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French Speaking GCSE in 3 days

Does anyone have any tips on the French speaking exam, or has anyone done it recently? I have mine in 3 days. I've been trying to revise but I'm really struggling. I'm so scared for the exam and I don't know what to do. In my mock, my teacher gave me a 9, but all the other classes were complaining about our class getting way higher marks, so I don't think his marking was accurate. I think he was a bit too generous and now I'm so scared that I'll mess it up.
Reply 1
dont be scared cause you will forget what you have learnt
once the teachers asks you a question, take a small pause and then answer, talk slow so you do not accidentally mess up
maybe learn how to say please could you repeat that or something like thats a nice question so you can easily get more marks
Reply 2
don't think too much about it, the calmer you are the less likely you are to panic and forget how to say things
what really helped me was filler phrases which can help you buy time to think before you speak and ensure you're really interacting with the question asked and make it personal to you if you can! if you feel like you need to wrap up what your saying that can be useful too with phrases like "voila" or "c'est ça".
do you have a list of questions for each topic? that can ease off some stress if you have an idea of what you might be asked on
honestly be confident with your grade and show to the examiner what you can do - good luck :smile:
Reply 3
Original post by LC_14
Does anyone have any tips on the French speaking exam, or has anyone done it recently? I have mine in 3 days. I've been trying to revise but I'm really struggling. I'm so scared for the exam and I don't know what to do. In my mock, my teacher gave me a 9, but all the other classes were complaining about our class getting way higher marks, so I don't think his marking was accurate. I think he was a bit too generous and now I'm so scared that I'll mess it up.

did this like 2 weeks ago learning the answers on the day of, obviously dont recommend this but it goes to show how easy it is to recall on the spot you'll be fine
Dear LC_14,
I'm sorry to hear about the stressful situation you're experiencing right now - I can relate, even though I've done my French exam in a different country and not for GCSE.
I'd like to say first of all that I'd think your teacher knows what's expected on the GCSE and can assess your knowledge competently, and in general they give the grades based on actual performance, not just out of goodwill - exceptions exist of course but that has been my general experience here in the UK. Just be proud of your achievement and please don't let other people's opinions or, I dare say even, jealousy to bring you down this close to the challenge. You can't lose anything by believing you can do it, and definitely lose more if you believe you can't, just because some other, similarly stressed students are not happy about other students getting better grades. I'm almost certain that yout teacher is a better judge of your skills than the abovementioned peers.

To help you ease the absolutely understandable stress, in addition to what the people before me have already suggested, such as noting down the list of questions and topics you could be asked about, also to generally try and remain calm and be confident in your knowledge, I'll share with you some of my tips that come to mind and helped me to pass my French exam as well - take away from it whatever you resonate with or find useful.
First of all, being in a native environment and being left to your own devices in any foreign language can be the best teacher of all, sometimes being worth multiple times the material covered in a classroom setting - especially in terms of fluency and confidence, which are in a close relationship with each other. I reckon that at the moment this is not suitable for you, and I presume you don't have any native/high level speakers in your close environment - if you do, this could make a world of difference! Alternatively, you can try "creating" a French surrounding for yourself: watch films (such as Intouchables, La famille Bélier or Le Fabuleux Destin d'Amélie Poulain - very fun and good films also!) in French, with French subtitles. Also, listen to French music, such as Zaz, Vanessa Paradis or Michel Sardou, Stromae and so on...these you can do on the go while doing other things. Believe me, with foreign languages it's a huge part of it to switch and ease your brain into it - then all the rest will come more easily.
What I also did find useful is doing Duolingo lessons in another language (such as German or Italian, but could be any) and setting French as my base language. This might sound counterproductive when you don't think yourself of as a high level speaker, but it can reveal how much you actually know.
Watch memes, read the news in French, set your phone's/laptop's language to French - make French your main brainfood, feed your brain French! This will create a sense of familiarity and less are the chances you'll freak out when it comes to being assessed on it.

I know Rome wasn't built in a day and 3 days before a French exam there are not many miracles you can work, but I'm sure you are better at it than you know and let the initial good grade given by a hopefully competent professional be your light! You can do this! And please let us know how you get on and if you've found any of the above useful. You could even ask ChatGPT what they think you could do to better your chances at the exam - they might come up with ideas none of us have thought about!

Ultimately, try and not force yourself to learn till the last minute. Your brain needs time and rest to regenerate, consolidate the input and perform at its best on the exam.

Viki
Student Ambassador
3rd year Psychology and Sociology Student
University of Suffolk
Reply 5
dont be scared cause you will forget what you have learnt
once the teachers asks you a question, take a small pause and then answer, talk slow so you do not accidentally mess up
maybe learn how to say please could you repeat that or something like thats a nice question so you can easily get more marks

Thank you for your advice. 🙂 I'll keep this in mind and hopefully it will be okay.
Reply 6
Original post by lea333
don't think too much about it, the calmer you are the less likely you are to panic and forget how to say things
what really helped me was filler phrases which can help you buy time to think before you speak and ensure you're really interacting with the question asked and make it personal to you if you can! if you feel like you need to wrap up what your saying that can be useful too with phrases like "voila" or "c'est ça".
do you have a list of questions for each topic? that can ease off some stress if you have an idea of what you might be asked on
honestly be confident with your grade and show to the examiner what you can do - good luck :smile:

Yes, I'm going to try and stay calm but I guess it's inevitable that I'll feel some kind of stress. I've gone through the list of questions but there's just so many that I feel a bit overwhelmed. I think I'm just a bit worried I'll freeze on the spot. I will try my best and hopefully it will be okay. Thank you for your response 🙂
Reply 7
Oh ok, thank you! That's reassured me a bit. I hope your exam went well 🙂 I'm sure you did great
Reply 8
Original post by University of Suffolk student
Dear LC_14,
I'm sorry to hear about the stressful situation you're experiencing right now - I can relate, even though I've done my French exam in a different country and not for GCSE.
I'd like to say first of all that I'd think your teacher knows what's expected on the GCSE and can assess your knowledge competently, and in general they give the grades based on actual performance, not just out of goodwill - exceptions exist of course but that has been my general experience here in the UK. Just be proud of your achievement and please don't let other people's opinions or, I dare say even, jealousy to bring you down this close to the challenge. You can't lose anything by believing you can do it, and definitely lose more if you believe you can't, just because some other, similarly stressed students are not happy about other students getting better grades. I'm almost certain that yout teacher is a better judge of your skills than the abovementioned peers.
To help you ease the absolutely understandable stress, in addition to what the people before me have already suggested, such as noting down the list of questions and topics you could be asked about, also to generally try and remain calm and be confident in your knowledge, I'll share with you some of my tips that come to mind and helped me to pass my French exam as well - take away from it whatever you resonate with or find useful.
First of all, being in a native environment and being left to your own devices in any foreign language can be the best teacher of all, sometimes being worth multiple times the material covered in a classroom setting - especially in terms of fluency and confidence, which are in a close relationship with each other. I reckon that at the moment this is not suitable for you, and I presume you don't have any native/high level speakers in your close environment - if you do, this could make a world of difference! Alternatively, you can try "creating" a French surrounding for yourself: watch films (such as Intouchables, La famille Bélier or Le Fabuleux Destin d'Amélie Poulain - very fun and good films also!) in French, with French subtitles. Also, listen to French music, such as Zaz, Vanessa Paradis or Michel Sardou, Stromae and so on...these you can do on the go while doing other things. Believe me, with foreign languages it's a huge part of it to switch and ease your brain into it - then all the rest will come more easily.
What I also did find useful is doing Duolingo lessons in another language (such as German or Italian, but could be any) and setting French as my base language. This might sound counterproductive when you don't think yourself of as a high level speaker, but it can reveal how much you actually know.
Watch memes, read the news in French, set your phone's/laptop's language to French - make French your main brainfood, feed your brain French! This will create a sense of familiarity and less are the chances you'll freak out when it comes to being assessed on it.
I know Rome wasn't built in a day and 3 days before a French exam there are not many miracles you can work, but I'm sure you are better at it than you know and let the initial good grade given by a hopefully competent professional be your light! You can do this! And please let us know how you get on and if you've found any of the above useful. You could even ask ChatGPT what they think you could do to better your chances at the exam - they might come up with ideas none of us have thought about!
Ultimately, try and not force yourself to learn till the last minute. Your brain needs time and rest to regenerate, consolidate the input and perform at its best on the exam.
Viki
Student Ambassador
3rd year Psychology and Sociology Student
University of Suffolk

Thank you so much for taking the time to respond 🙂 I'm really thankful for all of your advice, and your tips sound very useful. I've been trying to practice my French every now and again, maybe a bit every few days, but I suppose I was worried about not including enough higher level vocab to boost my grade. I really do appreciate your advice, and I really hope it goes okay, as excluding art, this will be my first proper exam. I'm going to try to stay calm, and hopefully it will go well.
Reply 9
Original post by LC_14
Does anyone have any tips on the French speaking exam, or has anyone done it recently? I have mine in 3 days. I've been trying to revise but I'm really struggling. I'm so scared for the exam and I don't know what to do. In my mock, my teacher gave me a 9, but all the other classes were complaining about our class getting way higher marks, so I don't think his marking was accurate. I think he was a bit too generous and now I'm so scared that I'll mess it up.

Hi Just did mine today actually.
Completely understand what ur saying. I woke up this morning stressing because I genuinely thought I had forgotten all my prepared answers. But as soon as I got into the room and prepared my Photocard and Role play ( exam board AQA btw), I was a little more relaxed and once I was actually doing the speaking exam everything sort of flowed together and felt much easier than the mocks.
You may feel that your teachers marking was too lenient but in my opinion the marking for the French speaking is often very biased. Maybe ur teacher just rlly liked ur answers 😅 Remember it is a 'conversation' so the more engaged ur examiner/teacher the more marks they will already want to give you whilst obviously factoring in your tenses and the other stuff.
Good Luck and if you are also doing AQA you can ask more questions since everything's pretty much fresh in my mind after only doing the exam this morning!
Reply 10
Original post by Hafz_
Hi Just did mine today actually.
Completely understand what ur saying. I woke up this morning stressing because I genuinely thought I had forgotten all my prepared answers. But as soon as I got into the room and prepared my Photocard and Role play ( exam board AQA btw), I was a little more relaxed and once I was actually doing the speaking exam everything sort of flowed together and felt much easier than the mocks.
You may feel that your teachers marking was too lenient but in my opinion the marking for the French speaking is often very biased. Maybe ur teacher just rlly liked ur answers 😅 Remember it is a 'conversation' so the more engaged ur examiner/teacher the more marks they will already want to give you whilst obviously factoring in your tenses and the other stuff.
Good Luck and if you are also doing AQA you can ask more questions since everything's pretty much fresh in my mind after only doing the exam this morning!

Hello! I'm happy to hear your exam went well- I'm sure you did great. I do AQA French too. I really hope I'm able to relax 😅, but I do tend to stress quite a bit sometimes. I'm feeling okay about it at the moment, I think it's the build up to it that's getting to me. Sorry, do you mind if I ask- did you prepare all your answers before hand, or did you do some of it off the top of your head?
Reply 11
Original post by LC_14
Hello! I'm happy to hear your exam went well- I'm sure you did great. I do AQA French too. I really hope I'm able to relax 😅, but I do tend to stress quite a bit sometimes. I'm feeling okay about it at the moment, I think it's the build up to it that's getting to me. Sorry, do you mind if I ask- did you prepare all your answers before hand, or did you do some of it off the top of your head?

Hi hope im not too late in answering this!
So in terms of what I had prepared, I followed the way my school made all the students do it which was :
For each theme pick 6 questions ( from the AQA question booklet you should have been provided) and we all made flashcard's with our answers for all 3 themes so in total that would be 18 answers. Seems Like a lot but it really does make things easier ! Unfortunately in my case i left it too late to actually perfectly memorize my answers but managed to cram and memorize quite a bit however i did find myself making up many answers on the spot just using basic terms and sentences that I reuse often even in the writing e.g. if the question was What I did with my friends last week? My made up answer would be the easiest thing I can think of like, Je suis allee au cinema avec mes amis parce que c'etait amusant.
If your main concern is feeling more stressed as you get closer to the exams and having a feeling your mind will go blank when your teacher asks a question my best advice would be: 1) When making up an answer on the spot make sure whatever you are saying is responding to the right tense(past,present,future) , 2) ALWAYS add reasoning/justification and it can be as as simple as parce que c'est/c'etait/ ce sera interessant, 3) If you know any generic idioms by heart try use them where it fits, as this will make your speaking seem more conversational giving you extra marks!
And to add on , don't be afraid to ask your teacher to repeat the questions just make sure you say it in FRENCH not English. Preferably, just say, Vous-pouvez repeter si vous plait? or if the nerves are really hitting say Pardon?/ Repeter?. But don't worry too much as your teacher will always repeat the question whether you ask or not and will be able to understand from the look on ur face whether u understand it!
Hope this eases ur mind and makes you feel more comfortable although im sure u will do great! Happy to help and answer any more questions you may have...!
Reply 12
Original post by Hafz_
Hi hope im not too late in answering this!
So in terms of what I had prepared, I followed the way my school made all the students do it which was :
For each theme pick 6 questions ( from the AQA question booklet you should have been provided) and we all made flashcard's with our answers for all 3 themes so in total that would be 18 answers. Seems Like a lot but it really does make things easier ! Unfortunately in my case i left it too late to actually perfectly memorize my answers but managed to cram and memorize quite a bit however i did find myself making up many answers on the spot just using basic terms and sentences that I reuse often even in the writing e.g. if the question was What I did with my friends last week? My made up answer would be the easiest thing I can think of like, Je suis allee au cinema avec mes amis parce que c'etait amusant.
If your main concern is feeling more stressed as you get closer to the exams and having a feeling your mind will go blank when your teacher asks a question my best advice would be: 1) When making up an answer on the spot make sure whatever you are saying is responding to the right tense(past,present,future) , 2) ALWAYS add reasoning/justification and it can be as as simple as parce que c'est/c'etait/ ce sera interessant, 3) If you know any generic idioms by heart try use them where it fits, as this will make your speaking seem more conversational giving you extra marks!
And to add on , don't be afraid to ask your teacher to repeat the questions just make sure you say it in FRENCH not English. Preferably, just say, Vous-pouvez repeter si vous plait? or if the nerves are really hitting say Pardon?/ Repeter?. But don't worry too much as your teacher will always repeat the question whether you ask or not and will be able to understand from the look on ur face whether u understand it!
Hope this eases ur mind and makes you feel more comfortable although im sure u will do great! Happy to help and answer any more questions you may have...!

Thank you so much! I've prepared a few answers for it, but my teacher was quite against preparing answers, and told us that it wasn't a good strategy. But then he gave us a whole booklet of questions to start preparing answers for which confused me. I think I just ran out of time for preparation, but hopefully all goes well tomorrow! I don't think our teacher let us pick which questions to get asked, so I don't really know what could show up in the exam, but I suppose all schools do it slightly differently. Once again, thank you so so much for taking the time to respond, as I'm sure you're busy with other things too. I really appreciate it, and I do feel slightly more relaxed about it now. 🙂
Reply 13
Original post by LC_14
Thank you so much! I've prepared a few answers for it, but my teacher was quite against preparing answers, and told us that it wasn't a good strategy. But then he gave us a whole booklet of questions to start preparing answers for which confused me. I think I just ran out of time for preparation, but hopefully all goes well tomorrow! I don't think our teacher let us pick which questions to get asked, so I don't really know what could show up in the exam, but I suppose all schools do it slightly differently. Once again, thank you so so much for taking the time to respond, as I'm sure you're busy with other things too. I really appreciate it, and I do feel slightly more relaxed about it now. 🙂

Hi! Yh i guess all schools do it in their own different ways. No problem, although helping someone else with French is not common for me😅but glad i could help. How did it go if u dont mind me askin?
Reply 14
Original post by Hafz_
Hi! Yh i guess all schools do it in their own different ways. No problem, although helping someone else with French is not common for me😅but glad i could help. How did it go if u dont mind me askin?

Hello! My teacher told me that it went really well. I definitely could've used more complex vocab, but I kind of panicked. There was one time where I didn't hear what question he asked, but he just repeated it for me, so I was able to answer all the questions, which was good. I mostly forgot all the stuff I had prepared, but I made it up on the spot so it was ok. 🙂 It wasn't as good as my mock I don't think, but I got a weird photocard and roleplay so I just kind of guessed on what I was doing! Overall, it wasn't too bad...
Reply 15
Original post by LC_14
Hello! My teacher told me that it went really well. I definitely could've used more complex vocab, but I kind of panicked. There was one time where I didn't hear what question he asked, but he just repeated it for me, so I was able to answer all the questions, which was good. I mostly forgot all the stuff I had prepared, but I made it up on the spot so it was ok. 🙂 It wasn't as good as my mock I don't think, but I got a weird photocard and roleplay so I just kind of guessed on what I was doing! Overall, it wasn't too bad...

Yh roleplay and photocard kinda thew me off too. Glad to here it went okay. Just listening, reading and writing left then French is donee😅 Hope the rest of exams go well for u too x
Reply 16
Original post by Hafz_
Yh roleplay and photocard kinda thew me off too. Glad to here it went okay. Just listening, reading and writing left then French is donee😅 Hope the rest of exams go well for u too x

Yeah, I can't wait to finish French for good! I hope your exams go well too, I'm sure you'll do great! Thank you for all your help. 🙂
Original post by LC_14
Does anyone have any tips on the French speaking exam, or has anyone done it recently? I have mine in 3 days. I've been trying to revise but I'm really struggling. I'm so scared for the exam and I don't know what to do. In my mock, my teacher gave me a 9, but all the other classes were complaining about our class getting way higher marks, so I don't think his marking was accurate. I think he was a bit too generous and now I'm so scared that I'll mess it up.

okay you already did your exam but ill just leave this reply here in case anyone else wants tips.

I did it in April and honestly, don't stress too much. The grade boundaries for speaking are always quite low (assuming you're doing AQA).

I mean it. I got a 7 in my mock and I was stuttering and forgetting everything (but my teacher was really generous too so take what you will).

Let's hope you've prepared all your answers, if you haven't decided your chosen theme PICK THE HARDEST ONE! Seriously! Picking the hardest theme for general conversation will make your photocard and roleplay sooo much easier.

Work on practicing your pronunciation (especially for all those weird words that sound completely different to how they're spelt... i found out 'mignonne' meaning cute is pronounced 'minion') after memorising your answers.

When you're in the exam, ask your teacher to give you a few seconds while you recall your answers (MY TEACHER MOVED ON SO FAST IN THE MOCKS I COULD BARELY PROCESS WHAT WAS HAPPENING 😭) and when they ask you a question, take a few seconds to recall your answer. if you can't remember it (which was what happened to me for a lot of my questions) MAKE IT UP. I KNOW IT SOUNDS IMPOSSIBLE BUT TRUST ME IT'S NOT AS HARD AS IT SEEMS. Even better if you use bits of your other answers as you're making it up (for example when they asked me about my dream job which was a question i didn't prepare for i used the phrase 'when i was younger' from another theme which probably got me a lot of marks because TENSES. MAKE SURE YOUR ANSWERS HAVE TENSES.)

If you stutter (I kept tripping over 'et' and 'est' for some reason), just pause and take a deep breath, collect yourself before trying again. DON'T FORGET TO ASK YOUR TEACHER A QUESTION (I almost forget and she reminded me).

A really easy way to ask your teacher a question is just saying 'et toi?' (and you?). For example, if they ask you about what you were like when you were younger, at the end of your answer before they move on ask 'et toi?' AND BINGO YOU SCORED 1 MARK. or construct a super simple sentence related to the question. or just repeat the question they asked you.

if you don't get the question they ask or hear you don't hear them ask 'pardon?' over and over 😭

good luck!

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