How to improve your GCSE Spanish listening

How can you improve your GCSE Spanish listening?

This is a common problem for GCSE Spanish students - how to improve your GCSE Spanish listening. And, .... it is not easy to solve.

It is also possible that you have not been doing that much listening in class.

In addition, and to make matters worse, many students find the listening to be the trickiest part of the exam.

Or, it might be a lack of vocabulary.

Perhaps, it could also be that students find that the native speakers are speaking too quickly (especially at the more complex parts of the higher paper).

What's in this article?

In this article, there are 4 steps that you can take now to improve your scores in the listening exam.

The listening part of the exam is worth 25% of the marks - so it is worthwhile scoring as highly as possible in this part of the exam.

So, let’s get going.

The listening tips are in no particular order.

At the bottom of the article, there is an infographic that summarises the tips.

GCSE listening tip number 1 - Make sure you have access to school online listenings

And …. let’s start with the obvious.

Has your teacher given you access to the online listening resources in school?

If you have access - use it.

Set yourself a listening schedule. Follow it.

This is easier said than done, but the more disciplined you are - the better.

If your teacher has not given you access, make a note to yourself to ask. If you have a planner put it in there!

And, if you have lost the details, simply go and ask.

To get you up and running, here are links to some of the common online materials:

1. Kerboodle -


2. Pearson online - 

GCSE Spanish listening tip number 2 - BBC bite-size

The links to this fantastic resource are below.

The site is currently being updated, but is well worth visiting as it will give you useful exam focussed, relevant level material.

There are two levels, so the site is suitable for all pupils.

GCSE listening tip number 3 - Don’t listen too closely

Yes, you did read the line above correctly!

And, indeed, this tip might seem, at first, to be a bit odd.

But once you have got the listening set up (make it as easy as possible - as it might not happen!), try the following.

Just have the listening on in the background, when you are doing something else.

Don’t try and answer any of the questions - just simply have it on.

The reason for this is simple - it will get your ear used to listening to Spanish.

This is absolutely key.


The keys to good GCSE Spanish listening

Moreover, this is especially important in the period before the real exam - there is sometimes quite a gap after leaving school on exam leave and the actual exam. You, therefore, need to keep the Spanish in your ears.

If you do this, it will pay off.

I have seen students freeze in the actual listening public exam, because the last time they listened to any Spanish could have been some six or seven weeks before the actual exam.

Try not let this be you!

GCSE listening tip number 4 - Know your numbers in Spanish

Numbers crop up all the time in Spanish exams.

One important thing, therefore, is to make sure you know your numbers well.

So, you're in an exam, and you know that number has just come up.

But you can't work it out. What number is it?

Rule number one - don't panic….. I know that is easier said than done.

Then concentrate on the number and repeat it in your head. If possible, and time permits, repeat it again.

Examiners’ favourites -

The numbers that examiners do you like are following

60 - sesenta

70 - setenta

500 - quinientos

700 - setecientos

1000 - mil

Since numbers are so common in the exams, perhaps you also might like to use one the following ways of remembering them.

  • Put them on post-it notes
  • Stick the post-it note on the family fridge - you are bound to be asked questions by curious family members as to why they are there. And, more importantly, you will be asked if you can remember the numbers. Under pressure!

Numbers might also come with the following words/phrases around them.

Here are some examples:

  • Más de - more than
  • Menos de - less than
  • Casi - almost
  • Unos - some or about

And, here they are in use.

Más de sesenta - more than sixty

Menos de setenta - less than seventy

Casi quinientos - almost five hundred

Unos setecientos - some or about seven hundred


So there you have it - 4 tips on how to improve your Spanish GCSE listening.

  • GCSE Spanish listening tip number 1 - Make sure you have access to school online listenings
  • GCSE Spanish listening tip number 2 - BBC bite-size
  • GCSE Spanish listening tip number 3 - Don’t listen too closely
  • GCSE Spanish listening tip number 4 - Know your numbers in Spanish

Infographic - 4 ways to improve your GCSE Spanish listening

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