It is a good idea to be as prepared as possible for any GCSE exam you take, but none more so than for a language exam. Of course, during your GCSE French revision, you need to work on many different skills – you will be tested on speaking, listening, reading and writing. This makes revision for a language subject a unique challenge.
Fortunately, you can rise to it. In this blog, we have collated a set of GCSE French revision resources that will help you be prepared for the four assessment areas mentioned above. Let’s get started!
Before you start revising the content itself, it is a good idea to familiarise yourself with the syllabus. This government guideline is used by the exam boards to create their exams, so they set out exactly what you will be tested on. Of course, it’s also what your teachers use when deciding what to teach you. So, knowing it inside and out can only be a good thing; you will potentially learn inside knowledge that could improve your grade! See below for the GCSE French syllabus in full.
Numbers in French
If there’s one thing that’s certain to come up in a French exam, it’s numbers. For this reason, it is incredibly important that you are confident in this area of French. You will be expected to show that you can read numbers, write numbers, listen to numbers and speak numbers. In our downloadable resource below, you’ll find a guide to numbers in French, which covers all the little details and tricky areas of this vital topic. This is one of the most important GCSE French revision resources, so get as familiar as you can!
French internet vocab
Of course, there are innumerable words that could crop up when talking about the internet and social media. However, don’t let this put you off – you can use this to your advantage by using vocab that nobody else knows! Impress examiners by using technical and targeted vocab to do with Facebook and Twitter, by learning the words in the information pack below.
Steal these phrases!
Your teachers will have talked at length about making yourself ‘stand out’ from the other people taking the test. While this may have bored you to no end, of course it’s a good idea. A sure-fire way to do this in your writing assessment will be to use complex sentences with a variety of tenses. While this sounds difficult, there are several little phrases you can memorise to make this much easier. Have a look at the pack of useful little phrases, which will allow you to slot these magic phrases into your writing no trouble at all.
Mrs. Van der Tramp
As you will know, dealing with tenses can be very difficult in French. A particularly nasty element of this involves the perfect tense.
On the surface, the perfect tense in French seems to be the equivalent of the perfect tense in English, i.e. to explain what has happened, rather than simply ‘what happened’. For example, saying ‘I have played football’, rather than ‘I played football’ (the simple past tense). Although the French perfect tense is literally formed in the same way, in practice it is used much more commonly to describe past events, as the simple past tense is used in English.
The perfect tense is formed using an auxiliary verb and a past participle, where the auxiliary verb is the one that is conjugated, and the past participle remains unchanged. For the vast majority of verbs, the auxiliary is the verb ‘avoir’. For example, the phrase ‘I played’ in English will be ‘j’ai joué’, with ‘ai’ literally translating to ‘have’ and ‘joué’ (the past participle) to ‘played’. But, in practice, ‘j’ai joué’ means ‘I played’.
However, there are fourteen verbs that require the auxiliary to be the verb ‘être’. In other words, to form the perfect tense with these verbs, you must be used with ‘être’; they cannot use ‘avoir’. Sadly, some of the most important and common verbs are formed this way, so you must learn them. See the attached document for a walk-through.
The ‘complicated’ tenses
Still on the subject of tenses, you will need to show examiners that you can use more than the ‘simple’ tenses of the present, preterite, and perfect tenses. Unfortunately, this means that you will have to learn the imperfect, future, and conditional tenses. Luckily, we have created a crib sheet that will help you achieve just that. For imperfect tense perfection, have a look at the document below.
GCSE French Revision Resources
For even more GCSE French revision resources, follow the link to check out our very own revision guide, which is packed full of tips and tricks, grammar, and practice questions!
Also, have a look at our new French learning series on YouTube, which includes pronunciation guides on key, basic vocab.
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