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    So, I LOVE LOVE French! I love learning it, but I'm not confident speaking French in public.
    I did my speaking exam and got a C, but my writing and listening results I'm going to get in August, but I think my exam went really well so I'm hoping I got an A or A*.
    So, I'm great at comprehension and recognising words, but not so much putting together sentences and communicating in French.

    I originally wanted to do A Level French, but my sister persuaded me not to, and said she found it really hard, and I'm just wondering what French A Level involves and if I'll struggle, based on what my strengths and weaknesses are.

    Thanks!
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    Don't do it!
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    (Original post by Distraction)
    Don't do it!
    No, don't listen to them, do it! :evil:

    I'm doing French A-Level, and although the gap between French at GCSE and French at A-Level is huge, if you're adaptable you won't find it so bad.
    I wasn't very confident at speaking in French either, but I found that I developed that confidence as I progressed through the course.

    In short, the French A-Level consists of:

    • Reading comprehension
    • Essay writing
    • Listening skills
    • Grammar and vocabulary learning (lots of it!)
    • Vocabulary learning
    • Topic based study/discussion
    • Exams :thumbdown:

    So it's the same as GCSE, just a bit harder.

    Since you're good at comprehension, vocab etc. I think you'll be fine, but bear in mind that there is an oral exam at the end of the year which is very different to most of the GCSE oral examinations. I think as long as you work as hard as you can on your oral skills throughout the year, you'll be fine.

    If you have a passion for French then I would say do it because I really enjoyed my AS course and intend to continue to A2 next year.
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    (Original post by mxliss)
    I'm doing French A-Level, and although the gap between French at GCSE and French at A-Level is huge
    This is true, there is a lot of extra vocab you need to learn and the speaking exams put more pressure on your knowledge as there are a large number of questions, meaning that relying on memorization alone isn't an option.

    Learning the new tenses was quite interesting and if you don't take it you may regret it. You may as well take it for AS and then you can always drop it if you are struggling with it at the end of the first year.
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    (Original post by mxliss)
    No, don't listen to them, do it! :evil:

    I'm doing French A-Level, and although the gap between French at GCSE and French at A-Level is huge, if you're adaptable you won't find it so bad.
    I wasn't very confident at speaking in French either, but I found that I developed that confidence as I progressed through the course.

    In short, the French A-Level consists of:

    • Reading comprehension
    • Essay writing
    • Listening skills
    • Grammar and vocabulary learning (lots of it!)
    • Vocabulary learning
    • Topic based study/discussion
    • Exams :thumbdown:

    So it's the same as GCSE, just a bit harder.

    Since you're good at comprehension, vocab etc. I think you'll be fine, but bear in mind that there is an oral exam at the end of the year which is very different to most of the GCSE oral examinations. I think as long as you work as hard as you can on your oral skills throughout the year, you'll be fine.

    If you have a passion for French then I would say do it because I really enjoyed my AS course and intend to continue to A2 next year.
    That's another thing, is that the reason I'm so unconfident at making sentences in French is because I never learnt much grammar in my school, so I'm great at learning vocab, but not grammar!
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    I'd suggest trying to make some french penpals, or skype pals if that exists? I don't know. Cheaper then going all the way over there for a few weeks. But i do recommend going to France in your lifetime, it's beaut!
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    Hey. My teacher told me that an A* in GCSE French is about as difficult to achieve as a C in AS, meaning depending on how well you do in Year 12, you'd be predicted a B/A at AS (A is the highest grade). I can get you started with some of the grammar if you want- although I've only got an A* GCSE my French teacher kept telling me to simplify my work as it was equivalent to A Level standard as he wasn't sure the examiners would be able to understand - especially since so they use checklists and don't actually mark your piece as a whole. I think the thing with speaking is that at GCSE it's little more than a memory test and who can make it seem the least rehearsed. Try immersing yourself more (test out your skills in France, read the newspapers and listen to audio in French) and a little bit at a time develop speaking conversationally if only a few sentences to increase your confidence: that's the key!
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    (Original post by Distraction)
    This is true, there is a lot of extra vocab you need to learn and the speaking exams put more pressure on your knowledge as there are a large number of questions, meaning that relying on memorization alone isn't an option.

    Learning the new tenses was quite interesting and if you don't take it you may regret it. You may as well take it for AS and then you can always drop it if you are struggling with it at the end of the first year.
    Agree with the speaking exam point there.
    Although you can plan it to a certain extent, the questions are completely unknown, so you'll probably have to 'improvise' a little.

    (Original post by fuglycorn)
    That's another thing, is that the reason I'm so unconfident at making sentences in French is because I never learnt much grammar in my school, so I'm great at learning vocab, but not grammar!
    Oh right I see. Well there are a few things I can suggest.
    You could study some of the grammar that your school might have left out over summer.
    Or you could buy the AS French book you'll be using in advance (if you know what it's called) and study it during summer so that you at least have a vague idea of what kind of sentence structures, tenses etc. they'll be asking you to form.

    Are you switching school for A-Level?
    If so I'm sure they'll fill you in on some of the grammar your not so familiar or confident with anyway, so I wouldn't worry too much about it
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    I LOVE the language SO much! I listen to French songs all the time. French is such a beautiful language when you hear it spoken properly. Sounds much nicer from a female IMO.

    As for French A level... Well I had OCR and my other subjects were Maths, Further maths and Physics so I'm not big on writing essays and all that written work. Every time I sat down to do homework or revision for French I just got bored within 5 minutes. It's one thing to love the language - a whole different thing to learn it from a book. Just long tedious boring exercises that seem so pointless.

    If you love French, just read books and watch French films with subtitles in your spare time. You'll have way more fun, and you'll probably learn it faster than answering questions about some hidden pieces of information in a long boring text, that even if it was in English you'd have trouble finding the answer. Sometimes they have pointless exercises asking you to find the translations of 10 words. How's random 10 words going to help?!

    If you do choose to take French then focus on making big vocab lists and learning the words off one by one instead of wasting time trying to do some pointless exercises. Only do the listening ones and the essay questions. The rest are a waste of time. I recommend learning about 20 new words every day. Because honestly - any less and you're too likely to come across some word you don't know in the exam and it might lose you a lot of marks. Also buy a book called "Bescherelle complete guide to conjugating 12,000 french verbs". Learn 30 verbs per day and you'll know them all within a year. That's basically what you need to do to get an A* if you're doing OCR and you're not a French native speaker already. Of course I was too lazy to do all that so now I'm expecting nothing more than a D or E grade in my French A level. And I'm not stupid or something. I got an A* in Maths, and on track for getting that in Further too.

    In summary, don't do it. But if you do, then take my advice. Good luck.
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    (Original post by PhysicsKid)
    Try immersing yourself more (test out your skills in France, read the newspapers and listen to audio in French) and a little bit at a time develop speaking conversationally if only a few sentences to increase your confidence: that's the key!
    I am definitely up for that as I enjoy watching French films and testing my understanding of them! And my sister also enjoys French so we could try (!) to have conversations with each other in French! :L
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    (Original post by Dragonrage973)
    If you love French, just read books and watch French films with subtitles in your spare time. You'll have way more fun, and you'll probably learn it faster than answering questions about some hidden pieces of information in a long boring text, that even if it was in English you'd have trouble finding the answer. Sometimes they have pointless exercises asking you to find the translations of 10 words. How's random 10 words going to help?!
    That seems like some good advice!
    At the start, I had intended to do Art, Eng Lit, French and Graphics/Business Studies, but then I dropped Business Studies, and was discouraged to do French, so changed to Art, Graphics, English Lit and Classical Civilisation (as well as GCSE Mandarin as if I haven't misunderstood, it seems I'm allowed to do an additional subject if it is a GCSE subject) and now I couldn't possibly decide on what subject to drop!

    So learning in my free time is probably what I might end up doing, though I'm attempting that with Russian and the hardest thing is finding time to do it!
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    (Original post by fuglycorn)
    That seems like some good advice!
    At the start, I had intended to do Art, Eng Lit, French and Graphics/Business Studies, but then I dropped Business Studies, and was discouraged to do French, so changed to Art, Graphics, English Lit and Classical Civilisation (as well as GCSE Mandarin as if I haven't misunderstood, it seems I'm allowed to do an additional subject if it is a GCSE subject) and now I couldn't possibly decide on what subject to drop!

    So learning in my free time is probably what I might end up doing, though I'm attempting that with Russian and the hardest thing is finding time to do it!
    I've never actually heard of Classical Civilisation but it sounds interesting...
    In my opinion, if you're doing 4 A levels then you'll hardly have time to learn 1 language, let alone two.
    I might have misunderstood, but are you doing Art, Eng Lit, Graphics and Classical Civilisations for AS and then drop one for A2? You won't need to decide what to drop until you get your AS results back, and then you can just take away the one with the worst grade.
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    Just because your sister found it difficult, does not mean necessarily that you're going to struggle. :L I think if you have an interest in it, then it's good at least to have a stab at. It is harder, but in my experience the learning curve starts at a level where they don't expect you to know much past GCSE, which frankly is just rote learning and groping around in the dark a bit for quite a lot of it. Then it gets stepper throughout the year, but provided that you keep on top of it, it is a good challenge rather than a losing battle. However, it's not a subject you can study in the last month before the exam in a 'revision sesh'. It is a subject that you need to revise constantly to improve your grammar and accuracy and vocabulary retention in order to succeed, and also constant oral practice is required. If you have confidence issues with oral, that's pretty normal. I mean, this is your second language, so they don't expect you to be chest puffed in your exam. (although thats a significant help, even if it is fake!) but the effort must be made to overcome it, and if your school has an assistant, ATTEND EVERY WEEK WITHOUT FAIL. They are invaluable.

    It sounds to me like this'll be a great challenge to you, at least for AS, and thus I think you ought to take a stab at it and stick at it. of course if you're really not happy with it, then you can just drop it either at the start of the year or after AS to concentrate on A2s. But I think you ought to give it a shot, to show yourself whether or not you're truly capable. However, it really is a subject you have to love. If you end up not liking it, it will grate on you and you'll resent it with all your being (but I'm sure that won't happen )

    And if you can do Russian, then you can do French! Russian scares the hell out of me when I look at it (in an intrigued way, I must add ), and French doesn't quite get me in such a tizz. So yeah, I think if you're capable at doing Russian, French won't be so bad.

    Bonne chance!
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    I absolutely love French. My mother speaks French, I watch French telly, listen to French radio... it's obviously a big part of both my heritage and my life. However, I STILL found A Level French very hard. The jump from GCSE to A Level is massive, and so I would definitely recommend brushing up on simple grammar rules during the summer, as I really wish I'd done this. So, whilst it is undeniably an incredibly challenging A Level, I really enjoyed it and would definitely recommend it - if you're prepared to work really hard. I am predicted an A/A* in it overall, and I think second year was probably easier than the first, as it's a big jump. So prepare yourself, and if it's what you enjoy doing - go for it!
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    If you really enjoy it then do it, I'd say that languages provide some of the greatest satisfaction when you do well. Be prepared for 2 years of hell though, and don't say we didn't warn you.
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    (Original post by Dragonrage973)
    I've never actually heard of Classical Civilisation but it sounds interesting...
    In my opinion, if you're doing 4 A levels then you'll hardly have time to learn 1 language, let alone two.
    I might have misunderstood, but are you doing Art, Eng Lit, Graphics and Classical Civilisations for AS and then drop one for A2? You won't need to decide what to drop until you get your AS results back, and then you can just take away the one with the worst grade.
    Yeah, I'm planning on dropping maybe English or Classical Civilisation, since Art and Graphics are my intended career routes, but I will wait until my results to decide just in case I get any nasty surprises ;o

    And I know It'd be really hard with an additional language, which is why I'm feeling a bit apprehensive about doing GCSE Mandarin, but I know I'd regret not taking the opportunity up, since I could have done it for GCSE along with my other GCSE subjects and I chose not to (and ended up regretting it!).
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    (Original post by constantmeowage)
    However, it's not a subject you can study in the last month before the exam in a 'revision sesh'. It is a subject that you need to revise constantly to improve your grammar and accuracy and vocabulary retention in order to succeed, and also constant oral practice is required. If you have confidence issues with oral, that's pretty normal.
    The problem with me is that I'm an incredibly lazy home learner. I get As and Bs in most of my exams with pretty much no regular revision and maybe a few hours the day before the exam.
    With subjects that I enjoy like French or English, I'll revise in my own time, but only until I get bored, and just for fun.
    I know it's problem, and a LOT of people have told me that I can't get away with doing that in A Level, which I believe. I will definitely make the effort to stop being so lazy and careless about it, but I think that what you've just said proves that maybe French A Level is a bit too big of a jump, and maybe I'm placing too much faith in my optimistic attitude. :P
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    The thing you must know about French is that, more so than for any other subject, you really have to enjoy it. Those who enjoy it will do amazingly compared to those who don't. Therefore, I would highly recommend it to you as you clearly have a genuine passion for it.

    This is because skills in French can't be crammed in study leave or the last month or two, you have to constantly be reading and listening to newspapers, the radio, Channel 799 on Sky etc. You really do get rewarded for going the extra mile, which is something only those who are really passionate do.

    This mean you slowly pick up the grammar and vocabulary and you get a feel for how the language works. This is crucial to success in French A Level. Whereas with my other subjects (Further Maths and Economics) I felt I did loads of work at the end and was quite stressed during exam season, I knew I would do well in French because I was confident in the skills I had picked up throughout the year and I had already put in the hard yards. This relaxed feeling is a real bonus during exam season.

    I was in a similar position, I got really nervous and got a low B in my speaking but worked really hard and aced the rest. I got an A* at GCSE and now I'm (hopefully) on course for a good grade at AS. If you have any queries etc. feel free to ask

    Bonne chance!
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    (Original post by fuglycorn)
    The problem with me is that I'm an incredibly lazy home learner. I get As and Bs in most of my exams with pretty much no regular revision and maybe a few hours the day before the exam.
    With subjects that I enjoy like French or English, I'll revise in my own time, but only until I get bored, and just for fun.
    I know it's problem, and a LOT of people have told me that I can't get away with doing that in A Level, which I believe. I will definitely make the effort to stop being so lazy and careless about it, but I think that what you've just said proves that maybe French A Level is a bit too big of a jump, and maybe I'm placing too much faith in my optimistic attitude. :P
    Well, it's your call, but I think you should give it at least a small trial. And then if it's s***ty, then swap A Levels whilst it's still September. However, if you think that it's a waste of time, then don't do it. One word of warning - A Level in general is something that really you should be revising throughout anyway, and they're right, you can't get away with not revising after GCSE. It's a shame you won't get January exams anymore, those tend to be the biggest wake up calls! (Although in languages, you don't get January exams, just an oral and a written exam in May :L). French isn't really any different in terms of amount of workload per se, it's more a much different way of studying. But if you think that you're disciplined enough, then your mind looks made up - I would say though that the challenge is worth taking on if you really want to commit, it's very rewarding when you finally click and you understand or make yourself understood accurately.
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    Thanks everyone! I think what I'll do is buy French A Level textbooks and learn from home

    You've all given me some really well balanced and reasoned answers!
 
 
 
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