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The listening section of the Intermediate 2 paper was fair and clear, said Gill Murray, Spanish course manager at St Aloysius College in Glasgow. The writing paper, asking candidates to apply for a job as a waiter or waitress, was also straightforward.

However, the reading paper was testing, and weaker candidates might have struggled, she said. "Normally, there are a few questions which are more obvious and they find them straightforward, but I didn't find any easy marks."

St Aloysius does Spanish as a crash course - two years instead of four - so dictionaries are vital, said Mrs Murray.

The reading paper is made up of three short extracts from newspapers and a fourth longer one: "Candidates would have spent a lot of time looking in their dictionaries for questions 1-3 and might not have got on to question 4, which was very long."

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