nikkoch
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I have just finally decided to do French A-level next year and was wondering if anyone knew any useful websites (other than duolingo or memrise which i already use) to learn french and get back into it before school starts?
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Anna Schoon
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(Original post by nikkoch)
I have just finally decided to do French A-level next year and was wondering if anyone knew any useful websites (other than duolingo or memrise which i already use) to learn french and get back into it before school starts?
Speaking as a teacher of French, I can tell you that the main problem for students beginning their A level courses is grammar. To prepare for la rentrée, I recommend that you do the following:

- make sure you revise / learn your conjugations (regular and irregular verbs) in the present, passé composé, imperfect and future tenses. This is the main thing and is hugely important. If you do just the one thing, do this!
- revise when to use the passé composé and the imperfect
- revise pronouns, particularly reflexive, direct and indirect object pronouns, and where they go in a sentence
- revise the difference between qui and que

Rather than a website, I always recommend this book: http://www.amazon.co.uk/French-Gramm.../dp/095706120X . It's a tad exensive but it will see you through your whole course and it takes you from the very basics (eg. how to identify a subject, direct object, indirect object; what the difference is between an adjective and an adverb) to really advanced stuff that you can use to impress examiners in two years' time. It is not specific to any exam boards; it really concentrates on getting the grammar understood properly.

Of course any work you do in French will be beneficial, and it's brilliant that you're already using duolingo and memrise. Have you thought of perhaps reading a French book? Or otherwise there's Euronews http://fr.euronews.com/infos which has both written and video articles, or the Radio France Internationale webite: http://www.rfi.fr which, again, has written and video / radio articles but also a very useful section, Apprendre le français with a daily news programme en français facile with a transcript.
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hyphen96
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I just finished my A-level French (WJEC, grade B - A in the exam and a C in the speaking because of an anxiety attack) and I am now going to study French at university.

I would recommend the website Quizlet for learning vocabulary - my class would share lists not only from lessons but from books and films, newspapers too. When you need to memorize 120 odd words it can be very helpful.
Other resources I used a lot were wordreference (dictionary plus forum) and linguee (a sort of phrase dictionary - it shows you phrases in situ in larger texts and the corresponding translation). Le Figaro has a resource called le conjugueur which conjugates verbs for you, which is great for unfamiliar irregular verbs.
My more general advice is to read. Read as much as you can, as often as you can. Read books if you like them (Albert Camus is a good place to start) and online papers such as le Figaro and le monde. Listen to the radio, watch French TV and films. If you write a diary try writing some entries in French.

When I get onto my laptop I might post again because I found a grammar revision resource but the link is really specific.
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Babyoleg
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I have a question about French a level:

How hard is the speaking exam? Like do you basically have to be fluent in French?

Will my teacher make me speak french in front of the class?

Is french a bad subject to take if I don't like public speaking
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hyphen96
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The grammar website to which I referred earlier Nikkoch is this: https://www.laits.utexas.edu/fi/vp/
It's great conjugation practice because you can choose not only the tenses into which you are conjugating but also the categories of verbs!


(Original post by Babyoleg)
I have a question about French a level:

How hard is the speaking exam? Like do you basically have to be fluent in French?

Will my teacher make me speak french in front of the class?

Is french a bad subject to take if I don't like public speaking
At A Level, the majority of teachers seem to teach in French. That means that most of the questions they ask you will be in French, and you have to answer in the language. So yes, you would have to speak French in front of your classmates, but the teacher won't necessarily force you to, for example, give a presentation - I'd say it was more likely in a subject such as History which is more conducive to group projects. In the WJEC A2 exam that I did, I had to give a presentation on a French film to the examiner, but that was only one person, and I never had to give it to more than one other person, who then presented their chosen film in turn.
I can only speak from personal experience with the WJEC exams so it may be different for you if you use a different exam board, but they by no means expect you to be fluent. In the first year your spoken French will obviously be a lot less fluent than in the second year, so your level of spoken French when starting can be quite poor and it doesn't matter. By the end of the two years you will be able to hold a good conversation without a lot of trouble, but again, you will by no means be expected to be fluent.

It's difficult to say whether it is necessarily a bad subject to take if you dislike public speaking: I don't like it either, and I managed. Admittedly, my grade was pulled down by a bad speaking exam, but it wasn't too horrendous, and I didn't do everything I could have done to revise and rehearse.

Hope that helped?
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beyknowles2
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(Original post by Babyoleg)
I have a question about French a level:

How hard is the speaking exam? Like do you basically have to be fluent in French?
it's easy. i did no revision or prep this year i just rambled on and i got 57/60 marks so yah

Will my teacher make me speak french in front of the class?
yes..?

Is french a bad subject to take if I don't like public speaking
no..? you'll only have to speak a few times in class (if you're asked a question you could often get away with saying 'je ne sais pas'

i had to stand up infront of the class and read my work (forgot what it was about) and i literally shaked i was so anxious, obviously it's different everywhere but ne t'inquiète pas!! you'll improve so much throughout the year
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nikkoch
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Thanks guys that's really helped 😀 I think personally I find the speaking fairly easy cause you can just get away with more mistakes whereas with writing you need to be very accurate 😕


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Dougieowner
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As other people have said, grammar is key to A Level, particularly at AS where there's a lot of grammar covered. It's perhaps a good idea to go over lots of conjugations (but don't worry initially if you can't remember them all - when you go through them in class you'll quickly pick them up). Before I started AS I was very nervous about grammar because my teacher at GCSE hadn't emphasised it much, but I quickly picked it up and as long as you work hard and practise throughout the year (not just on the week you're learning a particular grammar rule), it's not really a problem and the rules start to become second nature, whether you be speaking or writing.

At the start of the course I bought myself Action Grammaire, which I managed to find second hand on Amazon for a very good price. It covers all the grammar you'll need to know and has useful exercises for when you need to test yourself. Mot a Mot is the vocab version of it, and that's great as well, especially because it's split up into key topics covered at A Level.

(Original post by Babyoleg)
I have a question about French a level:

How hard is the speaking exam? Like do you basically have to be fluent in French?

Will my teacher make me speak french in front of the class?

Is french a bad subject to take if I don't like public speaking
The speaking exam will sound daunting to start with, but the main key to confidence is to practise as much as possible. I practised a lot in class and on my own (just speaking to myself randomly in French about relevant topics), and in the speaking exams I always seemed to do well because of it - I got 58/60 raw marks each year and I'm not even confident speaking in English... Teachers put a lot of emphasis on spontaneity and continuous speaking in French, but by no means does that mean you have to be entirely fluent and no examiner ever expects perfection. In my A2 exam I forgot the word for something, but paraphrased what I meant and the examiner filled me in with the correct word - as long as you can get your point across there's no need to worry about being fluent.

My teacher made us discuss lots of things in class, but I really enjoyed this since it was different to my other A Level subjects and felt more interactive. At first I was scared about speaking French, but these discussions significantly improved my speaking ability and pronunciation and I appreciated being thrown into speaking. Every few weeks we did PowerPoint presentations about topics we were discussing, but these were short and again very helpful in building confidence. Also remember that languages classes tend to be quite small so it's not really intimidating - my class was basically a group of friends so we all felt comfortable talking around each other
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CleverGirl383
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http://french.about.com/ is a great website which explains all aspects of French grammar from the simplest (like basic articles) to the most complicated (e.g subjunctive, relative pronouns que, qui, dont, lequel) with clear explanations and examples in context. Also includes useful features like verb conjugations, mot du jour (word of the day) and the subjunctivator (which you'll find very handy if you continue French to A2 or like to get a head start by learning how to use the French subjunctive which'll get you high marks for "range and idiom" in essays.) This is how I achieved A* in my French A-level.
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