Department of Spanish and Portuguese

Modern & Medieval Languages

Department of Spanish and Portuguese

Portuguese Language Papers in Part IA

Option A (ab initio)

See also: General advice on studying Portuguese ab initio.

The Part IA examination itself will consist of:

  • PG A1: Use of Portuguese
  • PG A2: Translation
  • PG A3: Introduction to Lusophone literature


The ab initio course is designed to take you from scratch (or GCSE) to A-level standard in the space of eight months (October-May). The course is, therefore, very intensive.

Students start Portuguese with a wide range of linguistic ability, from absolute zero (except that you should have made a start over the summer before coming) to those who have GCSE or have lived and travelled in Portugal or Latin America for an extended period of time.

You attend two language classes per week which take you through the major points of the grammar and syntax of Portuguese, while in a weekly supervision you will practise writing in Portuguese from day one. The language supervision is complemented by a weekly oral supervision with a native speaker, and both of these supervisions will take you through a graded series of topics designed to place language in context (for example, 'Smoking', 'Euthanasia', 'the Environment', etc.). From the beginning of the second term (Lent), the language supervision will alternate fortnightly with a literature supervision designed to introduce you to advanced reading in the language and to the literature of Portugal and Latin America. All Portuguese supervisions are centrally organised by the Department, with the approval of the relevant college.