GCSE : a French writing exam – How to learn it quickly ?

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A few things to know about the GCSE (AQA)

On top of your writing test younwill do in college (collège), you will be graded on your transcript skills, so you need to be able to translate from English to French, you need to show to your examiner at college (collège) that as much as you can.

The student will not know the subject of your speaking or writing test in advance, so you will not have time to prepare it. You will only have 20 minutes just before the exam. If it is a speaking one, it might be a conversation to follow, so the professor will ask you some questions, or it could be a picture that you have to talk about, you have to describe it, and also some questions about it, or it could just be a variety of general questions.

During the reading test you will be asked some questions in French, and you have to answer in French. You are going to have literary extracts, you have to understand and to answer some questions about them. It could be extracts from actual French novels , for your level. You have to be carefull to learn as much as vocab  as you can with synonymes, because some extracts can be very short and not really related to any subject.

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Here are some sentences for the test

J’habite dans la banlieue de Paris, malheureusement c’est petit, pollué et vraiement sale → I live in the suburbs of Paris, unfortunately it is small, polluted and really dirty.

La fumée des usines pollue beaucoup l’atmosphère, donc il fait toujours gris ici → Factory smoke pollutes the atmosphere a lot, so it’s always gray here.

J’habite aussi près d’une gare, ce qui est très buyant, on entend toujours le bruit des trains → I also live near a train station, which is very noisy, you can always hear the noise of the trains.

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Here is an example 

The instructions
« Answer all questions. Write your answers in the spaces provided. Some questions must be answered with a cross in a box. If you change your mind about an answer, put a line through the box, and then mark your new answer with a cross »

The first thing you need to look at is the title « Future plans » and the question. We are going to talk about their own future plans, what they want to do later in life. It is very important that you look at the words suggestions of what these people might be doing.

Future plans
What do these young people want to do ?
Listen to the recording and put a cross in the correct box.  
A be famous
B travel
C be a sporting champion
D work outside
E go to the university
F do a job he/she likes
G help others

 ABCDEFG
Example : Léa       
Maxime       
Estelle       
Benoît       
Marina       

Let us see the example with
A be famous : you need to look at some key words there, if they talk about fame it could be about la célébrité, or maybe they want to be connus
B travel : voyager
C be a sporting champion : champion tha is the same word in French. Maybe they are mentioning a sport, maybe they are talking about judo, football, escalade,…
D work outside : there is the work travailler, maybe à l’extérieur
E go to the university : the French word is université
F do a job he/she likes : you should hear j’aime, j’adore,…
G help others : aider

You should be looking at words you already know.

Student, if you have any concerns about what you should be doing for the next examinations (assessment), how should you do the preparation, ask your examiner. Look online, there are so many websites to get informations about the examinations (assessment). You can make yourself some vocab lists. The main thing is : do not panic ! And everything will be ok if you revise well. Revising will make your confidence growing.

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translation
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Tips for the (AQA) listening exam

-Tip 1 : Take notes : writing key words  
-Tip 2 : Stay positive : do not panic. You are not expected to understand every single word in your listening. If the passages are long or if people are speaking very quickly, there will be probably a lot of redundant language going on. Concentrate on what you do understand. The passage might be difficult but the questions might be very easy.
-Tip 3 :use grammar : use your knowledge of grammar (an important part of your base in the French language). It is important to know if someone is talking about the past or the future, if someone is using a negative or a positive opinion  it is very important that you are looking at some key words.
-Tip 4 : use your knowledge about France, about French speaking country. For example, if you hear people mentioning la N7 or la N255 (which are famous motorways in France), maybe they are actually talking about roads. -Tip 5 : listen to the tone :  Do not just listen to words, the tone of the person might actually help you a lot to understand their opinion or their mood. So if he is really hungry you will hear it in the tone of his voice, even if you do not understand what he is saying. That is a big clue. The intonation of someone’s voice as well might tell you if they are making a statement or if they are asking a question.
-Tip 6 : be clear : If you have to right some answers in French be as clear as possible, write as many details as you can. Remember that your are going to penalized for some mistakes, so be very carefull when you write. Confidence !

In order to having a good preparation, have a look at a variety of resources (with transcript), to build up good foundation

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Thank you for reading this article !
Thomas 😀

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