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Work for French(SL) level 3 --> 6?

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Hi guys, first post here, sorry, etc etc.

 

I'm nearing the end of my first year of the IB diploma.  Mocks are in a month.  My current grades are:

 

Maths HL - 7

Physics HL - 6/7

Business HL - 7

English lang/lit SL - 6

Chemistry SL - 4

French SL - 3

Core  (TOK/EE)- 2

 

I'm interested in applying to Oxford/Cambridge, but am held back by a level 3 at French.  The requirement for application is at least all 6s (and I'm hoping for 777 at HL).  I have never been good at french, have had multiple tutors, but just don't *get* it.  I haven't tried enough to actually improve myself, but now that everything is so .. real, so soon, I want to work as much as possible on French.

 

 

My end goal is level 6 at French.  I know that this is extremely unlikely given my current circumstances, but I'm very dedicated and absolutely have the time right now to spend multiple hours a day studying.

 

Chemistry is 4 as of my report two months ago, but that was as I was taking it as one of my four highers (requirement for the first few terms at my school when taking Maths HL) and the workload was insane.  I have since moved it to SL, and my teacher has confidence that I'll be able to get 6/7 in it.

 

My question is:  Have any of you been in similar conditions with regards to French?  Do you have any advice to give me that could assist me, pointers of where to start, how to structure this?  I would absolutely love any thoughts you might have, from what I've seen reading old posts this forum is a great place to talk.

 

Thanks!

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Okay well it all depends on what in French is bringing you down. So what has your teacher told you or have you noticed that you need most work on?

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Okay well it all depends on what in French is bringing you down. So what has your teacher told you or have you noticed that you need most work on?

 

I'm just generally bad.  Small vocabulary, no idea how to conjugate verbs, etc etc.  It's not so much specific as it is lack of the basics (lived in multiple countries trying to learn multiple languages, learnt nothing at all).

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First I can tell you one thing to improve on your vocabulary. Quizlet.com make an account on that. There's SOOOO many french quizzes on the vocab for each unit, it's very handy. As for conjugation verbs, I suggest you find and use a bescherelle. If you need to learn HOW to conjugate verbs, I'll make a post with these few sheets that my friend had that might help :) 

 

If you need any help with french stuff, please don't hesitate to PM me either.

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First I can tell you one thing to improve on your vocabulary. Quizlet.com make an account on that. There's SOOOO many french quizzes on the vocab for each unit, it's very handy. As for conjugation verbs, I suggest you find and use a bescherelle. If you need to learn HOW to conjugate verbs, I'll make a post with these few sheets that my friend had that might help  :)

 

If you need any help with french stuff, please don't hesitate to PM me either.

 

I made a new topic in this same forum with pictures of the seven reference sheets :)

 

Thanks, I'll definitely give that a read.

 

A bescherelle looks interesting, I'm trying to memorize some of the tenses for etre+avoir at the moment.

 

How long do you think actual progress would take doing this?  I would probably spend 1-2 hours a day.

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Depends on how much application you do for what you learn. I'd suggest writing a paragraph on anything (maybe focus on each unit and write a different format) for each different tense you learn, and try to focus on the verbs you practiced on conjugating. 

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A bescherelle looks interesting, I'm trying to memorize some of the tenses for etre+avoir at the moment.

 

 

Ahh, okay so what I'd suggest is not to memorize how to conjugate each verb. But rather the conjugating rules for each tense. 

 

So for subjonctif, for example

 

conjugate the verb in present tense for ils and replace the -ent with 

 

je                -e

tu                -es

il/elle/on      -e

nous           -ions

vous           -iez

ils/elles       -ent

 

 

 

And then practice it with a whole bunch of verbs (suggestion: use quizlet and find verb lists for each unit and use those)

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A bescherelle looks interesting, I'm trying to memorize some of the tenses for etre+avoir at the moment.

 

 

Ahh, okay so what I'd suggest is not to memorize how to conjugate each verb. But rather the conjugating rules for each tense. 

 

So for subjonctif, for example

 

conjugate the verb in present tense for ils and replace the -ent with 

 

je                -e

tu                -es

il/elle/on      -e

nous           -ions

vous           -iez

ils/elles       -ent

 

 

 

And then practice it with a whole bunch of verbs (suggestion: use quizlet and find verb lists for each unit and use those)

 

Ahhh, thanks!

Where would I find a big table with all of them?  For every tense?

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No idea, I made my tables myself :P

 

I'd say you should do that too, it'll help you remember them and understand them better

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No idea, I made my tables myself :P

 

I'd say you should do that too, it'll help you remember them and understand them better

 

Alright, I'll do that.  Thanks!

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Anytime :) Glad to help

 

Do you have any idea of, if I worked 1-2 hours a day (3-4 hours a day on a weekend) it would take me to vastly improve (from 3 to 4/5/6)?

My overall goal at this is to improve, it would be interesting to measure progress.

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You're gonna need a crash course on verb conjugations. Luckily most tenses are fairly structured, you'll need to spend time on exceptions though. Make sure you start learning: Present, passé, imparfait, conditionnel, futur, subjonctiv and know all of these really well.

Then look into French culture for vocabulary e.g. read those picture books and revise the vocab you received in class FREQUENTLY or else you'll have no hope of remembering it for the exam!

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Personally, my writing improved drastically after starting to read French books. In fact, reading French books actually jumped me several levels, from a level 4 to a high 7 in regards to writing. Merely memorizing conjugations and vocabulary won't stick in your head, but if you read it in the context of a book, you get more absorbed into the story (which makes you remember it more), and see how all the grammar makes sense in the bigger picture. You also learn vocabulary on the way, and you just gain much more confidence and an intuitive sense of the language and culture.  Of course you'd still need to memorize all the conjugations and such, but grammar isn't the  highlight of the curriculum, it's how you apply the grammar in writing and speech.

 

So I would definitely try borrowing some French books from the library or even ask your French teacher for some if they have any. Try reading French books every day, and I'm sure you'll see a difference. I hope this helped, good luck!

Edited by chrisncal2
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It is all about practice, I would try to implement as much French language into your life as possible. It doesn't have to be reading a textbook or trying to memorise vocabulary or conjugations. (These are essential, but more important leading up to the examinations) Some methods you could try: reading books in French that you've already read in your native language, following the news (videos, radio, articles online), even listening to French music. Just try to immerse yourself in the language for some time on a daily basis, I feel consistent exposure will allow for a more holistic approach and familiarise you with the general structure and rhythm of the language. This is very useful for the oral component of the course, as good pronunciation and rhythm give a good first impression. Also for Paper 1, which is based on comprehension. (A great tool we used in class was the Apprendre le français avec TV5Monde, which allows you to listen to news articles and then complete tasks involving grammar and vocabulary)

 

For the WA and Paper 2 you need to crack down on grammar and vocabulary. As has been mentioned above, I would memorise the general conjugation rules for verbs, and to score brownie points, also some more complex ones. Another way of demonstrating your knowledge in the language includes the use of idioms, I would learn some for the WA/Orals/Paper 2. Even if your grammar isn't perfect, it shows that you know more than just basic vocabulary. 

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When I struggled with french, I used a website called www.babbel.com . You can register there for free and have a trial for one language. If you buy the subscription (not that much, I think it's about 60 Euro for an entire year) you can access many more exercises and activities that will help you improve your skills. You can start as a beginner, or skip the first few classes and do some harder stuff - so that you actually learn something new and not do something you did ages ago and you're pretty good at. Texts, letters, small-talk, conjugation - you name it!

 

You have activities to complete every day, but you can do more than one lesson if you wish to do so. I love this website because it doesn't only focus on writing, but also on speaking and pronouciation (you just need a built-in microphone, but it's something that most computers have nowadays anyway).

 

Note: I am in no way sponsored by this website, I just think it might really help you out :)

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