GCSE Russian Edit

The specification usually offered is Edexcel GCSE Russian, which has no coursework, but does have speaking and listening assessments.There is also a Short Course GCSE in Russian, where you take only the Reading and Writing papers.  This is a GCSE-level of difficulty but half the content.  It would demonstrate ability in a language but might not satisfy college requirements for a full GCSE. for the full GCSE.

Edexcel GCSE Russian page 

The full GCSE has four assessments:  

  1. Listening and Understanding 
  2. Speaking  
  3. Reading and Understanding 
  4. Writing 

Listening Assessment Edit

A recording is sent to the centre, available as a CD and a download. There is a written paper and students have 5 minutes to read the paper before the track starts. There are pre-recorded pauses and each section is played twice.

Source: Edexcel administrative information for centres

Speaking Assessment Edit

For the Speaking Assessment, a teacher or tutor who can speak the language is needed. They do not have to mark the assessment, but simply ask questions and have a conversation with the candidate, and record it. The recording is sent off to Edexcel for marking.

Edexcel administrative information for centres contains lots of information - the elements which are also of interest to the candidates are copied below, but do look at the original document if you want more guidance.

Extract from Edexcel Information for Centres Edit

Centres must conduct the tests between 07 March and 15 May 2014. (DATES FOR 2015 NOT YET AVAILABLE BUT LIKELY TO BE SIMILAR)

Centres are expected to timetable all speaking tests in any one language on the same day or where numbers are large on consecutive days.

All tests and registers are to be despatched to examiners no later than 15 May 2014.

Structure and Timing of Tests

Students must undertake two separate speaking tasks, each linked to one or more of the prescribed themes:

Media, travel and culture

Sport, leisure and work

Students must include both of the following task types:

Picture-based discussion OR presentation with follow up questions

Students must engage in a discussion related to a picture (or other visual) that they have chosen or give a presentation (1-2 minutes maximum). They then respond to a series of linked follow-up questions and answers. Teachers should ensure that they ask questions which are sufficiently challenging to maximise student performance. However, it is important that teachers do not inform students in advance about the specific questions that they intend to use in the live assessments and do not rehearse specific individual assessments.

General conversation This enables students to demonstrate they can present information and give opinions as well as interact effectively with another target language speaker. Students must be given an opportunity to respond to unpredictable language and it is, therefore, important that teachers do not prepare a specific list of questions with their students in advance.

Accommodation As quiet a room as possible is required for the tests.

Only one candidate is to be examined at a time. Normally, no other person other than the teacher conducting the test and the candidate should be present in the examination room.


  • Candidates may choose, if they wish, to give a brief introduction to

their chosen theme for the general conversation in order to make a confident start. However, candidates must demonstrate the ability to 13 interact with the examiner and should not merely deliver a pre-learnt monologue. The length of the introduction will depend on the ability of the students. However, in no circumstances should it exceed two minutes.

  • Candidates may bring into the examination room brief notes

(A5 sheet of paper with bulleted notes – 30 words maximum and up to five small drawings on an A5 sheet of paper) Any notes are a prompt only and should not be read out.

  • Candidates should be discouraged from preparing in advance lists of

question and answers in a predetermined order. Such cases are usually obvious to the examiner and may result in adverse marking.

  • Each task should last approximately 4-5 minutes. Teacher-examiners

should ensure that this timing is adhered to as the examiner will not credit anything after the 5 minute mark has passed.

  • If a question is not understood after one repetition/rephrasing move on

to another question - further attempts may just confuse or discourage the candidate. Try to link questions. Listen carefully to the candidate's answers and relate subsequent questions to the information acquired.

  • Never correct a candidate's language, however inaccurate, during a test.


Reading and Responding Assessment Edit

Use blue or black ink. No dictionaries are allowed in this exam.

Source: Edexcel administrative information for centres

Writing Assessment Edit

You are required to use blue or black ink.

Bilingual dictionaries are permitted.

Source: Edexcel administrative information for centres

How do I find an exam centre for the Speaking Assessment? Edit

Contact Edexcel, who may be able to help. They have a database of centres which accept external candidates online, but this doesn't tell you which ones will take candidates for Speaking Assessments specifically. However, Edexcel should hold this information as, when a school registers its own candidates for this exam, they ask it to specify if it will also accept private candidates.

If there are no schools near you which offer GCSE Russian and will accept you for the Speaking Assessment, you can bring in your own tutor to do the Speaking Assessment. This should not require too much effort on the part of the school but you are likely to need to do some persuading to get them to consider the idea.

Another exam centre option would be to travel to London, where Campbell Harris in Kensington or Pascal's College in Beckenham offer oral exams for GCSE foreign languages.  You would need to locate a Russian tutor who would go to the exam centre to do the speaking assessment.

Alternative Qualification: TRKIEdit

TRKI (Test of Russian as a Foreign Language), offered by The Russian Language Centre in London

Their website states:

"TRKI (Test of Russian as a Foreign Language) is the Russian state qualification of Russian as a foreign language. Through an agreement with Moscow State University, these tests can be taken at the Russian Language Centre at 6 different levels. We are planning to run the exams for the sixth year during the summer of 2015, from the 6th -9th of July.

In addition to our own students, RLC welcomes applications for the exams from external candidates. RLC is currently the only testing centre in the UK that offers the TRKI exams to external candidates.

The closing date for registration for the TRKI test will be 31 May 2015."