Are you feeling overwhelmed by the thought of revising for your IGCSE French exam? Maybe it’s because you’re unsure of where to begin or how to effectively study.
Don’t worry, the following post will guide you through the process of preparing for IGCSE French with confidence and without stress. Whether you’re studying for Pearson Edexcel or Cambridge – CAIE, these proven strategies and techniques can help you ace your exam and achieve the highest marks.
To start, it’s important to understand that the IGCSE French examination consists of four components: listening, reading, speaking, and writing.
Depending on your exam board, these components may be assessed individually (Cambridge has a Paper for each skill) or combined into different papers (Pearson Edexcel has 3 papers, where Paper 2 assesses Reading and Writing simultaneously).
Regardless, all four components are important, and you need to give each enough attention. Make sure to get to know the specific details of your IGCSE board to know what to expect on the day of your exam.
Improving Your Grammar and Vocabulary Is Key To IGCSE Sucess
Before looking closely at each component, we cannot stress enough the significance of grammar and vocabulary. These two pillars form the foundation of your language skills. Moreover, they are scrutinised in any language exam. Therefore, you need to know how to use grammar and vocabulary in order to communicate effectively in French.
Revising grammar and vocabulary can be quite boring if you just rely solely on textbooks or worksheets.
You can create flashcards or interactive games that facilitate the memorisation of words and phrases. With the same tools, you are able to test yourself on grammar rules and conjugations.
Watch French TV shows and movies with subtitles in French or English.
This will expose you to new words and expressions in context. On top of that, French content can help you improve your pronunciation – you just need to pause and repeat words and sentences after a speaker.
Popular French TV shows and movies such as Lupin, Call My Agent, Amélie, or The Intouchables are excellent choices.
You can also follow your favourite French channels on Youtube, make sure you turn the subtitles on.
Listen to French podcasts and music that match your interests and proficiency level.
The benefit of this is that it allows for enhancing listening skills as well as provides exposure to different accents and topics.
Read French books, magazines, newspapers, blogs, etc.
The purpose of this exercise is to strengthen your reading comprehension and expand your vocabulary. Use a dictionary or translator app if you struggle to understand unfamiliar words or phrases. Books like Le Petit Prince or magazines such as Le Monde or Elle are good options to start with.
Find your area of interest, so that this part of your revision is a pleasure, not a chore.
While implementing these approaches, you need to keep in mind that your grammar and vocabulary learning efforts should match the requirements of your examination board. Here they are:
Pearson Edexcel specifications (page 33);
CAIE syllabus (page 19).
How to Improve Your IGCSE French Writing Skills
Mastering the art of writing is no easy task when it comes to language exams. It requires the ability to create clear and coherent texts that fulfill the task’s requirements, engage the intended audience, and adhere to specified formats. Moreover, you should be aware of common mistakes, which may impact your overall score. The following tips will help you enhance your writing skills and avoid those pitfalls:
Plan your writing.
Think about the topic, and then identify the purpose, format, as well as appropriate tone for your piece. After that, make a list of the main points and sub-points you wish to include. To organise your ideas effectively, you can use mind maps and spider diagrams.
Make your language richer and more diverse.
It is important to reduce repetition, whether it is vocabulary or grammar structures. To do so, try to learn and use synonyms, connectors, adjectives, adverbs, varied tenses, and moods. Thesauruses and grammar books can serve as valuable resources to make your language more flexible.
Practice reviewing your work.
Seek out spelling, punctuation, or grammatical errors, and correct them. It is also a good idea to let online tools check your spelling and grammar – BonPatron or Reverso will help you with that. Alternatively, you can ask someone who speaks French well to proofread your writing and provide feedback.
Regular writing practice is a must.
Write in French as much as possible, ideally, every day. Please keep in mind that the French course introduces various text formats – emails, letters, reports, reviews, stories, etc. – and you need to work with all of them. Past exam papers can show you examples of these diverse writing tasks. Make sure to use them in order to improve your ability to produce well-organised texts. Additionally, don’t be afraid to ask your IGCSE French tutor or teacher to evaluate your writing abilities.
How to Practice Your Listening and Speaking Skills
In any language exam, listening and speaking skills play a pivotal role in effective communication.
Being able to comprehend spoken French and respond appropriately is essential. Equally important is your ability to continue a conversation, as well as confidently express your opinions and ideas.
Here are some tips on how to practice and sharpen your listening and speaking skills:
Again, check out past exam papers to practice various speaking and listening tasks.
They will give you an idea of the exam format, question types, and topics. While listening, you should pay close attention to the context, accent, pronunciation, and tone of spoken content.
When it is your turn to speak, you can turn it into role plays: come up with questions and then prepare appropriate presentations and discussions.
Make speaking French an integral part of your daily life. You can practice speaking with classmates, friends, family members, online tutors, and anyone who has a good command of French. When having a dialogue with your study buddy, don’t be afraid to ask questions and discuss various topics. Also, you need to try different types of conversations – recommendations, dialogues, presentations, reviews, opinions, just to name a few.
Don’t have a revision partner?
Don’t worry – you can record yourself and self-assess your skills. This will help you fine-tune your pronunciation and fluency.
Explore various online tools (FluentU, LingQ, Speechling, etc.) to find authentic French videos or audio clips. Some of these platforms can even provide feedback from native speakers to highlight your strong sides and weak points.
How to Enhance Your Reading Comprehension
The ability to navigate through various texts and answer questions accurately is a testament to your language proficiency. Additionally, being able to translate texts from French to English, or vice versa, showcases your grasp of both languages. Here is how you can improve your reading comprehension and translation skills:
Indulge in extensive French reading.
Explore a wide array of texts that align with your level and personal interests. Books, magazines, newspapers, and websites are great resources you can take advantage of. Remember to read for pleasure, not just for studying.
Try out Readlang, LingoDeer, and others as a source of various French texts. These platforms also have interactive features (word definitions, audio pronunciations, quizzes, etc.) to facilitate your French reading experience.
Make use of predicting, skimming, scanning, inferring, and other reading strategies.
When reading texts, you are likely to meet unknown words and phrases. Before you look them up, try to guess their meaning with the help of such clues as titles, pictures, punctuation, and overall context.
Make translation practice a regular part of your study routine.
Translate texts from French into English or vice versa. You can find materials for such exercises in past papers as well as on online apps.
Try to be accurate and faithful to the original text while using natural and idiomatic language.
Online tools like Google Translate, DeepL, or Linguee can provide valuable assistance with translation tasks. However, you should use them carefully as they may produce incorrect or inappropriate translations.
How To Boost Your Fluency and Pronunciation
Pronunciation is not part of the assessment in your IGCSE French exam, but you still need to practice it well.
Your goal here is to sound natural and confident when you speak French. You don’t need to have a convincing accent (although that would be nice), but it is important to say French words and sounds clearly and correctly.
Pronunciation is especially challenging in French because it has a complex sound system, and even native speakers can make mistakes. Here are some tips on how to boost your pronunciation and fluency in French:
- When learning new words, pay attention to how they are spelled. In particular, you need to trace patterns between specific letters that form a word, and which sounds they make. The same approach will also help you with the writing component because ‘losing’ letters (especially vowels) or putting them in the wrong order are common mistakes among French learners.
- Listen to native speakers. Online services such as Forvo, YouGlish, or Rhinospike can provide access to materials involving native speakers pronouncing French words and sentences. This will help you get a feel for how French is pronounced naturally. It is also a good idea to listen to people with different French accents. Not only will this show you how different parts of the Francophone world use the same language but also help develop cultural understanding.
- Record yourself as you speak and compare your pronunciation with native speakers. You may notice some differences in the rhythm, emphasis, pronunciation, and overall flow. Your task is to work on these aspects to make your French sound more authentic.
- Tongue twisters and songs are a great way to improve your articulation and rhythm. They can also help you learn new vocabulary. You can find some examples of tongue twisters and songs on FluentU.
Last but not least, you MUST practice speaking French.
Do it as often as you possibly can. You can talk to others as long as they understand the language, and even to yourself. This is important to overcome the fear of speaking and, possibly, get feedback on your proficiency.
Don’t be afraid to make mistakes. Everyone makes mistakes when they’re learning a new language.
Ace Your IGCSE French Exam with Help
Preparing for your IGCSE French examination doesn’t have to be a daunting task. By implementing the strategies and techniques outlined in this article, you can effectively revise for each component of the exam – listening, reading, speaking, and writing.
Remember the importance of grammar and vocabulary as the foundation of your language skills, and explore engaging resources to make your revision process more enjoyable.
Still, you might feel the need for extra support and guidance. If that’s the case, TutorsPlus is here for you.
We pride ourselves on experienced tutors committed to helping you excel in your IGCSE French journey. To learn more, feel free to reach out to us at 022 731 8148 and email@example.com. With your dedication and our support, you can take your IGCSE French exam and achieve the grade you hope for.