How to improve French listening A-level

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shelly654
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#1
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#1
Hello,I am doing A level french AQA (new spec) and I need some tips on how to improve my listening skills for the writing, reading, listening exam, especially as its worth around 50%, I need to get as good marks as possible). I listen to french podcasts a few times a week and find that I can understand for gist now. I also practise vocab a few times a week.I also do Duolingo so that helps with my grammar and listening.I'm currently at a C grade and want to get to a B grade but I'm finding it difficult to rephrase what is being said, let alone understand it. Like I understand things in parts so I find it hard to form the actual sentence.I would like to get an A but I'm being realistic and lowering my expectations as I've only got 2/3 weeks to go.Does anyone have any tips? I do occassionally listen to the news in french but as it's real time, I find it difficult to catch up and it's quite intimidating.Thanks
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iplcr4
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#2
I’m going the same spec as you what is it specifically that you find hardest with the listening? The vocab or the general meaning of sentences? Cos if it’s vocab, just do as much practise as you can using quizlet or memrise.

The listening exercises aim to catch us out, negatives will be thrown in or sometimes it’ll be a single word that changes the meaning of a sentence. If you don’t already do this, I’d say read the question and possible answers first, and then pause the listening file after every sentence in case you want to cross off any incorrect/tick any correct answers. It can be overwhelming when you listen to everything at once, so I’d say take it sentence by sentence.

My main tips are
- listen for ‘ne’
- look for time phrases ‘derniere’ ‘prochaine’ as they can trick you out
- numbers can also be really confusing - very easy to muddle up 24 and 80
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shelly654
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#3
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(Original post by iplcr4)
I’m going the same spec as you what is it specifically that you find hardest with the listening? The vocab or the general meaning of sentences? Cos if it’s vocab, just do as much practise as you can using quizlet or memrise.

The listening exercises aim to catch us out, negatives will be thrown in or sometimes it’ll be a single word that changes the meaning of a sentence. If you don’t already do this, I’d say read the question and possible answers first, and then pause the listening file after every sentence in case you want to cross off any incorrect/tick any correct answers. It can be overwhelming when you listen to everything at once, so I’d say take it sentence by sentence.

My main tips are
- listen for ‘ne’
- look for time phrases ‘derniere’ ‘prochaine’ as they can trick you out
- numbers can also be really confusing - very easy to muddle up 24 and 80
Thanks, I have noticed that 'ne' phrases catch me out quite often so I will try to listen to it in sentences instead of everything at once.
I am going to try and listen to the track with the answers also, I've tried not to do it in the past because I feel like I am cheating but I think I need to start doing it to help me.

I honestly hate doing vocab because there are so many verbs/nouns for the same thing but they have completely different meanings.
How are you finding the spec if you dont mind me asking? I'm finding it super difficult to keep up because everything is so overwhelming
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JeSuisBaguette
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#4
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#4
This is just what I do regularly to improve my listening. This also helps for speaking as well!

Listening is probably my favourite bit to revise. I like to listen to french radio (This article is excellent for recommending stations based on your learning goal and music taste https://frenchtogether.com/french-radio/). Additionally, I watch a lot of french films and TV shows either with english, french or no subtitles (La Mante and No Second Chance on Netflix are both REALLY good!). I also use the websites TF1 and 6play (there's an app on iPhone/android for it) to watch tv. (The Voice France is incredible and they've just finished broadcasting their 7th series. It's a great way to discover new music too.) I find that anything that helps with listening also helps with the speaking aspect. Also, listening to French music and learning the lyrics to sing along can be a great confidence booster (Here are some useful playlists <https://www.youtube.com/playlist?lis...-eCPVnxXZ3L2o-> <https://www.youtube.com/playlist?lis...vq0uqSN1RRmFol>.
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Someone123123
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#5
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#5
(Original post by shelly654)
I honestly hate doing vocab because there are so many verbs/nouns for the same thing but they have completely different meanings.
This may cause you some problems. You should always strive to improve your vocabulary and add to your knowledge base, otherwise you will simply not understand what is being said. Definitely keep listening to podcasts (or news sources) just so your ear gets used to the language, but you need to keep topping up your vocabulary in the meantime by spending time reading articles etc that the school has provided you with. Use a dictionary when you do this. Good luck
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iplcr4
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#6
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(Original post by shelly654)
Thanks, I have noticed that 'ne' phrases catch me out quite often so I will try to listen to it in sentences instead of everything at once.
I am going to try and listen to the track with the answers also, I've tried not to do it in the past because I feel like I am cheating but I think I need to start doing it to help me.

I honestly hate doing vocab because there are so many verbs/nouns for the same thing but they have completely different meanings.
How are you finding the spec if you dont mind me asking? I'm finding it super difficult to keep up because everything is so overwhelming
I find the spec a bit dull and repetitive to be honest. There’s no real benefit to having all of these topics when the only thing they really matter for is the speaking exam which is done now. I definitely feel lost when it comes to the Reading and Listening exam, as we have no clue what kind of thing will come up. As for the writing exams, I’m not the most worried about them. Which book and film are you doing?
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shelly654
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#7
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#7
(Original post by iplcr4)
I find the spec a bit dull and repetitive to be honest. There’s no real benefit to having all of these topics when the only thing they really matter for is the speaking exam which is done now. I definitely feel lost when it comes to the Reading and Listening exam, as we have no clue what kind of thing will come up. As for the writing exams, I’m not the most worried about them. Which book and film are you doing?
I'm doing L'etranger (the stranger) and La Haine, I find the film easier to do - probably because I'm a film person and am more visual. I find the book difficult because it talks about religion/philosophy, concepts I just can't understand let alone care for. What about you?
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shelly654
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#8
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(Original post by JeSuisBaguette)
This is just what I do regularly to improve my listening. This also helps for speaking as well!

Listening is probably my favourite bit to revise. I like to listen to french radio (This article is excellent for recommending stations based on your learning goal and music taste https://frenchtogether.com/french-radio/). Additionally, I watch a lot of french films and TV shows either with english, french or no subtitles (La Mante and No Second Chance on Netflix are both REALLY good!). I also use the websites TF1 and 6play (there's an app on iPhone/android for it) to watch tv. (The Voice France is incredible and they've just finished broadcasting their 7th series. It's a great way to discover new music too.) I find that anything that helps with listening also helps with the speaking aspect. Also, listening to French music and learning the lyrics to sing along can be a great confidence booster (Here are some useful playlists <https://www.youtube.com/playlist?lis...-eCPVnxXZ3L2o-> <https://www.youtube.com/playlist?lis...vq0uqSN1RRmFol>.
Thanks! I will note these down
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iplcr4
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#9
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#9
(Original post by shelly654)
I'm doing L'etranger (the stranger) and La Haine, I find the film easier to do - probably because I'm a film person and am more visual. I find the book difficult because it talks about religion/philosophy, concepts I just can't understand let alone care for. What about you?
Seems like most people did La Haine - it seems really interesting. I’m doing Au Revoir Les Enfants and Un Sac de Billes. Our teacher cleverly chose the two with the most similar stories - both about Jewish children escaping persecution in the Second World War. I do find them really interesting, just a shame the nature of the spec/exam takes the enjoyment out of reading and stuff
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JeSuisBaguette
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(Original post by iplcr4)
Seems like most people did La Haine - it seems really interesting. I’m doing Au Revoir Les Enfants and Un Sac de Billes. Our teacher cleverly chose the two with the most similar stories - both about Jewish children escaping persecution in the Second World War. I do find them really interesting, just a shame the nature of the spec/exam takes the enjoyment out of reading and stuff
We did La Haine in Yr 12 and then Au Revoir Les Enfants/Un Sac de Billes this year because they had similar themes. However I found it extremely difficult to analyse ARLE so we all went back to La Haine as it was far easier!
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Milk Tea
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(Original post by iplcr4)
Seems like most people did La Haine - it seems really interesting. I’m doing Au Revoir Les Enfants and Un Sac de Billes. Our teacher cleverly chose the two with the most similar stories - both about Jewish children escaping persecution in the Second World War. I do find them really interesting, just a shame the nature of the spec/exam takes the enjoyment out of reading and stuff
(Original post by JeSuisBaguette)
We did La Haine in Yr 12 and then Au Revoir Les Enfants/Un Sac de Billes this year because they had similar themes. However I found it extremely difficult to analyse ARLE so we all went back to La Haine as it was far easier!
Hi guys

I'm doing Au Revoir les Enfants and No et Moi. How are you all revising for these essays? I'm currently doing essay plans/memorising quotes but it's all feeling a bit useless atm. Not really sure what to do :/
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shelly654
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#12
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#12
(Original post by cafebee)
Hi guys

I'm doing Au Revoir les Enfants and No et Moi. How are you all revising for these essays? I'm currently doing essay plans/memorising quotes but it's all feeling a bit useless atm. Not really sure what to do :/
For La Haine, I made character profiles, like their personality and included key quotes and how it related to the film. I made another mindmap on the themes of the film and which scenes/characters are included in the themes. I've done the same with the book. But we are doing different books so it might be a bit different. Also making essay plans for the types of questions that could come up is helpful. Plus look at the markscheme, most answers have to have the basics so that's helpful because you could miss those out, go to the advanced stuff it might not make sense. Sparknotes have quizzes for the book (they do for l'etranger anyway, idk about the others) which are good for revision.

I would include specific quotes which you can expand on to create a good paragraph, kind of like a PEEL paragraph. I've realised short and concise is needed for the essays, obviously with a few complex phrases.
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Milk Tea
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(Original post by shelly654)
For La Haine, I made character profiles, like their personality and included key quotes and how it related to the film. I made another mindmap on the themes of the film and which scenes/characters are included in the themes. I've done the same with the book. But we are doing different books so it might be a bit different. Also making essay plans for the types of questions that could come up is helpful. Plus look at the markscheme, most answers have to have the basics so that's helpful because you could miss those out, go to the advanced stuff it might not make sense. Sparknotes have quizzes for the book (they do for l'etranger anyway, idk about the others) which are good for revision.

I would include specific quotes which you can expand on to create a good paragraph, kind of like a PEEL paragraph. I've realised short and concise is needed for the essays, obviously with a few complex phrases.
Ahh this is so helpful thank you!
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