heldbygrace
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I’ve chosen French to go along with Biology and Chemistry for my A-levels. (Current Year 11) Unfortunately no one at my school does french in sixth form, and there was no uptake at all for MFL in the current year 12, so I don’t really have anyone to ask. How hard is it? What can I do to prepare myself before I start year 12? Do you have any film/Netflix recommendations for programs in French? Do you feel you will be/are (if you’ve finished a-levels) fluent in French?
Thanks!!
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hannahbidd
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Hi,
French A - level was difficult for me to start with as my secondary school that I did GCSEs at isn't great at MFL teaching. One thing that I can say is important is to make sure you have a decent understanding of how to form the perfect, imperfect, simple future, "i will tense" eg: j'irai and conditional tenses. You may also want to have a basic understanding of the pluperfect tense. You will also want to make sure you know all of the rules for regular -ir, -re and -er verbs and how to conjugate them including also the most commonly used irregular verbs. I definitely do not feel that I will be fluent by the end of my A-level as that is the purpose of university course; i do feel that I'd be able to hold, reasonably well, a conversation with a French person but if you're looking for fluency then uni is the place to work on that. Hope this helps a bit
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lavoj002
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Hi I did A level bio chem maths and french so quite similar to you choices. I would say to get a good grade in french be as curious as you can. You'll find in bio and chem theres a spec with exact things you need to learn but in French you don't have that, so it's up to you to get interested in the topics and build opinions on them so you have something to say in the speaking exam for example. Especially (and I guess this depends on your exam board, I did AQA) but in year 13 you do a lot of politics etc. so its good to follow current events (watching french news is great for this and your listening), that way you're not relying on textbooks that are more than a few years old. (obv this is just one part of it, as said above you need a good understanding of grammar and writing). But overall I really enjoyed french a level and if you enjoyed it at GCSE go for it.
As for Netflix, its a great idea to watch shows in french, I would really recommend 'call my agent' its a completely french show so you get some french culture too!
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Tashax2
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(Original post by MiriamL)
I’ve chosen French to go along with Biology and Chemistry for my A-levels. (Current Year 11) Unfortunately no one at my school does french in sixth form, and there was no uptake at all for MFL in the current year 12, so I don’t really have anyone to ask. How hard is it? What can I do to prepare myself before I start year 12? Do you have any film/Netflix recommendations for programs in French? Do you feel you will be/are (if you’ve finished a-levels) fluent in French?
Thanks!!
I’m fluent in French as in I lived there for a few years and I hate it more than life itself ! I wish I never took the a level
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heldbygrace
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(Original post by hannahbidd)
Hi,
French A - level was difficult for me to start with as my secondary school that I did GCSEs at isn't great at MFL teaching. One thing that I can say is important is to make sure you have a decent understanding of how to form the perfect, imperfect, simple future, "i will tense" eg: j'irai and conditional tenses. You may also want to have a basic understanding of the pluperfect tense. You will also want to make sure you know all of the rules for regular -ir, -re and -er verbs and how to conjugate them including also the most commonly used irregular verbs. I definitely do not feel that I will be fluent by the end of my A-level as that is the purpose of university course; i do feel that I'd be able to hold, reasonably well, a conversation with a French person but if you're looking for fluency then uni is the place to work on that. Hope this helps a bit
Thank you very much, I pretty confident with those things, its a shame about the fluency though 😔
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heldbygrace
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(Original post by lavoj002)
Hi I did A level bio chem maths and french so quite similar to you choices. I would say to get a good grade in french be as curious as you can. You'll find in bio and chem theres a spec with exact things you need to learn but in French you don't have that, so it's up to you to get interested in the topics and build opinions on them so you have something to say in the speaking exam for example. Especially (and I guess this depends on your exam board, I did AQA) but in year 13 you do a lot of politics etc. so its good to follow current events (watching french news is great for this and your listening), that way you're not relying on textbooks that are more than a few years old. (obv this is just one part of it, as said above you need a good understanding of grammar and writing). But overall I really enjoyed french a level and if you enjoyed it at GCSE go for it.
As for Netflix, its a great idea to watch shows in french, I would really recommend 'call my agent' its a completely french show so you get some french culture too!
Thank you, I think I’ve seen some of call my agent! I just wasnt concentrating, but I will start it again. Thanks for the news tips, I will try watching that.
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Bekki S
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(Original post by MiriamL)
I’ve chosen French to go along with Biology and Chemistry for my A-levels. (Current Year 11) Unfortunately no one at my school does french in sixth form, and there was no uptake at all for MFL in the current year 12, so I don’t really have anyone to ask. How hard is it? What can I do to prepare myself before I start year 12? Do you have any film/Netflix recommendations for programs in French? Do you feel you will be/are (if you’ve finished a-levels) fluent in French?
Thanks!!

My French teacher is lovely! The a-level, however, is quite difficult. There's definitely a lot of work required. I'd say focus on tenses and vocab on apps like Memrise. As long as you know those you should be okay. As for films I love 'les intouchables', my college do 'la haine' as the film we have to study so I'd recommend asking your college so you can watch it beforehand and get an understanding for it. My teacher told me Amazon Prime is good for French films and shows too. If you're into a specific genre of YouTube (beauty, vlogs etc.) their may be some videos on their made by French people, so that's also a good way to learn too. I've watched so many morning routines in French.

In year 13 you study a book as well as a film, so I'd recommend finding some French books to practice reading. If you like things like Harry Potter or Twilight I know you can get translated versions. I've bought the book we're studying at my college in both English and French so I can read through them at the same time and understand it better. Books are a good way to learn new vocab and practice your reading skills (obviously). There are often a lot of different tenses in these books as well.

French music is also a good way to improve listening. I spent most of the lead up to Christmas listening to French Christmas songs.

I would say I could have a decent conversation with a French person, however there's still things I would struggle with. You're never going to be fluent until you go to France and speak solely French. It's just a matter of keeping up with it and continuing practicing. French is definitely the lesson that requires the most work for me, but it's worth it (even the crying).
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sheperdspie
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I love french a level - but I know some people who hated it too. ultimately you get out what you put in - it doesn’t take you to absolute fluency but once you get hold of using all the tenses/grammar and become comfortable with speaking, you can converse pretty well and say what you want to say, and I find i’m happy with my level of speaking and understanding. if it helps you should be at B2 at the end of A level, which is pretty good (C2 is total fluency). It leaves you with a really good level of speaking/writing which can be even better if you put time in outside of school to practice and look into topics you’re interested in in french for specific vocab.some of it can be **** if you end up studying a boring book or film, and with that it can sometimes be hard to motivate yourself to understand it more complexly (i studied un sac de billes and i found it quite hard/boring). I would also say don’t worry at the start, because the jump from gcse to a level was really hard for me and i felt like i was going crazy and i would never understand it!!! but around november it sort of clicked. the jump is bigger in french than other subjects imo.

My advice would be to watch french tv & films (amelie, la haine,) but especially english programs with french subtitles. that way i was really able to improve my comprehension skills and after a while you really get the hang of the way french is formed from the english, even if it isn’t an exact translation in the subtitles.

If you love french and want to speak the language, go for it, because it sort of becomes easier the longer you get into it, as your skills develop and you can discuss and learn about increasingly complicated topics. I’m not sure i did any preparation before my a level, except to research the set texts and brush up on key vocab and tenses hope that helps
Last edited by sheperdspie; 6 months ago
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heldbygrace
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(Original post by Bekki S)
My French teacher is lovely! The a-level, however, is quite difficult. There's definitely a lot of work required. I'd say focus on tenses and vocab on apps like Memrise. As long as you know those you should be okay. As for films I love 'les intouchables', my college do 'la haine' as the film we have to study so I'd recommend asking your college so you can watch it beforehand and get an understanding for it. My teacher told me Amazon Prime is good for French films and shows too. If you're into a specific genre of YouTube (beauty, vlogs etc.) their may be some videos on their made by French people, so that's also a good way to learn too. I've watched so many morning routines in French.

In year 13 you study a book as well as a film, so I'd recommend finding some French books to practice reading. If you like things like Harry Potter or Twilight I know you can get translated versions. I've bought the book we're studying at my college in both English and French so I can read through them at the same time and understand it better. Books are a good way to learn new vocab and practice your reading skills (obviously). There are often a lot of different tenses in these books as well.

French music is also a good way to improve listening. I spent most of the lead up to Christmas listening to French Christmas songs.

I would say I could have a decent conversation with a French person, however there's still things I would struggle with. You're never going to be fluent until you go to France and speak solely French. It's just a matter of keeping up with it and continuing practicing. French is definitely the lesson that requires the most work for me, but it's worth it (even the crying).
Thank you so much, the A-level french teacher who I will have is really lovely too so I’m looking forward to that. I had never thought of looking on prime for french stuff - thank you so much!! I also hadn’t thought of YouTube! I’ve got the first two Harry Potters in French, I started reading one but it took me so long, however I didn’t do it alongside the English translation as I didn’t was worried that they may have changed some of the words, and I would think the french meant one thing when actually it meant another, so I was doing it quite painfully using Deepl. I think I will try again using the English translation. I listen to french music aswell and I find it so useful! It’s weird how it kind of sticks in your head. Hopefully I will get a chance to live in France for a while, Im just hesitant to spend 2 years doing deep study of it when I will be no more fluent than I am now. Would you feel your understanding/fluency is better than at Gcse? (Probably a really dumb question) Aha I feel like french will make me cry, I just get that vibe from MFL, considering people rate it as the hardest Alevel.
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Bekki S
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(Original post by MiriamL)
Thank you so much, the A-level french teacher who I will have is really lovely too so I’m looking forward to that. I had never thought of looking on prime for french stuff - thank you so much!! I also hadn’t thought of YouTube! I’ve got the first two Harry Potters in French, I started reading one but it took me so long, however I didn’t do it alongside the English translation as I didn’t was worried that they may have changed some of the words, and I would think the french meant one thing when actually it meant another, so I was doing it quite painfully using Deepl. I think I will try again using the English translation. I listen to french music aswell and I find it so useful! It’s weird how it kind of sticks in your head. Hopefully I will get a chance to live in France for a while, Im just hesitant to spend 2 years doing deep study of it when I will be no more fluent than I am now. Would you feel your understanding/fluency is better than at Gcse? (Probably a really dumb question) Aha I feel like french will make me cry, I just get that vibe from MFL, considering people rate it as the hardest Alevel.
I'm definitely more fluent than at GCSE. My French teacher focuses a lot on speaking now because it expands your vocab when you talk on the spot. We've been having general conversations and it helps so much.
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heldbygrace
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(Original post by Bekki S)
I'm definitely more fluent than at GCSE. My French teacher focuses a lot on speaking now because it expands your vocab when you talk on the spot. We've been having general conversations and it helps so much.
That’s good. I think my french teacher will do the same she’s quite sensible like that
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