Having another language in your skill tool belt is indispensable. It could be argued as one of the most important and impressive skills in navigating the big wide world. But lets not get ahead of ourselves. First we have to sit our GCSE exam.
In this article we are going to walk you through what to expect in your French listening exam and how to practice efficiently to help you achieve the best grade possible
GCSE listening practice french
Following the AQA exam specifications the French GCSE listening exam consist of two sections. Of course consult your exam centre to find your exam board and specification variation.
The listening exam raw marks are out of 40 for Foundation and 50 for Higher and are scaled to 60 at the end. The listening part is worth 25% of the French examination. The test is assessed during the exam period in a written examination that is externally marked by AQA examiners. It is divided into 2 parts:
Section A: The reading comprehension is assessed using a variety of verbal recordings, instructions in English and non-verbal answers.
Section B: The reading comprehension is assessed using a variety of recordings, with instructions in French and verbal answers in French and English.
How to improve French listening GCSE
A key point to remember when preparing for your GCSE exams, especially language exams, is that memorising does not equal understanding.
Often language listening exams require you to answer questions based on what you just heard. If you don't understand the key word, it helps to use your knowledge of the words around it to help find the answer. This is a skill that comes from understanding rather than memorising.
So how can you revise?
1. Listen to as much French as possible
TV, radio, films, series, music, YouTube videos whatever sources of media you use. Listening to a range of spoken French, accents, vocabulary and dialect will give you a well rounded understanding of a language. It also puts you in a great position for the different accents you could come across in your GCSE exam.
2. Practice makes perfect
There are many past exams and the corresponding audio in the archives of your exam board. Find your exam board and try doing a listening paper yourself. Minimise any distractions and try your best to mimic exam conditions. This will help give you an idea of what to expect in the actual exam. You can understand they way the questions are laid out, how much time you have to answer between audio clips and if there are any areas you may need to spend more time revising, such as numbers or dates, which are always great questions for getting stuck on sometimes!
3. Recognise and understand onomatopoeia, crutch-words and language mannerisms
“Boom! Crac! Paf! Plouf! pffff ! Oualala! “Are examples of onomatopoeia that mark any type of speech and can therefore appear in the oral comprehension exercise of a French language test. If you have never heard some of these words before in French, it can be easy to mistake it for an actual word and loose the meaning of a sentence. Onomatopoeias are different in every language, so it is important to know the ones that are commonly used in French. Moreover, authentic and spontaneous speeches regularly have what are called crutch-words or language mannerisms in them; they are phrases without real content that sometimes just allow us to catch our breath. We use them all the time in English without even realising. Have you ever heard someone use the words 'literally' or 'like' a zillion times. Often it adds no context to what the person is saying, but rather allows the brain to catch up with the mouth.
In French : « heu, en fait, du coup, et donc, enfin bon voilà quoi, … » are similar to “er, mmmm, well you know, see?”. Or even more complete sentences such as: “full stop” or “You know what I mean“. Use these expressions as time to think.
4. Ask for extra help if you feel you need it
Extra tuition is nothing to shy away from. In fact, it is probably one of the more admirable and useful tools to help you pass your GCSE exams. At GCSE online courses we offer additional resources and teaching tools with real teachers to help you get a better understanding of French. Check out our website and our other articles on French GCSE exams and revision tips to give you a helping hand.
5. Global context
It can be easy to feel lost if you forget or don't understand the meaning of a word and very easy to get yourself into a flap. Break your French GCSE revision practice down into manageable 'topic' chunks, rather than trying to memorise every word. For example, spend a couple hours looking over any information you have on 'the weather', 'sports and hobbies' 'relationships', or maybe 'healthy living'. This way, if a you hear a question in the exam, and you can't decipher the meaning, using global context will allow you to take an educated guess by using the surrounding words and context, tone of voice and any other information you may already understand to help you answer the question.
For more help and information about French GCSE exams 2022, or additional resources, head to our website GCSE online courses.