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A-Level Russian

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Why study Russian?

Exam board and specification codes: Edexcel AS 8RU01; Edexcel A2 9RU01

Above and beyond the clear advantages that knowledge of a second foreign
language offers, such as increased self-confidence, and honed communication and
interpersonal skills, the study of Russian is an intellectual challenge. It gives learners
a unique ability that affords a wealth of interesting and exciting opportunities in the

What is covered by the course?


The AS course covers four general topic areas:

  • Youth culture and concerns
  • Lifestyle – health and fitness
  • The world around us – travel, tourism, environmental issues and the Russian-
  • speaking world
  • Education and employment

Students learn to understand, manipulate and produce both the written and spoken


The A2 course consolidates the knowledge and language skills acquired during the
AS course and extends students’ linguistic ability by studying three further topics:

  • Customs, traditions, beliefs and religions
  • National and international events: past, present and future
  • Literature and the arts

In addition to increased linguistic competence, the course develops students’ ability
to source and interpret a range of resources, to sort and analyse information, and to
structure and present opinions and arguments.

How is it examined?

Unit 1 – Spoken exam (8-10mins)

Students select one topic from the list of general topic areas which make up the
content of the course. Students answer four Edexcel-set questions on a stimulus
and then engage in discussion with the teacher-examiner related to the same topic
area and its connected subtopics.

Unit 2 – Written exam (2hrs 30mins)

This comprises listening, reading and writing components. Students respond to
authentic Russian-language materials to answer comprehension questions and also
produce an extended piece of writing in response to a set stimulus.

Unit 3 – Spoken exam (11-13mins)

Students select and prepare a topical issue for debate with the teacher examiner.
Students research their topic using authentic Russian language materials in order to
present their arguments using the appropriate subject- and language-specific
terminology and structures. Students are then expected to defend their position in a
debate with the teacher-examiner and finally engage in further, spontaneous
discussion of two unpredictable topics.

Unit 4 – Written exam (2hrs 30mins)

Students complete three tasks: a short English-to- Russian translation, a discursive
or creative composition and a research-based essay. Students choose one area of
Russian culture to research and write about from the following list of topic areas:
geographical region, historical study, literature and the arts, modern society.

Related university courses and careers

Russian A-Level can lead to a variety of degree courses including Russian/Slavonic
Studies, Politics/International Relations, English Literature, Economics, Philosophy,
Art History and History.

Potential future careers for students studying Russian include academia, arts and
culture, broadcasting and journalism, business and management, charity and
development, defence, diplomacy and politics, education, finance and banking, law,
oil/gas and translation/interpreting.

Suggested reading

'A Comprehensive Russian Grammar and Workbook' by Terence Wade and David

'Ruslan Russian 3: A Communicative Russian Course' by John Langran

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