy them. We also tried to get second hand ones and spent a year with Spanish on hold whilst I tried, but in the end we paid full price.
The book is very closely linked to the exam, and the topics are spot on.
The exam essays...not as frightening as it would appear. If you learn a couple of subjects thoroughly, then you'd be unlucky if at least one of them didn't come up for either the short or long essay.
Our essay writing came together quite well in just the last few weeks of prep before the exam. Suddenly as you approach the end of the book, it all starts to fall in to place a bit better.
Word of warning though...the book is intensive. For us (complete beginners with just holiday Spanish) There was NO WAY it could be completely done in what time we allow for an IGCSE subject (3-4 hours a week) and would have needed A LOT of hours to do everything within it. We skipped loads and tried to just at least touch on each subject, but that's because Spanish isn't important in our 'big scheme' and DS was just getting the box ticked (hopefully!)
I think if you covered every single page and excercise in the book, you would be very, very good at Spanish at the end.
A-level Spanish Edit
Edexcel offer an oral exam service for A-level Spanish, so that you can sit the written papers at a local exam centre but then attend their London Orals Centre for the speaking test. This is only available for A-levels. Here is an extract from their information for exam centres on A-level language orals, which you can show to your examinations officer:
"If there is no teacher at your school to conduct an oral exam, it is possible to enter candidates for GCE orals with a Pearson Edexcel examiner in London. This service is only offered for Russian, Italian, German, Spanish and Urdu. More information is given on page 7 of the 2015 GCE French, German, Spanish, Italian, Russian and Urdu Administrative support guide."
Edexcel IGCSE Spanish Past Papers and Listening Files also from John Witney - old listening files are like gold dust, so save these while they're available!
Comprehension Sheets Escuela bloguera: FICHAS LECTURA COMPRENSIVA 3°
Pearson ActiveLearn - an online subscription service to provide homework practice and support, targeted on the UK National Curriculum - IGCSE languages are very close to GCSE so syllabus-specific for home educators. Has been highly recommended for languages on the HE Exams yahoogroup. Offers frequently come up on Groupon etc.. for a year's access for around £40.
DuoLingo - Free interactive site, good for a few European languages - also available as iPad and Android apps. Includes lessons, tests, and a competitive and optional social element. Great for teaching you exact spellings and accents. Really good fun. As well as completing exercises and gaining points, you can help to translate the web via a crowdsourcing project. Intended for adults and intended for general use, not for exams.
Busuu - Interactive site and language learning community - can put you in touch with other learners to practise together.
Conversation Exchange -Pairs you with another learner who wants to learn, say, English - you can meet, Skype, email etc.. to practise.
Zut! - Interactive language site, free outside school hours. Covers French, German, Welsh and Spanish.
Memrise -Vocabulary building using fun mnemonics techniques in a game-like format. Covers many languages. “A world memory champion and a neuroscientist have joined forces to create a language-learning website called Memrise, which combines mnemonic tricks with a game to help users learn quickly and efficiently”
Quizlet Spanish IGCSE - Vocabulary flashcards targeting IGCSE-level Spanish. For more options, try wider search terms eg 'GCSE Spanish'.
BBC Languages - Courses in a number of languages, all free online.
Online Tutors via SkypeEdit
There are various online tutor sites where you can get one-to-one tuition over Skype, usually cheaper than face-to-face. eg see [The Tutor Crowd]