AS French Examiner's Tips

Examiner's tips for AS level French listening, reading, writing and speaking. From AQA board but useful for other boards as well!

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1 Don't eat while you're listening ­ not even chewing gum! Every time you swallow you block
your hearing for a moment and when you're doing the exam you have to work quickly and can't
afford to lose time.
2 Always look at the title of the passage ­ this gives you an idea of what is going to be discussed
and helps your brain to bring the relevant vocabulary to the fore.
3 If the question asks for a certain number of ticks, make sure you do not exceed this number or
you will lose marks.
4 Always look carefully at the number of marks for each question: 2 marks means the examiner
wants to see 2 details.
5 If the questions are in English for answers in English then as you read the English questions think of
the vocabulary in French which is likely to be used.
6 Remember you do not have to answer in sentences often one word will do.
7 If you don't immediately recognise a word, don't panic. Listen to the whole phrase and see if you
can work out its meaning.
8 Remember that some words sound the same but have different meanings so if, for example,
you hear the word passe and think of it as a verb, ask yourself if it could be a noun and therefore
have a different meaning.
9 If a word sounds very strange, ask yourself if it is initials. For example, la SNCF is not a word, but
the initials of an organisation.
10 If you have to answer questions in French then do look carefully at the question word at the
beginning of the sentence. Remember there is a difference between Qui and Que!
11 You may find you need to listen again to a certain part of the recording that you have not
understood, but don't do this more than three times if you can't understand after three listenings
then come back to it later. You'll be amazed how often it then appears much easier to
12 If you repeat what you have heard in your head it sometimes also becomes clearer to you.
13 Always go back and check your work!
14 Remember that the information in the passage will come in the same order as that of the
questions this means that if you can answer a) and c) then the answer to b) is between them.
15 Look carefully at what you are being asked to do, e.g. "Answer the questions in French". Then
read the questions. They may give you clues about the vocabulary that will be used in the
16 Listen to the passage all the way through and then go back and pause the recording in order to
answer each question.
17 If numbers are required in your answers then always write the number in figures e.g. 20 rather
than vingt.
18 If the number you hear is a long one, then repeat it to yourself in French, picture it in your mind and
then write it out in figures. This is much easier than trying to translate it into English and you are less
likely to make a mistake.
19 As you listen if you hear a number or a percentage mentioned you may want to jot it down
immediately so that you can then look for a matching phrase.
20 Always use a separate piece of paper for rough work. However, if you have made notes or rough
work on the piece of paper you hand in to the examiner, make sure you cross this out.
21 Become totally familiar with numbers, including dates. Knowledge of these is often tested in the
listening comprehension section ­ years (1987) and percent (18,5 pour cent) frequently occur.
22 Don't worry if you don't understand a particular word you are not expected to. It is unlikely that
you would understand every word in an authentic listening situation.
AQA French AS Level © Nelson Thornes Ltd 2008

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Although the questions are based on the text in chronological order, you should listen to the item all
the way through before you answer the questions.
24 Ask your teachers to recommend a website or perhaps a radio programme in which young
people talk about their friendships and interests this will help you to widen your vocabulary.…read more

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1 Always try to justify your opinions.
25 Discuss the topics with your friends in English so that you have plenty of ideas to write about when
you take the exam.
26 Try to argue from different angles: e.g. advantages and disadvantages, problems and benefits,
problems and solutions, future development.
27 Remember that for many of these subtopic issues you may find good source material in English
magazines.…read more

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1 Have and make use of a range of opinion expressions e.g. je pense que, je crois que, j'estime
que, à mon avis, selon moi, je dirais que.
48 Remember that your opinions and views themselves are not being judged and in that sense there
are no right or wrong answers.
49 To make the best use of your preparation time, study both cards briefly and choose the one you
think you will have the most to say about.…read more

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Try to express both your own as well as more general, widerreaching views about a particular
70 Try to think about the wider implications of the advantages / disadvantages related to a given issue ­
don't just relate these to your own experiences.…read more

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1 Make the best use of the time available. Skim through the test and try to estimate which tasks
will need more time. Allot more time for bigger tasks.
2 Avoid getting stuck on details such as a word you don't understand or a particular question you don't
know the answer to.
3 Allow some time at the end to doublecheck your answers.
4 Read the whole text through first to ensure that you understand the main ideas. Then answer the
questions.…read more


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