GCSE French writing exam tips

Key tips on preparation for your GCSE French exam. (AQA).

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  • Created on: 02-01-13 15:28
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Get ready for your writing assessment
To help you prepare for your GCSE French writing controlled assessment, follow these top
tips. They are grouped into 3 categories:
A. Preparation
B. Revising for the writing assessment
C. During the writing assessment
There is also an `On the day' checklist to help you not to forget the important tips for the day
of your assessment.
A. Preparation
1. Know what's expected of you
Before you begin a controlled assessment writing task, look carefully at the grade criteria for
GCSE to ensure that you are going to cover the things you have to in order to obtain a certain
grade at GCSE. This information is usually available on the internet in the specifications for
GCSE. If you cannot find this information, ask your teacher.
2. Learn how to use a dictionary
In your preparation for controlled assessments, make sure that you use a dictionary correctly.
Remember that dictionaries are most useful for looking up unknown or forgotten nouns,
adjectives, adverbs, prepositions and conjunctions, but not always so good for verbs, apart
from the infinitive. Check the French word you have found by looking it up in the
FrenchEnglish half of the dictionary to ensure that it has the right meaning.
If you don't know how to use a dictionary properly you can end up writing gibberish. Imagine
you wanted to say "I saw a cricket match" and you looked up every word individually. It's
possible you could end up with the sentence "Je scie un grillon allumette" instead of "J'ai
regardé un match de cricket", which is the correct translation.
How could that come about? The reason is that "scie" is a saw (a tool used for cutting wood),
"grillon" a cricket (an insect) and "allumette" a match (used to light a cigarette).
You would have found words with those meanings but not the right ones for this sentence!
© Owned by or under licence to Pearson Education Limited 2009 1

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B. Revising for the writing assessment
3. Know your past, present and future
Try to include references to the past, present and future. This isn't absolutely essential (you
can get a Grade C without necessarily using all three of these tenses), but it is something
which is typical of work at a high standard and will impress the examiner. Present tenses are
usually easy to include, but past and future references can sometimes be more complicated.…read more

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Owned by or under licence to Pearson Education Limited 2009 3…read more

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Show off your skills and knowledge
Make sure that you plan to write more complex sentences. This can be done by using a
variety of
Connectives (e.g. mais but, quand when, où where, pourtant/cependant however,
néanmoins nevertheless, etc.)
adverbs(e.g. parfois/quelquefois sometimes, seulement only, également equally, etc.)
adjectives (making sure they agree with the noun they describe)
expressions using verbs (e.g. avant de+infinitive, après avoir/être + past participle).
7.…read more

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C. During the writing assessment
9. Know your limits
Use what you know is correct and don't start to over elaborate. Remember that your English
vocabulary is likely to be far wider than your French, so you will not be able to write to a
similar degree of complexity and accuracy in the target language. You must therefore avoid
writing ideas in English, then trying to translate them word for word into French as this will
almost certainly lead to problems!
10.…read more


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