gcsehelp1
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Hi, I really need some help.I'm in year 10 at the moment and I'm about to become year 11 and I am taking French for GCSE and I'm hoping that I will be doing the higher paper. Generally, I'm pretty good at french and I enjoy it. In my last exams I did quite well in my listening, reading and writing but I didn't do well in speaking at all compared to the rest of my class when I got 24/36, but to be honest I wasn't suprised because even in the exam I thought it went really badly anyway. I think I struggle with my confidence as well. I put a lot of pressure on myself to get it right first time and I just don't want to embarrass myself. I am just so bad at
pronunciation and I don't know why. I'd just like to be able to talk in french well with naturalism and fluency. I can't go to my teacher because I am really scared of her and I've tried to talk to her before and she just made me feel bad about myself. So I was just wondering if anyone has any advice for me and how to improve my speaking and my confidence within it. Thank you
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username4146906
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First of all, time is on your side. What you need to do is write answers to all the given speaking questions. Make them complex and get them marked by your teacher so you know they’re perfect. Then learn all of them. This will improve you confidence massively. Then, after all of that, work on pronunciation. This will all take ages and you probably won’t get it finished until February but if you follow this plan and do a proper job then you should get an A* in the speaking as it is really just a memory test at GCSE
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JoeyTanaka
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I apologise in advance for the long read.

Having done the speaking exam for Edexcel last year, the most important thing to remember is to keep it simple. Many people, including myself, believe that you need to include everything like all three tenses, comparatives, opinions, subjunctive etc.

It's not that important! Yes, you should try to include them but you need to be accurate. It would be far better to play it safe and get it very accurate than gamble with some super fancy phrase and completely botch it.

From what I read, you remind me of my friend from my French class (There was only 7 of us.) who wouldn't say any French word because she was terrified of making a mistake. The ironic thing was that she was actually incredible in her pronunciation. You just have to build the confidence to do it. Unfortunately, the only way you can effectively do that is by practicing constantly. It gets monotonous but it pays off.

If it's pronunciation that you struggle with, use websites like memrise or quizlet which have audio from native speakers. It really helps with words that sound completely different from what they look like.

One final tip from me is when you are in the exam, stall for time. It actually gets you marks! By asking to repeat the question for instance (in French!) it is considered a recovery strategy and will allow you to access higher marks. Don't overdo it though - 2/3 times throughout the entire exam is plenty enough.

Olly also has good advice that I'm going to quickly echo: Plan your responses (where possible) in advance. Just be careful to not get yourself in a panic in the exam when trying to remember what you put. The examiner will assess you on what you say not what you miss out.

Additionally, 24/36 is a great score for where you are right now! (No-one in my class dreamed of getting that by the start of year 11.) Do you do the Edexcel exam? If so, I could give you some advice for each part of it?

I hope this helps & good luck with your studies next year!
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gcsehelp1
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(Original post by OllyB14)
First of all, time is on your side. What you need to do is write answers to all the given speaking questions. Make them complex and get them marked by your teacher so you know they’re perfect. Then learn all of them. This will improve you confidence massively. Then, after all of that, work on pronunciation. This will all take ages and you probably won’t get it finished until February but if you follow this plan and do a proper job then you should get an A* in the speaking as it is really just a memory test at GCSE
Thank you so much for your advice! With the speaking questions we're half way through module 5 (holidays and tourism) and I'll be honest I haven't learnt any of them. With a total of 80 questions it feels like an impossible task but throughout this summer I'm going to try really hard to work to improve my speaking but my only issue is that I have another 7 subjects I have to do well in and it's just a struggle to cope with all of it. Do you have any advice on how to remember vocab and verb endings?
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gcsehelp1
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(Original post by JoeyTanaka)
I apologise in advance for the long read.

Having done the speaking exam for Edexcel last year, the most important thing to remember is to keep it simple. Many people, including myself, believe that you need to include everything like all three tenses, comparatives, opinions, subjunctive etc.

It's not that important! Yes, you should try to include them but you need to be accurate. It would be far better to play it safe and get it very accurate than gamble with some super fancy phrase and completely botch it.

From what I read, you remind me of my friend from my French class (There was only 7 of us.) who wouldn't say any French word because she was terrified of making a mistake. The ironic thing was that she was actually incredible in her pronunciation. You just have to build the confidence to do it. Unfortunately, the only way you can effectively do that is by practicing constantly. It gets monotonous but it pays off.

If it's pronunciation that you struggle with, use websites like memrise or quizlet which have audio from native speakers. It really helps with words that sound completely different from what they look like.

One final tip from me is when you are in the exam, stall for time. It actually gets you marks! By asking to repeat the question for instance (in French!) it is considered a recovery strategy and will allow you to access higher marks. Don't overdo it though - 2/3 times throughout the entire exam is plenty enough.

Olly also has good advice that I'm going to quickly echo: Plan your responses (where possible) in advance. Just be careful to not get yourself in a panic in the exam when trying to remember what you put. The examiner will assess you on what you say not what you miss out.

Additionally, 24/36 is a great score for where you are right now! (No-one in my class dreamed of getting that by the start of year 11.) Do you do the Edexcel exam? If so, I could give you some advice for each part of it?

I hope this helps & good luck with your studies next year!
Thank you so much for all of this, it's really helped me and I really appreciate you helping me. Yes, I'm doing the Edexcel exam and I would love some advice on that. I am going to try really hard to make it better over summerand to improve on my confidence. I m in a class of 14 people but the thing is they're all so good at speaking french so I guess that's even more pressre for me. I am going to check out memrise and quizlet. My target grade is a 7 and I'd really like to achieve it. I was just wondering if you have any advice on how to remember verb endings and rules and also I'm not sure if you'd know but how many tenses there are in French? That might sound really stupid but I think it would be good if I was aware of them. Thank you so much again
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JoeyTanaka
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(Original post by gcsehelp1)
Thank you so much for all of this, it's really helped me and I really appreciate you helping me. Yes, I'm doing the Edexcel exam and I would love some advice on that. I am going to try really hard to make it better over summerand to improve on my confidence. I m in a class of 14 people but the thing is they're all so good at speaking french so I guess that's even more pressre for me. I am going to check out memrise and quizlet. My target grade is a 7 and I'd really like to achieve it. I was just wondering if you have any advice on how to remember verb endings and rules and also I'm not sure if you'd know but how many tenses there are in French? That might sound really stupid but I think it would be good if I was aware of them. Thank you so much again
No worries, glad I was of some help.

Firstly, a small piece of advice for each part of the exam:

Preparation time: 12 minutes is a surprisingly long amount of time. Use it wisely. You can only write on one side of a4 paper so bear that in mind. You also cannot write in full sentences. Make sure you give yourself plenty of time to plan your vocab for the photocard. 24 marks is a large amount so you'll want to be prepared.

Role Play: It is two marks per bullet point so don't panic about it. If you panic on a bullet point, it's only two marks so clear your mind and move on. You are only being judged on your ability to get the point across. It doesn't matter how complex you are so keep it simple and natural. You are guaranteed to have to ask at least one question so make sure you can form a question with the question words.

Photocard: Now you can start to show off to the examiner. Start by introducing what you can see in the picture for example: Sur la photo, il y a... This helps to guide the examiner through your response. Then with each bullet point after that, you'll be asked questions "related" to the photo and the last question will be a surprise question. During your preparation time consider possible questions that you could be asked.

General Conversation: Now without your notes, you'll give your rehearsed presentation on the topic you chose. This is where you should be most confident as the content is up to you. This is the key part where you want to nail all of your tenses, opinions, complex structures etc. If you can't think of something to say, come up with something you can say in French, then expand by saying what you think of it, then say why you think that. (It's just like a writing question in essence.)

Then you'll be asked a series of questions based on the topic you just did your presentation on and one other. Listen for key bits of information: what is the question talking about? (Your opinion on social media, a description of your family, work experience you've done. Work out what vocab you need to use!) Then listen for the tense you need.

Throughout the whole exam: RELAX! It is just you and the teacher. If you make a mistake, just keep calm and correct it. If you are unhappy with the whole response, move on. You may find that you got the point across well enough. Ensure that you prioritise your responses to a) Be accurate --> b) Get the point across --> c) Sound natural. These are the three most important things for your exam.

Next, to answer your questions:

How to remember verb endings: For the regular verbs we used to have a chant that we used to recite whenever we got stuck. For example, with -er verbs: "-e, -es, -e... -ons, -ez, -ent" It never leaves your head... :afraid:

Just how many tenses are there?! The simple answer is four: present, past, future and conditional. Conditional being anything that you would like to do in the future. (Conditional and future are quite similar.) Unfortunately, If you break it down, there are actually six tenses. :banghead:
You have the present, perfect tense, imperfect tense, near (or simple) future tense, the future tense and conditional.

Present is self explanatory, perfect is something that happened in the past and no longer happens. (In other words, it has finished.) Example - "I read a book." Imperfect is something that is still happening. Example - "I was reading a book." Near future is something that will happen very soon. Example - "I am going to read a book." Future is something that will happen at some point in the future. There is no indication that it will happen soon. Example - "I will read a book." Finally, conditional is something that you would like to do in the future. Example - "I would like to read a book."

I hope that this helps and I apologise by making you endure death by reading... :bricks:

Good luck for next year!
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username4146906
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(Original post by gcsehelp1)
Thank you so much for your advice! With the speaking questions we're half way through module 5 (holidays and tourism) and I'll be honest I haven't learnt any of them. With a total of 80 questions it feels like an impossible task but throughout this summer I'm going to try really hard to work to improve my speaking but my only issue is that I have another 7 subjects I have to do well in and it's just a struggle to cope with all of it. Do you have any advice on how to remember vocab and verb endings?
Yes, learning them is a huge challenge but remember that it isn’t hard, it’s just time-consuming. Aim to learn 5 answers a day (not yet, closer to the exam) and it’ll be less daunting. Verb endings are easy to learn, just do loads of grammar exercises to drill them into your memory. With vocab, again you just have to slowly chip away at it, aim to do a bit of vocab learning every single day and you’ll be fine
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username4162760
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I study French at uni and I still struggle with speaking exams, the main thing is trying not to panic when ur in the exam. For mine, I’d just pretend i’m Talking with friends or the french assistant to relax me.

Obvs what ur saying in French is important but also how u say it is important too. My A-level French teacher said it’s best to go slow so that they can understand u plus u won’t be asked any extra questions which can catch u out

One thing I will say is that speaking exams r not a true indicator of ur spking ability, I may not be amazing at exams but I know I can have a conversation with a friend/stranger and be confident

Hope this helps
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