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French B SL: how was your experience with this subject?

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Dear students,

How hard was french B SL?

Did you sometimes find yourself staring at your comprehensions not understanding a word? In my school, it's extremely hard (even at SL). Is it really very hard?

Thank you!!

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Given four years of study, IB Language B's shouldn't be too difficult. You're expected to read and write, with recognition of pretty much most grammar, and production involving semi-complicated constructions. I really don't think that's too bad, but sure, the vocabulary can be a lot. However, if you put in the time–like any other subject, you'll do well. That really holds true with any Language B.

 

Independent activities (like watching movies, podcasts, books, even music) with any Language B will elevate you and you'll improve as classmates stagnate. 

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To be honest I watched french TV and and listened to French radio almost everyday for a year and it didn't help very much (except maybe a bit for the orals, but they worth not nearly as much as writing). You practice reading by reading; practice writing by writing. There is no way around it. It would be quite unfortunately if you did not have access to a wide variety of French books because you need to find books at your reading level. I think a good level is after the first few pages (which may introduce words specific to the book and otherwise rarely used), 90% of words and 95% of sentence structure that are familiar, are at suitable reading level. That should yield a pace at which you mostly can just guess the meaning without having to look up every word. 

Personally it was difficult when we went all over the place: learning grammar, vocab, idiomatic expressions, writing formats. It got easier when we were more focused on just writing or just orals. 

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I'm doing French B right now and frankly, I hate it. I don't hate French itself - I've been studying it for 9 years now but for me personally, IB French (SL) is just a tad too much.

I feel like its almost super overwhelming, because French has so many components to it and there's so much IB wants us to know. 

The comprehensions stress me out. During practice comprehension tests, I always add too many words or too little; for the Orals, I can hardly formulate a sentence in English so I don't know how I'm gonna it in French. Many of my friends dropped out of the program after going through pre-IB French because they didn't think they'd do well with it.

Everybody has their own opinion but it all depends on your prior French knowledge and if you really enjoy the language and course. 

Good luck! <3

Edited by saarad_

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9 hours ago, saarad_ said:

I'm doing French B right now and frankly, I hate it. I don't hate French itself - I've been studying it for 9 years now but for me personally, IB French (SL) is just a tad too much.

I feel like its almost super overwhelming, because French has so many components to it and there's so much IB wants us to know. 

The comprehensions stress me out. During practice comprehension tests, I always add too many words or too little; for the Orals, I can hardly formulate a sentence in English so I don't know how I'm gonna it in French. Many of my friends dropped out of the program after going through pre-IB French because they didn't think they'd do well with it.

Everybody has their own opinion but it all depends on your prior French knowledge and if you really enjoy the language and course. 

Good luck! <3

I wouldn't worry about adding too many or too few words. That's really common, and as you do more tests you get better at identifying about how long the written justification should be. I know I did. And you're clearly comprehending the text, so that's good. Also, some examiners are lenient. 

As for the oral, if you practice, that should help. I really just assumed that you guys were doing lots of writing in class because we always did in my Spanish HL, ditto with reading. But a lot of people don't get to practice as much with speaking. To prepare for my oral, I downloaded an app called HelloTalk to talk with native speakers (really not necessary, only if you want to go above and beyond) and I practiced a few times by using google images and typing in "health" of "family"; things like that, which is quite easy and what I'd recommend in general. If you can, get a friend whose good at French to then ask you questions after your initial speaking period so that it is as much like the oral as possible.

A few other general tips for the oral: Only briefly describe the image, and don't feel the need to go into detail. I know that it can be really hard to say that the cup is on top of the table behind the bread and in front of the old man. So don't waste your time too much with that and just talk about your experience with family, meals, in general.

Also, if you find yourself struggling to construct a phrase for about ten seconds or more, just forget about it and move on. It's okay if you don't know how to say something.

Lastly, when your teacher asks you questions, let him/her speak and do not actually answer until he/she is done speaking. This will give you lots of time to think of an answer as we normally understand what a person is asking us before they actually finish speaking. So instead of starting to talk as you normally would do in conversation, let the teacher carry on and use those precious seconds to think. Some teachers will even be elaborate and restate things in different ways so that you have more time to think. 

Good luck.

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