The GCSE Listening Exam

For the GCSE listening paper, you’ll listen to various recordings of people speaking in Spanish and answer questions about what you have heard. It will be not a problem, because, in our blog, you will find everything you need to practice your listening skill for the GCSE Spanish exam.

The paper is 45 minutes long (including 5 minutes of reading time) and it is split into two sections.

  • Section A is the longer section -the questions are in English, and you’ll write your answers in English
  • Section B is shorter, but the questions are in Spanish and the answers need to be, too.

To have a better idea of what the exam is about, you can download and practice with a past listening exam. Also, the following tips will help you carry out your GCSE listening exam.

Before the listening

Read through the paper carefully at the start of the test:

  1. Before the recordings begin, you’ll be given five minutes to read through the papers. Use this time to read each question carefully. Some are multiple-choice, and others require you to write some short answers. Make sure you know what each one is asking you to do.
  2. In particular, look at the questions in Section B, which are written in Spanish. Try to work out what the questions mean. We have prepared a list of exam-style Spanish question words and phrases to help you to be prepared for this.
  3. Reading the questions titles, and the questions themselves will give you a good idea of the topics you’ll be asked about. This should help you predict what to listen out for.
  4. You can write on the exam papers, so scribble down anything that might be useful.

While you are listening

  • You’ll hear each audio track twice and then there’ll be a pause for you to write down your answer.
  • While you’re listening, it’s a good idea to jot down a few details -e.g. dates, times, names, or keywords.  But make sure you keep listening while you’re writing down any notes.
  • Listen right to the end, even if you think you’ve got the answer – sometimes the person will change their mind or add an important detail at the end.
  • Don’t worry if you can’t understand every word that’s being said. Just listen carefully both times and try to pick out the vocabulary you need to answer the question.
  • Listen to the speaker’s tone, too – that will hint at their mood, e.g. angry or excited.

After the listening

Don’t leave any questions unanswered, give an answer to every question, even if you are not sure about it. 

If you’ve heard a track twice, and you’re still not sure of the answer, scribble one down anyway, you never know, it might be the right one. You may as well write something sensible just in case. It is worth a shot!