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French GCSE - Getting through it? Watch

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    Hey,

    I'm needing to complete a minimal language GCSE, which turned out to be French.

    Unfortunately, I don't know much French. I can pass coursework pretty easily, since I have the work pre-written and it's just a game of memory, so that's not really hard to pass.

    As far as real exams go, listening, reading, speaking, that sort of stuff, I'm bound to fail. I don't really know much of it.

    So here's GCSE Bitesize GCSE French (Foundation):
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/schools/gcsebit...ch/listeningf/

    I can't even complete that. And I am to do a higher exam, due to predicted grades, requirements for higher study and already achieved grades.

    So basically, I'd have a tremendous amount of catching up to do, right?

    Well:
    1. I'm not sure how to go about that
    2. I'm pretty limited as far as time goes

    So, any advice would be well appreciated.
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    (Original post by Reape)
    Hey,

    I'm needing to complete a minimal language GCSE, which turned out to be French.

    Unfortunately, I don't know much French. I can pass coursework pretty easily, since I have the work pre-written and it's just a game of memory, so that's not really hard to pass.

    As far as real exams go, listening, reading, speaking, that sort of stuff, I'm bound to fail. I don't really know much of it.

    So here's GCSE Bitesize GCSE French (Foundation):
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/schools/gcsebit...ch/listeningf/

    I can't even complete that. And I am to do a higher exam, due to predicted grades, requirements for higher study and already achieved grades.

    So basically, I'd have a tremendous amount of catching up to do, right?

    Well:
    1. I'm not sure how to go about that
    2. I'm pretty limited as far as time goes

    So, any advice would be well appreciated.
    The first thing to resolve is the time. If you really need a pass at GCSE as a requirement for higher studies then you are going to have to set French as one of your priorities and make time for it - you're not going to get anywhere by just doing a few hours or even cram a few days' worth of work just before the exam.

    Learning languages is a steady, progressive process - a bit like building a house. You have to start at the bottom and work up - and everything you do helps build the rest. On the basis that you have a tremendous amount of catching up to do, you need to start at the bottom!

    a) Get to grips with your verbs. They are the basic foundation of communication in French. As a minimum, you need to know the present tense, the passé composé and the imperfect. For a pass at the higher level, you need to add at least the future tense to that. You don't have much time left so you need to be efficient in how you go about this. Obviously you need to know the regular formations, but the most common verbs are actually irregular! So make a point of learning, at least, these tenses for:
    être, avoir, aller, faire, voir, dire, venir, pouvoir, devoir, vouloir, prendre, savoir, connaître and croire. That's only 14 irregular verbs but they are the most useful so it's well worth learning them really well.

    b) Get to grips with vocabulary - first revise all the vocab you've been given by your teacher (or that you find in your work), then go to websites like memrise or quizlet, or look at the vocab lists supplied by your exam board. The classic way of going about learning vocab is the "Write, Look, Cover, Repeat" method. The physical act of writing down words helps you memorise them. Take a piece of paper, draw a vertical line down the middle and write the English word on the left and the French equivalent on the right. Memorise the list, then cover the French side and tick off all the ones you remember. Then repeat until you know them all. It is important to do this several times with each list so that the vocab goes into your long-term memory. Aim at learning some twenty words a day - every day, starting now. It is probably a good idea to make topic-based lists for this so you put together all the vocab you need for your different topics: family, leisure, school, etc although you'll find that there is obviously some overlap.

    c) As you increase your range of vocabulary you'll find that your reading skills improve as well. It is a good idea to synchronise your vocab topics with reading texts on the same topic. You will find your textbook useful here. If you don't have one, go out and buy one! Tricolore is a good series for GCSE.

    d) For the oral exam, you can prepare most of it in advance and learn a lot of it off by heart and regurgitate it on the day - a bit like your coursework. Not ideal, but do-able. It'll get you your pass.

    e) Listening is the trickiest one to prepare for, and also the most time-consuming. You need to try and listen to some French regularly (the BBC website is particularly good, actually, but you can also use the listening resources from your textbook - ask your teacher if you don't have them) - ten minutes at a time is not a bad start, and try to do so every day. Again, as with reading skills, try and synchronise the topics of vocab learning and stuff you listen to - so if you're learning vocab for "leisure", try to listen to items on "leisure" - you'll pick up the vocabulary more easily that way.

    You will need to set aside some time every day but if you can optimise how you use that time you will be able to get there. Organisation is the key!

    Bon courage!
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    I just want to add something; the last reply has great advice so I don't need to say much.
    The listening and reading are going to be the most difficult for you.
    The oral and written can be memorised and although it's not easy, it's doable. Get some help and write some accurate answers to past French papers that you can reuse. The writings usually do not vary their topics often. The same goes for the oral.
    For the listening, I recommend that you listen to French as much as you can in your free time to become more exposed to it. Sometimes it's difficult when you live in another country and hear a foreign language because it's unfamiliar. Get familiar with it, and then try and create a 'vocab book' where you can write new words you learn.
    This should make up for some lost time that you need to catch up on.
    Good luck!
 
 
 
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