"Study hard, for the well is deep, and our brains are shallow." -Richard Baxter

Students often despise the act of studying since they think it is boring and that it robs them of a lot of fun they are missing out on. While it is true that studying or reviewing academic information has several dull moments, it is necessary for a better future and a brighter mind. Education is the key to a successful life and more balanced communities.

Also, some academic disciplines are more fun to study than others. So, students in secondary school or university should choose topics they enjoy and want to learn more about. It's a common fact that when we like something, we want to know more.

Of all enjoyable academic disciplines, millions of students worldwide relish the acquisition of a foreign tongue the most. Learning a new language allows us to crawl into another culture where we acquire knowledge of different types of music, movies, books, etc. By learning a foreign tongue, we also possess the ability to create friendships with people we never thought possible.

So, if you're a UK-based high schooler who has decided to study French at a GCSE or A-Level grade, we are confident that you will thoroughly enjoy the process.

In today's article, we shall provide advice on how secondary school students French can effectively prepare for their examinations without further delay.

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How to Revise for the GCSE French Exam

In the UK, students at a GCSE level are under 16 years of age and are on the brink of ending their formal education or about to prepare for further studies. Pupils studying the GCSEs usually complete nine or ten compulsory and optional courses in various topics. The subjects they may choose from depend on each examination board.

speaking French together
If you can't hire a private tutor, take the time to have regular French conversations with your classmates to improve your French-speaking skills. (Source: Unsplash)

French is a popular GCSE topic amongst high schoolers since it provides them with a skill that they can use later on in their lives.

How is the GCSE French curriculum structured? While the French course might slightly change from exam board to exam board, the AQA board instructs students on the three following themes:

  • Identity and Culture,
  • Local, National, International, and Global Areas of Interest, 
  • Current and Future Study and Employment. 

Many subthemes are covered in the previously mentioned topics of interest, and examiners expect students to draw on their personal experiences and express themselves in French. Also, grammar and vocabulary are analysed in close detail by pupils of GCSE French.

The AQA structures the GCSE French curriculum, and other exam boards, to help students improve in the following four key concepts:

  • Listening,
  • Speaking, 
  • Reading,
  • Writing. 

But how does a GCSE French student effectively review these concepts to ensure that they succeed? Are there any tips? Of course! The following are some fantastic tricks that French learners should take into consideration:

  • Reviewing Listening Skills: many students have found that regularly listening to podcasts, music, television shows, and movies in French has helped them to grasp the nuances of the French language; this is complete immersion without having to move to France.
  • Improving Speaking: the best way to improving speaking skills is by regularly conversing French with native speakers. If you can't find any native French speakers nearby, talk with your fellow GCSE French classmates or hire a private tutor for online lessons.
  • Getting Better at Reading: with so many excellent reading resources in French available on the internet, students may choose the level and length of reading material. If an entire novel is too much, consider reading a few articles.
  • Revising Writing Abilities: to hone writing skills in French, we suggest keeping a daily journal to write your thoughts, dreams, and future goals. Have an experienced French instructor periodically scan your diary entries so that you can receive tips about grammar and vocabulary.

Now that we've considered how to prepare for the French GCSEs successfully, what about the A-Levels? Keep on reading to find out more!

How to Revise for the A-Level French Exam

reviewing in schedule
Adding French studying sessions to your schedule is necessary and essential for acquiring fluency in the future. (Source: Unsplash)

More advanced than the GCSEs, hence the name "GCE Advanced Level", the A-Levels are created to further skills for GCSE students'  who want to prepare for university. So, the A-Level French builds off what was learnt in the GCSEs. The A-Level French curriculum's overall structure is a bit different from the GCSEs, but the goal is the same: to help pupils achieve fluency in France's mother tongue.

How is the A-Level course in French structured? Well, according to the AQA, which is quite similar to the other exam boards, the core content of subjects analysed has to do with social issues and trends, political and artistic culture and, of course, grammar. Pupils also can select an optional course known as works of literature and films in the target language.

Students hone transferrable skills such as creativity, critical thinking, and communication through the successful completion of coursework from the GCSE French curriculum. 

At the end of the course, students are assessed in the following three areas that touch on skills learned throughout the course:

  • Paper 1, Listening, Reading, Writing,
  • Paper 2, Writing, 
  • Paper 3, Speaking.

If you would like to know more information about the previously mentioned assessments, click this link more about what is analysed in each examination section.

To succeed at the A-Level French coursework and exams, students should consider these review tips. These are excellent advice about how to review the four key sections of French effectively:

  • Listening: thanks to the internet, there are so many great listening options when learning French. Podcasts are fantastic because they immerse you in the French culture without having to leave the UK. Some recommended podcasts include Coffee Break French, Parlez Away, French en Route, and One Thing in a French day. Also, watching French movies and TV shows improves listening skills for A-Level students.
  • Reading: it is better to read an article a day than a novel once a month. When learning a foreign tongue, short and frequent reading practice is much better than an abundance of information. Find a website that publishes short news article daily that are at your level of French expertise.
  • Writing: as was suggested in the section about French GCSEs, keeping a daily journal to improve your French writing skills is a brilliant idea. Remember, quality is more important than quantity, so you don't have to write pages; a simple paragraph would suffice. Have teachers, more experienced French speakers, or your tutor look over your writings to give you feedback.
  • Speaking: practice makes perfect, which is entirely the case when French learners want to get better at French-speaking. The best way to improve in French is by taking some time every day to speak with native speakers or classmates. We suggest hiring a French tutor on the Superprof website to hone your skills frequently. Don't be too shy to practise, and don't worry if your pronunciation isn't good enough; it's all part of the learning process!

You will likely see excellent results on your final A-Level French exam with these tips!

Where Can I Find GCSE and A-Level French Past Papers?

finding past resources
There are various websites where French GCSE and A-Level students can find past papers. (Source: Unsplash)

As a student, many things can be done to ensure success. Doing your homework, paying attention in class, asking questions, and hiring a private tutor, are all necessary components of academic achievement. Beyond those, there is one piece of advice worth its weight in gold: daily reviewing course information.

Reviewing past information helps students in many ways and should be implemented when reviewing for exams in all academic disciplines. Revision ensures that students remember previously taught concepts, helps students identify any weak points, provides success on exams, and instils confidence in a student's academic abilities.

Therefore, when preparing for French exams, students should take advantage of the best review resources at their disposal: past papers. We shall discuss where GCSE and A-Level students can find past papers to complement their review process.

GCSE French Past Papers

Since almost everything is online nowadays, it has become easier to find references for education. Therefore, students studying the GCSEs in French shouldn't have a problem finding past papers relevant to them, right? Not at all!

The following are two websites where GCSE French pupils can locate past papers:

  • Revision World: a great website that groups together many references to past papers from the AQA and Edexcel exam boards. Revision World's GCSE French revision resources can be downloaded and printed for easy reference.
  • AQA: when finding past papers in French, we recommend going straight to the source, the AQA website. Since they are the ones who have created the exams, you are guaranteed to find past papers of quality for GCSE French.

A-Level French Past Papers

What about A-Level French students? Are there any helpful past papers for them? Absolutely! Due to the exam boards that offer the A-Level French course, pupils can revise from the comfort of their own home.

The following are two exam boards that feature A-Level French past papers on their sites:

  • Edexcel Pearson: the Edexcel Pearson website has various past papers in French from previous years that A-Level students will find particularly useful.
  • Eduquas: providing French past papers from 2017, 2018, and 2019 examination years, the Eduquas website is a little gem for A-Level students.

All the information provided in today's article will significantly help GCSE and A-Level French students prepare for their examinations.

Let the studies begin!

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Brentyn

Avid movie-goer, reader, skier and language learner. Passionate about life, food and travelling.