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Spanish - Escuchar algo

The most talked-about part of the Higher was the listening element in which candidates had to write about how organised they were and how they would deal with stress.

Tommy McLaughlin, who teaches Spanish and French at Hamilton's John Ogilvie High, believes some teachers would not have approved of this slightly left-field topic, but he feels differently. While it may have initially thrown some of his pupils, he believes most will have settled and realised that it still allowed them to write about more familiar subjects, such as work, school and family life.

The other part of the listening paper was more straightforward. The conversation between two people was at a manageable speed, there were no unusual accents and no obscure questions. There was no waffle to sift through; everything said related to the questions.

Five of the six advisory bullet points for the long essay, which asked pupils to relay their experiences on a visit to Spain, touched on familiar areas which "any teacher worth their salt" would have covered. The less predictable sixth bullet, asking pupils what opportunities they had had to speak Spanish, should not have been overly taxing, Mr McLaughlin said.

He rated this year's Higher a fair paper with no surprises, and pupil feedback suggested they felt likewise. Questions did not feature any tricky English vocabulary, which had been an obstacle in the past.

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