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Speaking: Tiers

Foundation Tier

There may be pictures to guide your answers. If you really don't know how to say something, try to think how you could say the same thing using expressions you do know, for example:
You want to say
"I‘ve lost my bag" (J'ai perdu mon sac), but you can‘t remember the word for "lost". Why not say:
"I don‘t know where my bag is" (Je ne sais pas où est mon sac) or
"I can‘t find my bag" (Je ne peux pas trouver mon sac) instead?

Higher Tier

You may have to answer a surprise question. You will not be given any information about it, or the required response.
During your preparation time,
try to guess what could be asked according to the setting of the role-play.

Speaking: Conversation Tips

If the question is in English, give your answer in English.
If it's in
French, give your answer in French.
Speak clearly and loudly.
Listen carefully to the question. Work out whether the question asked uses the present, past or future tense so that you use the same tense in your answer.
Give a reason or an opinion wherever possible - don't just answer
"yes" or "no" - oui ou non.
Say lots! If asked about what you do at weekends for example, say at what time, who with, how often and where you do things, how you travel, what time you go to bed or get up on Sundays, what you like eating, whether you watch TV, etc.
Try to make your answers colourful -
as interesting as possible!
Use adjectives and adverbs.

"La ville est très grande et trop polluée. J'y vais très peu."
"The town is very big and too polluted. I go there very little".
The conversation is your chance to show what you can do.



Speaking: Role Play

You will be given about 5 or 10 minutes beforehand to prepare for the exam. You will be given role play situations with instructions and explanations and can make notes.
In the Role play, you must
imagine that you are in a particular situation asking certain questions, or saying certain things according to that situation - you are playing a role.
Situations for the role play could include:
  • Buying a train or bus ticket
  • Asking for directions
  • Shopping
  • Making enquiries about lost property
  • Making a reservation in a hotel or campsite.
You may have to discuss the following and will be given information to guide your response:
  • your work experience
  • your region
  • your hobbies
These are just a few examples!

Speaking: Role Plays Tips

Listen carefully for the tense of the question you are asked. If you're asked a question in the future tense, reply using the future tense as well.
Speak clearly and confidently.
If you don't understand the question ask the teacher to repeat it or say that you don't know in French:

"Pourriez-vous répéter la question s'il vous plaît?"
=
Could you repeat the question please?
"Je ne sais pas" =
I don't know
"
Je ne comprends pas" = I don't understand
The role plays are your chance to show what you can do.


Listening Exam

Your listening exam may last for around 45 mins to 1 hour. You'll be asked to listen to a cassette or CD in French and you will have to answer questions in both English or French.
You may be allowed to study the questions
before the recording plays. You will hear each extract two or three times.
To answer some questions, you may have to:

  • tick a correct answer
  • state whether an answer is true or false
  • write a letter or number to indicate the correct answer
  • write a word or phrase
  • complete a sentence
You do not necessarily need to answer in full sentences, but make sure that you include all the details you have been asked for.


Higher Listening

For Higher tier entry, the extracts that are played will probably be longer than for Foundation tier. You will be tested on more complex vocabulary and structures.
The answer may not be explicitly stated in the recording - you may be asked about
attitudes or feelings or you may be asked to record a general comment.
During your course, try to keep lists of vocabulary and learn these. This is important revision for your Reading and Responding exam. It really does need to be worked on for several months.

GCSE French Listening Tips

If the question is in English, give your answer in English. If it's in French, give your answer in French.

Check that the answers you give make sense.
Make sure that you answer the question that you have been asked!
After writing an answer, go back and read the question again.
If a question asks
"quand?" give a time or a date.
If a question asks
"qui?" give a person.
Even if you have understood the answer the first time you hear it,
listen carefully when the extract is repeated to check your answer.
The listening exam is a test of your ability to understand the foreign language. You will not lose marks for incorrect spellings or grammar; just make sure that a French person could understand your answers.
Don't leave blanks. If you really can't understand what's been said, jot down a word or some of the words you've heard.


Reading Exam

Your reading exam may last for around 45 mins to 1 hour. You'll be asked to read information in French and you may have to answer questions in both English or French.
To answer some questions, you may have to:

  • tick a correct answer
  • state whether an answer is true or false
  • write a letter or number to indicate the correct answer
  • write a word or phrase
  • complete a sentence
You do not necessarily need to answer in full sentences, but make sure that you include all the details you have been asked for.


Higher Reading

For Higher tier entry, texts will be longer than for Foundation tier. You will be tested on more complex vocabulary and structures.
Answers may not be directly stated in the text: you may be asked about a person's
attitude or feelings and you may be asked to read for gist.
During your course, try to keep lists of vocabulary and learn these. This is important revision for your Reading and Responding exam. It really does need to be worked on for several months.

GCSE French Reading & Responding Tips


If the question is in English, give your answer in English.
If it's in
French, give your answer in French.
Practise trying to
understand a text, even if there are some words that you don't know.
Check that the answer you give makes sense.
The reading exam tests your ability to understand French. You may not lose marks for incorrect spellings or grammar; just make sure that a French person could understand your answers.
Work through the exam paper at a steady pace. Questions towards the end may be longer and take more thought than those at the start, so leave enough time.


French Writing Exam


Your writing exam may last for around 45 minutes to 1 hour. All your writing should be in French. The questions will be in French.
To answer some questions you may have to
fill in:
  • a form
  • blanks in a piece of text.
For others, you may have to write:
  • a message
  • a postcard
  • a diary
  • a letter
  • an article for a magazine.


Foundation Writing


· For Foundation Tier your spelling should be accurate enough for a French person to understand what you mean.
· You should not lose too many marks for making some spelling mistakes or for mixing up masculine and feminine words!
· During your course try to keep lists of vocabulary and learn these. This is important revision for your Writing exam and needs to be worked on for several months.


Higher Writing


· For Higher Tier accuracy is more important. Carefully check spelling, accents, gender, plurals and tenses.
· Try to include different tenses if possible. You may be asked about what you did last weekend (past tense); try to add if you'll do the same thing next weekend (future tense).
· As with the conversation part of the speaking exam, this is your opportunity to show what you can do. If you're not quite sure how to say something, write it another way:
· e.g. You want to write: I invited her to go out but you can't remember.
You could write instead:
We have decided to go out.
· You are in control. Choose what you are going to write according to what you are able to write in French.

GCSE French Writing Tips

Before the exam decide whether or not you need to write on every other line depending on the neatness and size of your handwriting.
Include all the details that you are asked for; if there are
three marks for an answer be sure to give three details.
Include
accents in the correct place.
Make
lists of phrases you could include to boost your mark.
e.g.
après avoir + past participle = after having...
venir de + infinitive = to have just...
depuis with present tense = for...
Il faut / On devrait ... + infinitive = You should...