Tips on the French Letter/ Postcard/ Note.
The French Letter/Postcard/Note carries more points than any other section of the exam, and with the right mindset and knowledge, it is very easy to get excellent marks. This part of the exam is actually a lot more straightforward than people seem to think, and here are a few tips to help you excel in your exam and avoid making easily preventable mistakes.
- Include everything that you are asked to include in the question: This may seem obvious to most people, but you will be docked a lot of marks if you leave out any points that you are asked to mention in the question. If you do not know how to say one of the points then pick the other letter, even if you have more vocabulary suited to the other one. If you leave out a point you will immediately lose marks. Just get the points down first, then you can focus on adding in a few extras to give a bit of flavour to your work.
- The layout is key: Again, this may seem basic but you can lose a substantial amount of marks for not having the right layout in your letter. And here are the key things to remember:
- In the letter or postcard try to include the place you are writing from, followed by the date in the top right corner.
- Start your letter with Cher – Male, or Chère – Female followed by the name of the person you are writing to. In the postcard, you could also use words like ‘Salut’ but stick with Cher for the letter.
- In the letter or postcard, Include an introduction and conclusion paragraph if possible, you can learn these off before the exam.
- Sign off at the end of the letter by writing ‘Amitiés’ followed by your name.
- In the note Include the day and time in the top corner.
- Again, in the note try to have an introduction and conclusion to maximise your marks.
- Don’t write something that you aren’t sure about: Don’t take any risks, remember that quality beats quantity. Stick with the basics, don’t try to use fancy sentences that you have not learned or are unsure about as you will be penalised. It’s as simple as that. If you feel you don’t have enough vocab, see JC-Learn for brilliant notes and exam answers.
- Phrases, Phrases, and more Phrases: These are key to getting maximum marks in this part of the test. Focus on learning generic phrases and terms that can be used in most letters. When it comes to the exam, write down as many phrases as you can providing they make some sense in context to what you are writing about. Phrases are great to add a bit of bulk to your work and are very rewarding. As well as this, when using phrases you can be 100% confident that they are correct French as they have been sourced from your teacher, textbook etc. Remember that you won’t lose marks for including too many phrases!
- Verbs: I believe that verbs separate the boys from the men and decide between A’s and B’s in the French exam. You are expected to know how to use and conjugate verbs at this stage and you will be penalised otherwise. Learn to use as many verbs as possible in all of the different tenses to impress the examiner and broaden what you can say. After all, there is a verb in every sentence! By not knowing verbs you will find yourself very restricted in what you can write, and if you misspell or misplace a verb you will lose a fairly hefty amount of marks.
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