elysiagayzetta
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I'm in year 12 and I'm studying French AS, and am hoping to achieve an A* or A at A2 in it. I'm secure with reading and speaking, but is there any advice anyone has to help me with the exam essay writing aspect of it. Finding it really difficult to know what to learn for it
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username996695
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Getting a hang of the technique is really important for the writing section. There's often key aspects that the examiners are always looking for (use of the subjunctive is one if you're doing AS). Best way is to do lots of past papers really but as far as learning goes, it's about vocab and learning complex structures that you can then put into any essay regardless of the exact topic, your textbook should have examples of these sorts of structures, usually in the grammar section. Stepping up from GCSE to A level you also need to remember that they will be much harsher on basic errors like adjective agreements.
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SP1995
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Hi, I'm currently studying French A2 (AQA) and gained 97% in my AS. For the essay the most important thing is content, we were told to have 10 distinct points and to get impressive structures into our essays like the passive and the subjunctive. Feel free to ask for more advice it's a really great A level!
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elysiagayzetta
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(Original post by PLTH)
Getting a hang of the technique is really important for the writing section. There's often key aspects that the examiners are always looking for (use of the subjunctive is one if you're doing AS). Best way is to do lots of past papers really but as far as learning goes, it's about vocab and learning complex structures that you can then put into any essay regardless of the exact topic, your textbook should have examples of these sorts of structures, usually in the grammar section. Stepping up from GCSE to A level you also need to remember that they will be much harsher on basic errors like adjective agreements.
Wow thankyou so much this is really helpful it is really difficult with the whole harsh aspect because that was always something I was bad at GCSE, I got a* in the end but only because I just memorised massive chunks haha


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elysiagayzetta
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(Original post by SP1995)
Hi, I'm currently studying French A2 (AQA) and gained 97% in my AS. For the essay the most important thing is content, we were told to have 10 distinct points and to get impressive structures into our essays like the passive and the subjunctive. Feel free to ask for more advice it's a really great A level!
Oh wow! How did you get 97%?! How exactly did you structure your essay then in terms of paragraphing I'm so awful at that! Also what exactly is the subjunctive and could you give me some examples because I missed that lesson and it's hard trying to teach yourself it! You'll regret offering help now i won't stop asking hahaha


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username996695
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(Original post by elysiagayzetta)
Wow thankyou so much this is really helpful it is really difficult with the whole harsh aspect because that was always something I was bad at GCSE, I got a* in the end but only because I just memorised massive chunks haha


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Haha yeah I was like that for German you might find you need to refresh your memory on certain things from gcse but seeing as you've learnt it once already it shouldn't be too difficult
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SP1995
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(Original post by elysiagayzetta)
Oh wow! How did you get 97%?! How exactly did you structure your essay then in terms of paragraphing I'm so awful at that! Also what exactly is the subjunctive and could you give me some examples because I missed that lesson and it's hard trying to teach yourself it! You'll regret offering help now i won't stop asking hahaha


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Lol it's fine! I'm not actually sure! I guess I had great teachers, worked hard throughout the year and love French generally. For essay structure, I did a two line intro, usually stating whether or not I agreed with the question. Then 10 five/six line paragraphs with a distinct point in each, then a quick conclusion. Mm I am not great at grammar or explaining but the subjunctive tense is used to express doubt/uncertainty...this website is really useful: http://www.languagesonline.org.uk/ Go to French -> AS Resources -> Subjunctive Mood
And you can find lots of examples here: http://french.about.com/od/grammar/ss/subjunctive.htm
There are quite a few phrases that have to be followed by the subjunctive, for example bien que (although) eg Bien qu'il soit stupide, je l'aime - Although he is stupid, I love him.
To find out which phrases take the subjunctive, this 'subjunctivator' is really useful: http://french.about.com/library/verb...unctivator.htm
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qwertyuiop1993
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(Original post by SP1995)
Lol it's fine! I'm not actually sure! I guess I had great teachers, worked hard throughout the year and love French generally. For essay structure, I did a two line intro, usually stating whether or not I agreed with the question. Then 10 five/six line paragraphs with a distinct point in each, then a quick conclusion. Mm I am not great at grammar or explaining but the subjunctive tense is used to express doubt/uncertainty...this website is really useful: http://www.languagesonline.org.uk/ Go to French -> AS Resources -> Subjunctive Mood
And you can find lots of examples here: http://french.about.com/od/grammar/ss/subjunctive.htm
There are quite a few phrases that have to be followed by the subjunctive, for example bien que (although) eg Bien qu'il soit stupide, je l'aime - Although he is stupid, I love him.
To find out which phrases take the subjunctive, this 'subjunctivator' is really useful: http://french.about.com/library/verb...unctivator.htm
Careful, the subjunctive isn't a tense, it's a mood (tense deals with locating an action in time, a mood refers to how verbs reflect how a speaker feels about what they are saying). Also, being really nitpicky here but most of the time the subjunctive doesn't really 'express' doubt or uncertainty but is, among other things, a sort of automatic grammatical marker in contexts where doubt is introduced by the main clause e.g. 'je doute qu'il soit malade' - the expression of doubt comes from the main verb douter, with the subjunctive 'agreeing' with the doubt in the verb. Indeed, in such contexts you can't use the indicative so it's not as if by using the subjunctive you are 'adding' doubt' to the sentence. Moving away from the notion that the intrinsic nature of the subjunctive is to express doubt might help to alleviate any confusion as to why in many other contexts there is no doubt involved at all e.g. "Bien qu'il soit malade, il est toujours de bonne humeur"... "Je suis content qu'elle soit venue me voir".

OP, the book Mot à Mot is pretty good for A level essay vocabulary. If you combine vocab learning with good grasp of grammar you should be fine: I'd recommend getting a good grammar book: I've heard this one is good: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Essential-Fr.../dp/095706120X

This is a good online resource for essay phrases: http://www.realfrench.net/pdf/essay.pdf

A word of warning though, a lot of people get too enthusiastic in using 'high level' phrases to the extent that they jam a convoluted subjunctive phrase in at every turn etc. You should aim to strike a good balance between 'advanced' phrases and maintaining an idiomatic style.

Finally, getting an A* at A level is also all about doing everything the specification asks you to do: e.g. in Edexcel essays a huge proportion of the marks are actually for structure and not language, so make sure you look carefully at what the examiners want, whatever exam board you're on - I know native speakers who missed out on the A* grade because they didn't pay attention to things like that.
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