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French B HL with 3 yrs of prior learning?

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Hi everyone!

As I'm starting my IB program in, like, two weeks, I'd like to know more about the French B HL course from those of you who are currently attending it, or who've already graduated.

I've been studying French for three years, have been to Paris multiple times and if I wanted, I could easily involve myself a little more in french culture, as I have various relatives who live in France and are fluent french speakers.
During the past three years, however, I have not studied french at all (in fact, I have started studying french about six years ago, studied it for three years and then stopped for three years when I got into what in Italy is called "Liceo").

Do you think my background is too weak to study French at HL?
Oh, and I am also an Italian native speaker, so at first I assumed it wouldn't be too hard for me to learn another Romance language, but now I'm not so sure... Italian is very similar to french imo.

What is your opinion?

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In my opinion, French B HL is a bit of a stretch. Any subject at a higher level (even if it's a second language) indicates a need for proficiency. I have no doubt that your French is good. However I feel as if taking French B higher will test you quite a bit. Especially because you have learned it consistently. Am guessing it depends on how much time your willing to put into it.

You work hard enough you will get grade you want. But remember there are 5 other subjects (with CAS and TOK and EE) I assume so you also want to great at. So is it really smart to challenge yourself with this?

It all comes down to this ---- How important is French to you? Is a must for you to do it (think about your career)?

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I have to say I agree with the above post. Even though you've already studied French for three years, you've had a gap in which I'm presuming you haven't spoken/studied much French. Although it is true to say that Italian and French are similar in many aspects, it may still be a bit of a challenge. However, that will also depend on multiple factors, such as how good your teacher is and how much time you're able to spend on it – since you have 4 HLs, (two of which are maths and physics, famously known to be rather time consuming with demanding syllabi) you should consider how you are going to divide your time between your subjects.

One option that you could consider would be to take French B HL at first and then if you find that you have too much on your plate, you could drop down to SL later on in the course. I know that there is a big difference between the HL and SL syllabus, so I would maybe recommend looking them up on the internet and comparing them.

Good luck! :D

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In my opinion, French B HL is a bit of a stretch. Any subject at a higher level (even if it's a second language) indicates a need for proficiency. I have no doubt that your French is good. However I feel as if taking French B higher will test you quite a bit. Especially because you have learned it consistently. Am guessing it depends on how much time your willing to put into it.

You work hard enough you will get grade you want. But remember there are 5 other subjects (with CAS and TOK and EE) I assume so you also want to great at. So is it really smart to challenge yourself with this?

It all comes down to this ---- How important is French to you? Is a must for you to do it (think about your career)?

I have to say I agree with the above post. Even though you've already studied French for three years, you've had a gap in which I'm presuming you haven't spoken/studied much French. Although it is true to say that Italian and French are similar in many aspects, it may still be a bit of a challenge. However, that will also depend on multiple factors, such as how good your teacher is and how much time you're able to spend on it – since you have 4 HLs, (two of which are maths and physics, famously known to be rather time consuming with demanding syllabi) you should consider how you are going to divide your time between your subjects.

One option that you could consider would be to take French B HL at first and then if you find that you have too much on your plate, you could drop down to SL later on in the course. I know that there is a big difference between the HL and SL syllabus, so I would maybe recommend looking them up on the internet and comparing them.

Good luck! :D

Thank you both for your helpful replies.
Well, I am studying french mainly because I like languages in general, but also because one day I'd like to travel; also I've heard french is vastly required at many workplaces for comp programming, which is what I want to do in the future.

Yeah, my schedule, I presume, will be a bit of a burden to me..
I'll see how it goes for the first two months or so, and if I just can't keep up with my workload I'll drop down to french SL. I've checked out the online guide for IB B languages and it hasn't helped me much, I guess I'll have to wait until school starts and try out my subjects first hand.

Edited by vals
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Short advise: try some Papers 1 (both in SL and HL), in English the difference is visible so possibly it's similar with French and may help you get some idea about the level of difficulty. Also, think how advanced your speaking abilities are: can you give your opinion on some controversial topics like abortion, ecological stuff and describe the picture? These are the tasks you'll be given. If you do well in P1 and speaking you should deal with the higher level.

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Short advise: try some Papers 1 (both in SL and HL), in English the difference is visible so possibly it's similar with French and may help you get some idea about the level of difficulty. Also, think how advanced your speaking abilities are: can you give your opinion on some controversial topics like abortion, ecological stuff and describe the picture? These are the tasks you'll be given. If you do well in P1 and speaking you should deal with the higher level.

My speaking is, how can I say, rusty? I haven't been practising french for ages... I have a good pronounciation, though, a remnant of the good ol' french days.
Although my vocab is not too extensive, my reading skills are quite good imo. I coped well with the texts featured in some of the past papers I found online, considering I haven't applied myself to the language for years. Of course, my teachers may not be of the same opinion. :')
I could've taken Delf junior while I was studying french, dunno if this is a pro or plain embarassing.
Hopefully it will all come back to me once I take it up.
But then again, I still have two more years to get ready for the papers, so does it really matter how alarming my position is at the moment?
Now I'm reading two short books designed for younger learners (niveaux A1 and A2... too easy), should I move onto some more consistent texts?
Thank you for your reply.

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Hi everyone!

As I'm starting my IB program in, like, two weeks, I'd like to know more about the French B HL course from those of you who are currently attending it, or who've already graduated.

I've been studying French for three years, have been to Paris multiple times and if I wanted, I could easily involve myself a little more in french culture, as I have various relatives who live in France and are fluent french speakers.

During the past three years, however, I have not studied french at all (in fact, I have started studying french about six years ago, studied it for three years and then stopped for three years when I got into what in Italy is called "Liceo").

Do you think my background is too weak to study French at HL?

Oh, and I am also an Italian native speaker, so at first I assumed it wouldn't be too hard for me to learn another Romance language, but now I'm not so sure... Italian is very similar to french imo.

What is your opinion?

go for it.. it will take lots of practice but i think you can do good if you practice from the beginning of your course..

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I actually think you should be fine. Technically Language B is for those who have studied a language for 2 years, so 3 years is enough. Seeing as HL have many more lessons over 2 years than SL, if you put enough work in I actually think you have nothing to worry about. I'd go for it. I did SL Spanish off 3 years worth of learning and got a 7 - I reckon if you have the extra lessons you get in HL and have a similar background, there's no reason you can't achieve the same thing.

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Hi! I am doing HL french and SL Italian and I can tell you that there is quite a big difference between the two. Although you are probably more than capable of doing HL french it might mean that you have to work at it a lot more than other subjects. And although looking at past papers is a good idea, you also need to be aware that the past papers aren't everything. For example, do you think you are capable of reading an entire french novel and then writing up to 750 words on it (for the WA)?

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Hi! I am doing HL french and SL Italian and I can tell you that there is quite a big difference between the two. Although you are probably more than capable of doing HL french it might mean that you have to work at it a lot more than other subjects. And although looking at past papers is a good idea, you also need to be aware that the past papers aren't everything. For example, do you think you are capable of reading an entire french novel and then writing up to 750 words on it (for the WA)?

Malheureusement, my subjects won't allow me to fully dedicate myself to only one of them, esp. when French was pictured as an easy 7 in my mind, back when I had to choose my Group 6 subject. I also have Maths HL and English A2 HL to worry about. I was just wondering if these three all together woudln't have been too much.

I am not even completely aware of what one does exactly do during French B lessons. For example, do you concentrate more on grammar, or group discussions, or what...?

Two more weeks and my doubts will poof, hopefully :)

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Bonjour! :)

Our French SL and HL class is combined, and I think it's really helpful for the SL students because they get to hear slightly better pronunciation (from the HL students) and are forced to speak more in French, because they want to follow the HL students' examples. The great thing about my teacher is that she forces all of us, SL as well as HL, to check out a French novel from the library each semester. So, we all kind of hated it in pre-IB, but now that exams are coming up we constantly thank her for challenging us that way.

I do think that French students at my school are luckier than in many other schools because the IB students have one teacher from 9th-12th grades, my teacher :) People who transfer in in junior year (11th grade) might be at a slight disadvantage, though.

I think you said you wanted a description of what HL French is like? I'm not sure about the rest of the world or even the US, but for my high school, our teacher is so engaged in teaching the language - she'll choose excerpts from plays and have us act them out; we'll have food days where we learn more about the historical background and cultural traditions of France; she'll play French songs in the background during work time; there's a monthly project we do concerning Francophone news etc. Even better, we never have to take notes in class, either! Sometimes it's hard to understand 100% of what she's saying since she speaks really quickly in French for the entire class. However, she also acts out what she's speaking so we can figure it out.

I agree with the above poster on getting a past HL P1, because my French teacher gave me one at the end of last year and since I got a (very low) 5, she suggested I do HL. I have two more years to better my French at any rate, and so do you from the looks of it - go 2015! :) Previous years' French B test-takers say that the SL/HL class I'm in was actually one of their most relaxed classes because everyone was so good at that point.

Your speaking is probably a ton better than mine, so the advice I'll give is that once you finish reading a French novel, write several paragraphs on the themes you can find within it (like Lang A heh) and have your teacher correct it. It also helps if you have several writing assignments throughout the year. Another tip is to read French news on the Internet (like lemonde.fr) and listen to French radio (RFI).

Hope this helps! (Wow that was long-winded. I'm sorry. :/)

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Thanks, guys!
Eventually I went for French SL, not just because my school didn't offer it at HL, but also because I realised it'd be way too challenging.
Math, Bio and Biz&Mgm at HL is enough, I guess (:

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