By BAS Editor Robin Wallis
¡Pobres candidatos! What a pain to have no exams.
Okay, you’re not missing the stress of being examined in three or four subjects in May/June. However, as you’d probably admit, preparing for an exam is top-notch mental fitness training, as satisfying in its way as a gym workout. Going into the exam room and nailing it on the day is like, well, scoring a 50 for your cricket team (or even a century, if you get a D1). So not having the chance to do that – it’s tough, on you, and your support team. Especially when you have delved so deeply into your chosen speaking presentation, cultural topic and literary text.
Reading Spanish at university would be a fine way to make up for it…
Meanwhile we hear that on-line classes for the 2021 candidates have been going great guns. At the time of writing it’s not yet clear whether Pre-U 2020 papers will be released for past-paper usage – a nice bonus if they are.
At least we can be confident that exam boards and exam centres will be ready for the 2021 session, even if the dress code for the speaking exams has to be biohazard chic.
The 2021 candidates will be working to the same syllabus as this year, which means one last crack at Bodas de sangre, La tía Julia…, Lazarillo…, etc.
Beyond that, the 2022-4 syllabus takes the 2019-21 innovations a step further. We hear that the thrillers of the Dictadura y el individuo Topic are proving gripping subject matter, while the Cantantes icónicos Topic allows flamenco, one of the greatest expressions of Spanish culture, to be examined for the first time, alongside the best of South American folk and Mexican ranchera.
In the Texts section the short Argentine novel La villa has many of the same qualities that make García Márquez’s Crónica de una muerte anunciada such an ideal work for Sixth Form study. The Sabina lyrics collection offers a fine introduction to the maestro whose Pongamos que hablo de Madrid and ¿Quién me ha robado el mes de abril? became anthems of this year’s pandemic lockdown in Spain.
Our November 2019 edition carried a fuller review of the new options.
Lastly, we send commiserations to those who had great trips planned to the Spanish-speaking world this summer. Those heading abroad to community outreach projects in particular will be missing out on a momentous life experience, and your hosts will sorely miss you. If you’re worried the opportunity might not come round again, let us know and we’ll see what we can coordinate through the Bulletin.
No doubt the summer parlour game for Bulletin readers will be working out how and when it’s safe to get back to the Spanish-speaking world -though as we go to press, the Spanish aren’t sure they’re ready for high-risk Brits crossing their borders. Paciencia y barajar…