Russian is currently taught to Sixth Form girls and boys at Monmouth School for Boys.

Why study Russian A level?

Russia is the largest country in the world, spanning eleven time zones. Russian is one of the six official languages of the UN and is spoken by around 166 million people. Russia, a member of G20 and the Council of Europe, is an important but often difficult to understand country; studying Russian provides an insight into modern day life there, as well as developing a distinctive linguistic ability.

Russian literature, philosophy, music, art and history are world famous: Tolstoy, Shostakovich, Solzhenitsyn, Dostoevsky and many other famous artists are all renowned for being important thinkers of our time. The history of the Russian revolution and the Cold War is often taught as part of GCSE and A level History courses, and these will be studied in the context of learning the language in contemporary Russia. Students also study the beguiling cities of Moscow and St Petersburg and there is the chance to visit those cities with the school.

All students start the language from scratch in the Sixth Form, and complete an accelerated GCSE course in the first year of study. The A level course is taught in the second year. The study of Russian is a demanding and fascinating experience. It is looked on favourably by universities, and is especially relevant for those linguists looking to start another language from scratch at university. Potential employers include business, law, the military, the intelligence services and government.

Head of Department: Mrs L Parsons 


Course content

Board:  Edexcel   A level syllabus code:  9RUO

The course draws on a variety of sources: e.g. textbooks, authentic material including websites and music.

GCSE topics

  • Identity and culture
  • Holidays and travel
  • School
  • Future aspirations
  • International and global issues.

A level topics

  • The development of Russian society: health, education, work, equal rights.
  • Political and artistic culture in the Russian-speaking world: the media, music, dance, festivals and traditions.
  • Moscow or St Petersburg: changes in a major Russian city, population change, social problems including homelessness, crime and environmental issues.
  • The last years of the USSR – Gorbachov (1985 – 1991) Perestroika, economic change, Glasnost, problems for the USSR pre-1991, the August coup and the fall of the Soviet Union.
  • In addition, you will study one film and one text.
Method of assessment

Paper 1 – Listening, reading and translation: 2 hours   80 marks (40% of A level)
Listening and reading comprehensions.
Translation: Russian into English.

Paper 2 – Writing: 2 hours 40 minutes  120 marks (30% of A level)
Translation: English into Russian
Two essays: one on film and one on literature.

Paper 3 – Oral: 21-23 minutes  72 marks (30% of A level)
Discussion on a theme from the specification, independent research presentation and discussion on the research project