How to Ace your French A-Level Test: Tips and Tricks
Learning a foreign language broadens your horizons and diversifies your career prospects. One of the most popular languages to learn is French because it’s one of the most widely spoken languages – with 29 countries using it as their first or second language.
French is one of those languages that takes time to master, and many students choose it as one of their A-Levels because it can increase their chances of getting into a better university.
So, if you’re one of those students preparing for your French A-Level exams, don’t worry – because we’re about to share some top tips on how to ace your exams.
Let’s dive in.
Preparing For Your Revision
Before you break open the books and start revising, it’s essential to understand how the French A-Level exams are structured. There are four areas that you’ll be tested on, including listening, speaking, reading and writing.
Listening and Responding
The first paper is worth 50% of your overall grade, and it involves listening to spoken paragraphs and then responding to them in writing.
The writing exam evaluates your ability to understand written French and the language’s grammatical rules. The exam counts for 20% of your final grade.
Making up 30% of your final grade, the speaking exam is the one most people dread. During this exam, you’ll have a conversation in French, with a focus on artistic culture or current trends.
How To Revise The Right Way
Now you know what to expect from your exams, you can plan your revision. Everyone has their strengths and weaknesses, so it’s crucial to spend your valuable revision time focusing on your weakest areas.
Refine Your Reading Skills
Reading in French gets harder as you transition from GCSE into A Level study, and you’ll need to be able to digest and translate more complex texts. While you don’t have to read War & Peace in French, you should be able to work with more advanced material.
One way to prepare is by reading French news articles because they’re less intense than books but still enable you to revise effectively.
Focus On Listening
There are plenty of French podcasts for more advanced speakers, and they’re perfect for enhancing your listening skills.
For example, FluentU has a great list of French podcasts, including audio documentaries and cultural themes.
You could also listen to French music while at the gym or turn your streaming system’s audio settings to French.
Revise Your Writing
Writing is more challenging than listening and reading French, but once you have those skills in place, it makes the entire revision experience easier.
If you want to practice your writing, try to keep things simple by writing your diary entries in French or sending emails to a fluent French speaker.
The biggest issue with the writing exam is ensuring you follow the grammatical rules, so it’s worth exploring French tuition to enhance your skills and make sure you pick up on any weak areas in terms of grammar.
The speaking exam is usually the least popular, and many students dread theirs. However, having conversations in French doesn’t have to be daunting – especially when you practice regularly.
Whether that’s a conversation with your private tutor or making friends with a French person and practising conversing in each other’s native language, you can grow your confidence.
Language exchange communities like Tandem are a great way to find people to help you with your French skills, but you have to offer the same in return.
If you’d rather focus on your revision, it’s probably best to get a tutor instead of using the language exchange community.
Tips To Make Revision Easier
While some people embrace revision and jump straight into it, others hate it and go out of their way to avoid it. Here are some ways to make your revision more straightforward and manageable.
Break your work into small goals
To make your revision more manageable, consider breaking up your work into smaller goals that you can complete over time. For example, if you want to revise two hours a day, break that down into four 30-minute sessions instead.
Take regular breaks
It’s also essential to give yourself regular breaks, so you’re not burning out. Studying for long periods without rest will only lead to fatigue and decreased productivity.
Use a revision timetable
If you’re struggling to keep on top of everything, make a revision timetable and stick to it. This will help ensure you’re devoting enough time to each subject and help you stay organised.
Find a study buddy
Another great way to make revision easier is finding a study buddy, such as a friend, classmate or even family member. Having someone to revise with will make the process more fun and motivate you to stay on track.
Focus on areas of improvement
It’s always best to focus on areas of improvement because there’s no point in revising material you already know inside out – you’ll only waste time.
Instead, focus on the areas you find more challenging and look at particular topics that require more attention.
Use mock tests
To get an idea of what to expect on the day of your test, sit a few mock exams. These tests help you understand the exam format and give you an insight into how well you’re likely to do.
It’s also an excellent way to identify any areas that need more work to focus your revision accordingly.
Set yourself rewards
Last but not least, don’t forget to set yourself rewards for completing your goals. The reward can be anything from taking a break to watching your favourite show or going out for ice cream with your friends.
Are You Ready To Ace Your French A-Level?
Nobody likes taking exams, but they’re an essential part of progressing in your studies and chosen career.
By following the tips in this post, you’ll be able to make the most of your revision and approach your French exams with confidence.
If you need any help, please don’t hesitate to contact our private tutors.