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10 Tips for Mastering the Spanish GCSE Photo Card Assessment

Updated: Aug 25, 2020

The photo card element of the Spanish GCSE speaking assessment doesn't need to be a cause for worry. By focusing on learning some simple phrases and techniques you can feel well prepared whatever photo appears in your assessment. Read on for some tips and techniques to help with your revision.


1. ¿Qué hay en la foto?


The first thing you'll be asked in the photo card assessment is: "¿qué hay en la foto?". This means "what is there in the photo?". Learning a few phrases that can you can use to start your answer to this question will help you feel more prepared. These include:


Se puede ver.... You can see....

En la foto.... In the photo...

Veo... I see...

Hay... There is....


2. Learn how to describe different sections of the photo


By learning these phrases, you'll be able to be more specific about the photograph and describe different sections of it.


En primer plano… In the foreground

Al fondo.. In the background

A la izquierda.. To the left

A la derecha.. To the right

Cerca de.. Close to

Delante de.. In front of


3. Make sure you are confident describing the weather in Spanish


Learn a few simple phrases to describe the weather. This will help throughout your GCSE, but could be particularly helpful for describing the scene in a photo.


Hace sol It’s sunny

Hace buen tiempo It’s nice weather

Hace mal tiempo It’s bad weather

Está lloviendo It’s raining

Está nublado It’s cloudy



4. Describe what you see

Photo by Edi Libedinsky on Unsplash


Concentrate on learning a few simple words to describe who or what is in the photo. You may not have the vocabulary to say what you would say in English but you can still provide a straightforward answer by learning a few words ahead of the test.


Un hombre A man

Una mujer A woman

Unas personas Some people

Mucha gente Lots of people

Unos edificios Some buildings

Unos árboles Some trees

Una escena de… A scene of


Click here for more tips on how to improve your Spanish vocabulary.


5. Expand on your initial observation.


You have correctly identified who or what is in the picture. What next? Expand on what you have said by describing the location of the scene or the mood of those in the photo.


Parece… He/she seems

Contento/a(s) Happy

Triste(s) Sad

Cansado/a(s) Tired

Enfadado/a(s) Angry


Está(n)... They are

... en el colegio ... in school

... en un restaurante ... in a restaurant

... en casa ... at home

... en el trabajo ... at work

... de vacaciones ... on holiday


6. Memorise some set phrases to describe what people are doing


Conjugating Spanish verbs can be a cause for worry. Make things simpler by using these phrases to describe the people you see in the photo.


Está(n) hablando

He/she (They) is (are) talking


Está(n) discutiendo

He/she (They) is (are) arguing


Está(n) sonriendo

He/she (They) is (are) smiling


Está(n) riendo

He/she (They) is (are) laughing


Está(n) trabajando

He/she (They) is (are) working


Está(n) jugando

He/she (They) is (are) playing

7. Include your opinion


Saying what you think about the photo is an important way to show off your Spanish. For top marks try to give your opinion whenever you answer a question. When you state your opinion also try to explain why you hold this view. You can use the phrases below to start your sentences.


Creo que… I think that...

Pienso que… I think that…

Me parece que It seems to me that..

Me recuerda a… It reminds me of…


Photo by Steve Johnson on Unsplash


8. Keep things clear and simple


Don't worry about trying to memorise tons of vocabulary or complex phrases. Instead, make sure you know the phrases that you do learn really well. This will help you feel more confident and you are less likely to trip up with mistakes. The aim would be to give three different pieces on information to provide a full answer to each question. Saying a few phrases confidently, accurately and clearly is recipe for success.


9. Use the information you have in the photo to preempt the questions you may be asked


After you describe the photo, you will be asked more questions relating to the topic that the photograph depicts. For instance, if the photograph is of two people shopping, you may be asked to describe when you last went to the shops, or what your opinion is of online shopping. Use some of your preparation time to think about what you might be asked. This way you can feel more prepared when it comes to answering the questions.


10. Look after yourself!


Revising for exams can feel stressful. Make sure you regularly take time out from revision to do things that help you feel sane. Talk to friends, family, or teachers, if you are finding things hard. Don't be afraid to ask questions, however small!


Photo by Siora Photography on Unsplash



I hope you have found these tips helpful. Just learning a few simple phrases and becoming very familiar with them can make all the difference in your Spanish speaking assessment. In addition, once your exams are over, you'll have the tools to be able to speak to Spanish speakers all over the world! For more tips on revising for Spanish GCSE click here


Hi, I am Karen. I am a languages tutor and blogger. I offer online tuition for students across the UK. I live in Tonbridge, in Kent, with my husband and my son. For me learning Spanish has meant fun, adventure, friendship and fulfilling work. I love sharing all that I have learnt with my students and via my blog. If you would like to receive 10% off your first online lesson, as well as regular updates and tips for learning Spanish, subscribe here.



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