When it comes to setting yourself up for success, think about the space you’re in, the resources you are using, and the time you are allocating. This guide helps you build up good study practices in small, manageable steps. Different subjects will require different ways in which to study. In regards to the French exams, this study guide focuses on revising your listening and reading skills. While there are plenty of tips and tricks to improve your abilities, the French grammar rules are tricky little beasts. This is where time allocation is key because if you don’t know them, then you’re in a tough spot.
Set up a dedicated NCEA French exam revision space
When you are studying, it is important to create a proactive space. Ideally, you will be able to find an area relatively clutter-free and big enough for you to spread out a bit. Adding on to that wish list, natural light and warmth help to keep you focused. If that is proving to be a bit difficult, head to the local library. There are dedicated study spaces that are clutter-free, can be located in quiet or chatting zones, are warm, have good lighting, and have free internet and computers for you to use. If you are using devices, now is the time to go dark.
Log off social media sites and turn off your notifications. There is a reason people stay signed in, often we go on social media sites whenever we feel a slight tinge of boredom. Luckily making things more annoying, for example, having to fill in your password, can stop us from getting stuck on the never-ending scroll button. Cellphones are another rabbit hole we go down. A quick fix is to put your phone on silent and leave it in your bag, or even better, a different room. Try to keep it out of your study space. If you want to go look at it, stay in the other room. Usually, laziness gets the better of us and eventually, we can’t be bothered going to the other room.
Here is a complete guide to NCEA French exam.
It can take a while to disconnect depending on how much time you spend on your phone. But it will be worth it. What about study music? Music can be super helpful, if you have a laptop, play music through that. If you use your phone, hide it under paper face down so you can’t physically see it even if the screen lights up. French revision requires attention, so if you want to have music playing, lofi is a good option. Choose music that is calming and doesn’t have anyone speaking.
If we hear words, it attracts our attention and distracts us from revising properly. We half-listen to the song and half read the paper. Which usually just ends in a whole lot of confusion. Music is best used when we are rewriting or re-organising our notes. These suggestions are not for everyone, so find what works for you. If you study best in silent areas or need a bit of background noise, move into those spaces. Even sitting outside can be a great place to study. Sun, fresh air, warm weather, revising the difference between l’imparfait, le future simple, and le conditionnel, what isn’t there to like?
How to revise for your NCEA French exam
With paper and pens. There are a few other things you can use as well. Bring together your notes from over the year and create a revision plan, dedicate a bit of time revising different things. For example, spend 10 minutes revising vocabulary related to a certain theme. This could be going on holiday or talking about your hobbies. Breaking your vocabulary lists into sections is a lot easier than trying to revise words randomly. Within the French exams, some or all of the questions let you choose which languages you want to respond in. The reading comprehension exam allows you to respond in te reo Māori, French or English. But the written extracts are in French.
This is where good time allocation skills come in. Depending on how you have found learning the vocabulary and grammar in French correlates to how much time you need to spend revising. If you have found the vocabulary a bit tricky, then give yourself more time to study. Avoid cramming as it makes us stressed when we try to overload our brains with all this information in a short space of time. Remember why you took French in the first place. Passing the exam is a short term goal, remember the long term one. The aim is to be able to engage with people in another language. A great resource to use is past exam papers.
You can use the booklets to read through different written texts that have been used over the years. They have been designed to be at your corresponding level. They give you a good idea of where you might need to revise a bit more. If you find a text difficult, read another. If you are having problems with that one as well, try to find where the problem is. Is it because you don’t understand certain words, or are you not sure of the general theme of the text? If the problem is with certain words, brush up on your vocab in relation to that subject. If you have problems with understanding the general idea of the texts, take it one sentence at a time. Find the words you do know and work backwards from there. It may mean you need to revise certain words, especially verbs and auxiliary verbs. They can change their form drastically depending on who the verb is connected to.
A good example is the conjugation of the word aller; je vais, tu vas, il va, nous allons, vous allez, ils vont. Tricky and a tad illogical stuff, but very important to understand. Knowing the conjugations is also important for the listening section. There are audio clips used in past exams available online as well. These clips will not be used again so the aim is to understand the theme or main ideas in the clip and be able to identify and allocate certain opinions and feelings expressed by certain people. Another resource to use is TV5monde. It is a television network that brings French to the world. The site allows you to watch and listen to clips at your level. The NCEA system mostly aligns Level 1 with A1, Level 2 with A2, and Level 3 with B1.
Where to start when revising French grammar.
Conjugations. Seriously, it is the base on which a lot of grammar is built off. Want to know how to use le future simple, know your conjugation. What about le conditionnel? Conjugation. Imparfait? Conjugation. As you know, the verbs are grouped into categories. You already know how to do this. Think of the word break, we change it into breaks, broke, broken and breaking. To be fair, English is a little easier as we don’t change all words according to who it is about (always exceptions; I run, she runs, they run).
The er group (1e) is easy to master, it is the second (2e) and third (3e) group which are tricky. To learn the 2e group, you can cluster words together as they follow similar rules. The 3e group just does its own thing. You have to learn these by heart. A good revision tool is to create a colourful poster for your 2e group verbs, and flashcards for your 3e group. There are a lot of verbs in French, so be picky about which ones you learn. Focus on your high-frequency words such as être, aller, avoir, faire, pouvoir for level 1. For level 2 and Level 3, you can use the same concept for learning the different times and modes. Make your flashcards interesting to look at, bright colours, different coloured papers, whatever you have lying around your home to make them more visually attractive.
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Different ways to revise for your NCEA French exam
There are many different tools available online, such as quizzes, explanations, and even a guide on how to tackle French exam questions. What works for one person may not be right for another, so experiment. Arrange study sessions as a group and individually. Group study sessions are great for getting guidance, solving problems, and can make studying a bit more enjoyable. If you are after a bit more, Superprof connects you to a wide range of tutors who are available online or in-person to help you improve your skills. They can help find and fill in gaps in your knowledge, prepare you for your exams, focus on pronunciation (with a special focus on that r), and more. Get in touch with a tutor today.
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