Revision/Exam Tips: IB French ab initio
French is a particularly difficult language to master at any level. Here are a few tips to help you master IB French at ab initio level.
Studying IB French ab initio can be quite difficult, since you will be learning the language from scratch (or almost). Knowing how to tackle French from the first day will be a huge advantage, so here are a few things you can do to boost your French.
Learn, don’t memorise:
When studying a language at school, some people just try to memorise entire paragraphs and hope they can use them in the exam. But that’s the opposite of what you should be doing – you should learn the language if you want to do well. The best way to learn French is to immerse yourself in the language; you will have to speak, listen, read and write in French. And no, you don’t need to live in a French-speaking country to do so.
them to find out or define. You don’t need to memorise the exact definition, but make sure you study and understand every concept and technicality.
- Speaking: Practice speaking with your classmates, or, even better, with a friend who is in French B or A. It might be hard and your conversations won’t be great, but you can help each other and become more confident speakers. Of course, try to talk to your French teacher in French only – the point is to get your brain and mouth used to the difficult pronunciation.
- Listening: Listen to songs in French with lyrics, watch videos in French, and if you are confident enough, try watching a movie or a show in French. Put on subtitles, since the point is that you begin understanding what is going on. As you become more confident, switch the subtitle language to French so that you can relate how words are spelt and how they are pronounced – which is vital, since many French words are pronounced very differently from how they are spelt.
- Reading: Try to read children’s books in French. If you consider yourself too mature for that, remember that several literary classics have been adapted for children – so check those out for a more interesting read with words you will understand. If reading books isn’t for you, you can search online for news for children in French, which will keep you both up to date with current events and your French studies.
- Writing: Your teacher will surely give you loads of written tasks to practise, but if you want to go the extra mile then you could keep a journal and write about your day, or anything you’d like, in French. Start with simple sentences and gradually add what you learn in school. You will make loads of mistakes, so it is important for you to try to proofread what you write and find mistakes. If your teacher is willing to proofread your journal, then take advantage of that opportunity.
French grammar is very complicated, so learning all its tricks can be difficult. To help you study, write/highlight using different colours. For example, write male nouns in blue, female ones in red, and so on. This will make you more aware of how French is written, and let’s admit it, it will make your writing look more jazzy and exciting.
This is the rule nobody likes to follow, but it’s essential with languages. Revise as often as possible. As mentioned earlier, as long as you read or watch videos in French, you will be revising. You don’t need to sit down in front of a textbook!
It’s very important for you to understand the format of exams and what each paper asks of you, so you should practice with past papers before exams. Paper 1 is all about understanding texts, so familiarise yourself with the different format and writing styles these texts come in. You will be writing your own texts in Paper 2, so make sure you know what to include in every format they might ask you (for example, if you need to write a letter, don’t forget to write the address).
If you follow these tips, you will put yourself in a great position. Enjoy this wonderful language, and bonne chance!