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Tips to get an A in A Level French

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    I am taking French at A2 this year, and I was wondering if anyone had any tips on how I can really aim for the top grades.

    I got a B at AS (1 mark from an A!), but I really need to get an A in my A Level to get into the unis I'm applying for (except my ABB insurance choice).

    All advice appreciated
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    (Original post by CatusStarbright)
    I am taking French at A2 this year, and I was wondering if anyone had any tips on how I can really aim for the top grades.

    I got a B at AS (1 mark from an A!), but I really need to get an A in my A Level to get into the unis I'm applying for (except my ABB insurance choice).

    All advice appreciated
    For a top grade at A level you need to demonstrate a good grasp of grammar and a wide range of vocabulary.

    Grammar:

    Use a wide range of tenses in all your work (oral and written) - particularly tenses where the use in English and French is different such as:
    - si clauses
    - tenses with depuis
    - tenses in reported speech
    - the subjunctive
    - the "hidden" future (after expressions of time)

    Also:
    - use the more advanced pronouns correctly. These include the personal pronouns y and en; relative pronouns like ce qui / ce que; dont; demonstrative pronouns celui/celle/ceux/celles.

    - use negative structures with your verbs - not just ne...pas , but particularly using rien, jamais, personne, aucun as these are trickier.

    - use the more difficult adjectives and adverbs like meilleur / mieux; mauvais / mal.- try and use inversions correctly - either ask rhetorical questions, or use conjunctions like à peine which trigger an inversion.

    - use the passive voice.

    And try and make your work as accurate as you can: check your agreements of adjectives and past participles (watch out for preceding direct objects); check your verb conjugations; make sure you've got your use of gender for any one noun at least consistent throughout your essay; use du, de la, des and de correctly; make sure you do your reflexive verbs right.

    For grammar practice I always recommend this book which has really good explanations and a huge amount of exercises. The answer section is particularly good as it has further explanations and links back to the main text so that, if you've made a mistake, you can work out whereyou went wrong.http://www.amazon.co.uk/French-Gramm.../dp/095706120X

    Vocabulary:

    Make sure you know your topic-related specialist vocabulary, that is really important.

    On top of that, you need to use a range of connectives (eg tout d'abord, par conséquent, etc.) to link your ideas together. Try not to repeat the same expressions all the time (things like il y a; c'est une bonne/mauvaise idée; un grand problème). Examiners are also looking for good idiomatic use of the language so you need to a good lot of idiomatic expressions to use appropriately for the context you're in.

    Best book for this: Mot à mot: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Mot-Fifth-A.../dp/1444110004

    Other general comments

    Your oral exam is important and you need to get as much practice speaking French as you possibly can. If your school has a French assistant, use him/her! It's a great help if you can organise a daily session with classmates by, for example, agreeing you will speak only French together over lunch every day. Even at 15 minutes a day, that's over an hour a week extra practice!

    Try to get as much "contact time" with the language as you can. French films are wonderful for this; but you can also switch your social media language settings to French, watch lots of French YouTube videos, make a cake from a French cookery book, etc. The possibilities are pretty endless and the internet is a fantastic resource.

    Bon courage! and let us know how you get on.
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    (Original post by Anna Schoon)
    For a top grade at A level you need to demonstrate a good grasp of grammar and a wide range of vocabulary.

    Grammar:

    Use a wide range of tenses in all your work (oral and written) - particularly tenses where the use in English and French is different such as:
    - si clauses
    - tenses with depuis
    - tenses in reported speech
    - the subjunctive
    - the "hidden" future (after expressions of time)

    Also:
    - use the more advanced pronouns correctly. These include the personal pronouns y and en; relative pronouns like ce qui / ce que; dont; demonstrative pronouns celui/celle/ceux/celles.

    - use negative structures with your verbs - not just ne...pas , but particularly using rien, jamais, personne, aucun as these are trickier.

    - use the more difficult adjectives and adverbs like meilleur / mieux; mauvais / mal.- try and use inversions correctly - either ask rhetorical questions, or use conjunctions like à peine which trigger an inversion.

    - use the passive voice.

    And try and make your work as accurate as you can: check your agreements of adjectives and past participles (watch out for preceding direct objects); check your verb conjugations; make sure you've got your use of gender for any one noun at least consistent throughout your essay; use du, de la, des and de correctly; make sure you do your reflexive verbs right.

    For grammar practice I always recommend this book which has really good explanations and a huge amount of exercises. The answer section is particularly good as it has further explanations and links back to the main text so that, if you've made a mistake, you can work out whereyou went wrong.http://www.amazon.co.uk/French-Gramm.../dp/095706120X

    Vocabulary:

    Make sure you know your topic-related specialist vocabulary, that is really important.

    On top of that, you need to use a range of connectives (eg tout d'abord, par conséquent, etc.) to link your ideas together. Try not to repeat the same expressions all the time (things like il y a; c'est une bonne/mauvaise idée; un grand problème). Examiners are also looking for good idiomatic use of the language so you need to a good lot of idiomatic expressions to use appropriately for the context you're in.

    Best book for this: Mot à mot: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Mot-Fifth-A.../dp/1444110004

    Other general comments

    Your oral exam is important and you need to get as much practice speaking French as you possibly can. If your school has a French assistant, use him/her! It's a great help if you can organise a daily session with classmates by, for example, agreeing you will speak only French together over lunch every day. Even at 15 minutes a day, that's over an hour a week extra practice!

    Try to get as much "contact time" with the language as you can. French films are wonderful for this; but you can also switch your social media language settings to French, watch lots of French YouTube videos, make a cake from a French cookery book, etc. The possibilities are pretty endless and the internet is a fantastic resource.

    Bon courage! and let us know how you get on.
    Thank you very much for the comprehensive advice!

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