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How to achieve a top grade in your IGCSE French oral exam

Students always struggle the most preparing for their oral French exam, which is usually their weakest part. Why is that? In a big group class environment students seldom get the chance to have one on one conversations with a native speaker so they are not very used to being questioned in French. If you can’t afford to have a private French teacher to practice with, here are some tips that will definitely help you!

  1. Memorize all the question words very well: When, where, how, what who, what time, why, how much… You can make yourself a recording with the same type of questions just changing the question word in the front and listen to it many times. It is not the same being able to read the word than listening to it, even if it is you who a made your own recording. For example you can record: When do you eat? What do you eat? Why do you eat? Where do you eat? At what time do you eat? Who do you eat with? And try not to mix up! It is a key to be able to recognize the question word if you want to reply any question correctly!

  1. Focus on the second word of the question. The second word of the question it is the action and it tells you the meaning of what you have to reply as well as the tense. Usually students panic because they can’t fully understand a question but the most important is that you understand the first 2 words. Why is that? It doesn’t matter if the teacher asks you where did you go yesterday, or where did you go last Saturday or where did you go last vacation when you had a break from school and you were in France, the answers can always be the same as there is no right or wrong answer but you MUST reply WHERE and in PAST tense, this is what matters only. So here in another exercise you can do:

  • Make an audio with the same question but different tenses in French, for example what did you do, what are you going to do, what will you do, what would you do, what have you done what do you do… you can do with 2-3 different actions, for example do, eat and go (note that do and go are irregular). Play it multiple times and try to recognize the tense.

  1. Memorize all the endings of “I” and “you” for all the tenses. This is essential as in the exam 95% of the questions will be in “you” form so you need to reply in “I” form. Usually students can’t remember all the endings for all the tenses as there are too many, but remembering the “I “ and “you” means you need to remember only 20% of the endings.

  1. Memorize 14 actions that you can apply to most questions for example: to watch tv, to surf the internet, to buy clothes, to drink, to eat, to play, to dance, to sing, to listen to music, to visit monuments, to swim, to sunbathe, to read books, to chat with friends and to practice sport. Remember in the exam you don’t have to say the truth, so when the teacher asks you what did you do last summer or what are you going to do this weekend you can come up with an answer like. “this weekend I am going to listen to music, later I am going to buy a t-shirt in the shopping mall and drink a coke. Later I am going to chat with friends and watch a movie”. You have to be able to give long answers!

  1. Memorize at least 12 adjectives for example big, small, new, old, beautiful, ugly, modern, antique, perfect, fabulous, excellent, fantastic. In the exam there will be questions about describing places like your school, your home or your neighborhood or even your friend. You have to be able to add descriptive words like “my house is really beautiful and quite big. It has a modern livingroom and 3 small bedrooms, I like my bedroom because it has a new table and a big window”.

6. write some sample answers to questions, this is useful so you can adapt the memorized answers to different questions, but don’t stress too much trying to memorise the answers perfectly, the teacher might not ask you exactly the same questions you memorised

If you follow all these steps and work hard on it you will be able to get that A or A* that you are looking for, good luck!!

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