The GCSE Reading Exam

The GCSE reading exam is split up into three sections. Make sure you know what you’ll need to do in each one, you have to read the questions and text carefully. It will be impossible for you to answer the questions correctly if you don’t know exactly what you have to do.

How the GCSE Spanish reading exam works

The higher tier reading paper is 1 hour long and has three sections.

  • Section A has questions and answers in English.
  • Section B has questions and answers in Spanish.

In both sections above, you’ll be given a variety of Spanish texts and then asked questions about them.  The texts can include blog posts, emails, newspapers reports, adverts, and literary texts.

Don’t worry, on our blog you will find a large number of reading activities that will help you get ready for your GCSE Spanish exam. You can also download and take a past reading paper to see how it works.

What to do during the reading exam

  1. In sections A and B, scan through the text first to get an idea of what’s is about. Then read the questions that go with it carefully, making sure you understand what information you should be looking out for.
  2. Next, go back through the text. You are not expected to understand every word, so don’t get distracted by trying to work out what everything means, focus on finding the information you need.
  3. Be careful though, you might come across some “false friends”. These are Spanish words that look like an English ones but have a completely different meaning. Here you have some examples of false friends: la nota (mark), el éxito (success), sensible (sensitive), largo (long)… Click on the link for more examples about English-Spanish false friends.

Keep an eye on the time during the exam

  • There are quite a few questions to get through in the reading exam, so you need to work at a good speed.
  • If you’re having trouble with a particular question, you might want to move on and come back to it later.
  • Don’t forget that the last question in the paper (section C) is a translation and worth more marks than any other question, so you should leave plenty of time to tackle it.
  • Make sure you put an answer down for every question, lots of the questions are multiple-choice, so even if you can’t work out the answer, it’s always worth putting down one of the options.
  • Make sure you’re up to speed with the structure of the exam. Don’t forget, the questions in section B will be in Spanish. Don’t panic if you don’t understand them, search for any familiar vocabulary and use any answer lines or boxes to help you guess what you have to do. 
  • Identifying a single word can be the key to answering a question, so don’t forget to work as hard as you can on our vocabulary section.

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