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Higher level French

Students of Higher Level French are examined in four key areas: oral, aural, written and reading skills. Students must ensure they prepare well for each section.

> Moi-même (myself)

> Ma famille (family)

> Mes amis (friends)

> Mon école (school)

> Ma maison (my house)

> Mon quartier (my area)

> Mes passe-temps (hobbies). Students should prepare a specific hobby to discuss as it is a very common question to be asked.

> Le week-end (know last weekend and plans for next weekend)

> L'été dernier (last summer)

> L'été prochain (next summer)

> L'année prochaine (next year). Make sure you know what you are going to say in response to this question. Even if you are unsure of your plans, prepare an answer.

> Les petits boulots (part-time jobs)

> L'argent de poche (pocket-money)

> La musique/le sport/la télé (music, sport, TV).

1> Don't reply to a question with "Yes" or "No". Always endeavour to offer at least three sentences in response.

2> In preparation, pair up with a school friend and practise the different topics.

3> During the exam, the student is tested on his/her knowledge of different tenses. Pay particular attention to the present, past and future tenses. For example, while responding to the following question "Qu'est ce que vous avez fait le week-end dernier?", make sure to reply in the passé composé.

4> If you are unsure of the question being asked, don't hesitate in asking for a question to be rephrased. A simple "Pardon, Madame/Monsieur" can allow for the question to be repeated in a different way.

5> Students who take control of the exam always earn good marks. When a topic is asked by the examiner, volunteer as much as you can. The more you speak, the more marks awarded.

1> The echo response: when the student repeats the verb in the question and fails to put it in the correct form, eg "Vous aimez la musique?" "Oui, j'aimez [j'aime] la musique."

2> Confusing avoir, aller and être, eg "Ils ont [sont] sympas."

3> Using the infinitive as a universal tense, eg "Je sortir [sors] le week-end."

4> Using être to express age. eg "Je suis 17 ans." Always use avoir -- "J'ai 17 ans."

5> Confusing "c'est" (it is/that is) and "il y a" (there is/there are).


The examiner is there to help you, not to hinder you. Do your best to relax and smile. Eye contact is essential and students who are enthusiastic and forthcoming with their answers will do very well in the exam.

Reading comprehensions are sourced from a literary text and a journalistic extract. The vocabulary in the texts can be very challenging and the only way to improve one's ability is to read as much as possible. Here are some tips:

1> Questions which contain the word "citez", "cherchez", "trouvez" and "relevez" generally mean that you can quote directly from the text eg. 2004: Q1 4ii) Relevez dans le troisième paragraphe l'expression qui veut dire "très peu de gens l'écoutent". Answer: "il prêche dans le désert".

2> In many of the literary extracts, the story is told in the first-person narrative ie "je". Consequently, students are required to answer in the third person eg "il" or "elle".

3> Generally in each reading comprehension, there is a specific grammar question. All students, regardless of their understanding of the text, should answer this question correctly. For example: 2009 Q2 q4) ii Relevez un adjectif au féminin pluriel dans la quatrième section. Answer: noires.

The best way to study for this section is to complete past papers and practise the written questions that have come up in recent years.

> La politique (politics)

> La crise économique (recession)

> Le chômage (unemployment)

> L'émigration (emigration)

> La dette nationale (national debt)

> Internet/Facebook

> Les catastrophes nationales (national catastrophes)

> Le réchauffement de la planète (global warming)

Beaucoup de (a lot)

Le problème (problem)

Le gouvernement (government)

Tout le monde (everybody)

Toujours (always)

Par exemple (for example)

Le pays (country)

Résoudre (to solve)

L'évènement (event)

L'environnement (the environment)

Recycler (to recycle)

L'alcool (alcohol)

3> Don't neglect the aural exam. If in doubt in the tape exam, always guess an answer. Who knows, you may be right!

4> Pair up. Study in pairs for the oral exam and keep practising the topics.

5> Know the following irregular verbs:

Bonne Chance !