How will you grasp French? A technique is to set your self the purpose of passing the French fluency check, a.okay.a. reaching C1 or C2 stage. I’ll clarify extra about that in a second.
My important deal with this weblog is the right way to get began in language studying. Getting began is without doubt one of the largest hurdles for a lot of language learners, which is why I’ve maintained this focus.
Nonetheless, on this put up, I’ll make it easier to discover the right way to attain superior ranges of talking a language.
This put up is focused at these of you who’ve already reached an intermediate stage in your language studying. I’ll present you the way I handed the C1 French examination.
On the European Frequent Framework (CEFR), C1 means a language to an superior stage.
(In case you’re not aware of CEFR Ranges, right here’s the proper article to catch up.)
Reaching C1 means you’ll be able to perceive lengthy, demanding texts, communicate fluently with out looking for expressions, and perceive implicit meanings. You may also use the language for enterprise and tutorial functions.
Past that, this can be a enjoyable stage to succeed in as a language learner, since at this stage you’ll be able to perceive sly or delicate jokes, and also you’ll know many of the vibrant expressions within the language.
The one stage above C1 is C2 – full mastery.
French is the primary language that I sat a proper examination in, again in 2005, after I tried out the DELF B2 stage examination. B2 is an higher intermediate stage (what I normally name “fluent”), immediately under C1.
On the time I took this examination, I had no thought what every stage meant.
I labored very exhausting on my French for over three months. Because it turned out, I used to be greater than able to speaking at B2 stage and handed the examination very safely. After this, I lived in one other French talking area and labored as knowledgeable translator in French for a number of years. This concerned studying many technical paperwork and essentially making certain a mastery stage within the language.
Ever since I mastered French, I’ve meant to come back again to it and take a proper CEFR examination. Over the previous decade, I’ve sat the Spanish C2 examination and German C2 examination, so I’ve bought a a lot higher understanding of what the completely different CEFR ranges imply.
But 10 years handed and I stored laying aside formal French exams… Till now!
I had a chaotic journey itinerary (by no means in the identical place for quite a lot of weeks), which made it troublesome to rearrange to take a seat a real certification examination.
As such, I made a decision to do a “mock” examination. It will be marked and corrected by knowledgeable French instructor – and native French speaker. And I’d sit it beneath related circumstances as the true factor.
This fashion I may take the examination at a time handy for me. It wouldn’t contain me travelling to an official examination centre, because the complete examination could be performed over Skype or offline in a restricted time.
Clearly, I wouldn’t be awarded any precise certificates. However this was a private fairly than skilled purpose, so sitting a mock French fluency examination appeared infinitely extra handy.
In case you too would really like the problem of taking an examination however can’t essentially afford the associated fee or journey to the examination web site… I extremely recommend you take into account taking a mock examination as an alternative!
Since I assessed my skill as someplace between C1 and C2, I made a decision to take it one step at a time and deal with getting a strong C1.
I noticed the mock examination as a strong milestone. As soon as I’d handed it, I deliberate to take a proper C2 examination after I’d settled down from all my travelling.
I grew up in Eire the place “mock exams” are a part of each highschool scholar’s life. In these mock exams, the outcomes weren’t the principle focus. Slightly, the exams acted as gauges for a way the true examination would feel and appear.
I discovered my mock exams extremely useful in determining the right way to greatest strategy exams. I discovered to verify I used to be giving every part of the examination sufficient time. It’s a quite common downside for test-takers.
The mock exams helped to focus on my weaknesses. Additionally they revealed the grade I may count on from the true examination if I did no additional work.
Due to my highschool expertise with mock exams, I now advise all language learners to aim their very own mock exams. That is particularly related should you’re planning to get a certificates in language proficiency.
Many examination boards assist you to obtain earlier examination papers from their web site. Right here is the one which I sat for French.
In case you need assistance discovering an examination paper, ask your language tutor. I discover most of my lecturers on italki.
(In case you’re curious, right here’s how I choose my lecturers).
You actually need to get one among their “skilled lecturers” that can assist you with an examination. They are usually licensed and are more likely to be aware of the very examination you’ll be taking. They might even have expertise of marking examination papers.
My instructor, Léa, was a part of a small community of French lecturers on the web site Léacafé. She helped me by way of the complete strategy of the mock examination. She additionally identified what I needed to work on to succeed in C2 stage.
Even with mock exams, it’s necessary to arrange correctly. So even should you see it as a easy preparation for the “actual” examination, you continue to want to arrange for the preparation!
For every a part of the mock examination – listening, studying, writing and talking – I attempted to prepare as greatest as I may prematurely.
To follow for the oral comprehension part, I listened to French newscasters and YouTube movies along with my instructor, Léa. Then Léa would ask me advanced questions on what I’d simply heard.
That is precisely how the comprehension part works on C-level exams, whereas the A and even B stage audio comprehension exams may merely contain selecting a phrase out of what you heard.
As soon as, as an illustration, Léa confirmed me a YouTube video of a bunch of teenage women arguing and yelling at one another all on the similar time. She then requested me to “merely” summarize the video in my very own phrases.
It was a brain-melting job as a result of they have been utilizing a lot of slang, talking very quick and speaking over each other. However typically these brain-melting duties are simply what it’s essential stage up your language expertise.
Since I focus a lot on talking within the early levels of my language studying, my listening comprehension tends to be weaker. Within the examination, I may simply get the gist of the audio, however the questions requested at C1 stage require you to totally perceive each side of what’s being mentioned.
I didn’t do properly on this part, so although I “handed” the remainder of the examination, I wouldn’t have handed the total examination as a result of I’d have failed this part. This meant I needed to sit a second mock model of this part.
As we weren’t doing the complete examination directly, however one part at a time till I had it proper, I did one other oral comprehension check and this time remained centered. I took cautious notes on all the pieces that was mentioned, and nearly handed.
I additionally had an issue with audio comprehension in my German C2 examination. This tells me that I would like to provide a a lot greater proportion of my time to listening comprehension and tuning my ear after I wish to attain a C1 or C2 stage.
Sadly I’m a bit exhausting of listening to, in order that doesn’t assist. However, I’ll proceed to work on my listening comprehension in all my languages.
To prepare for the C2 French examination, I spent loads of time listening to the upper ranges of the Frenchpod101 classes.
As soon as once more, on the C-levels this begins to get actually difficult as it’s essential perceive the delicate cues that the creator is providing you with.
The questions are very removed from asking you to discover a easy truth within the textual content. Even the a number of alternative choices go away you questioning how the article explicitly says any of the choices.
One of the simplest ways by far to do properly right here is thru a lot of studying.
I had been having fun with Jules Verne novels of their unique French. Proud as I used to be about this truth, you’ll be able to think about how I felt after I noticed them marked as B1 stage books in Gibert Jeune in Paris!
Which means I needed to up my sport lots.
I had a subscription to Le Monde that I learn as typically as I may, but it surely’s not as partaking as I like.
I recognised that I wanted to make use of a studying device like Readlang and correctly notice exhausting phrases. I may additionally use C1/C2 stage train books that ask questions after the textual content to check my true comprehension.
In the long run, I barely bought sufficient factors on this part, and wish to enhance it dramatically if a C2 stage studying comprehension examination was on the horizon.
Within the CEFR exams, talking and writing are known as “oral and written manufacturing”.
My language studying strategy all the time favours interplay with individuals, so that is the part of the examination the place I all the time shine. Within the mock exams I bought 88% for written manufacturing and 90% for oral manufacturing.
I like practising my talking expertise, and after I’m practising I be sure that the dialog goes in the direction of advanced discussions.
Léa and I’ve had many fascinating debates on all kinds of subjects. I’ve additionally given her the within view on the technical workings of my enterprise and web site.
What’s extra, after I was in France my pc broke down. I needed to work with a tech help man to determine which a part of my pc wasn’t working and examine every enter, and clarify what I used to be seeing over the cellphone.
I don’t draw back from probabilities to make use of the language in diversified methods, and I’ll make certain to maintain that up!
For the written manufacturing part, I obtained one necessary piece of crucial suggestions: my sentences tended to be a bit brief.
Whereas I did properly in most different facets, to assist me get used to probably longer sentences we spent a number of days Fondements de la métaphysique des mœurs by Immanuel Kant.
The issues he describes contain very advanced sentences with nested commas that span enormous paragraphs. This was excellent.
As we labored on my French writing expertise, Léa bought me to reply questions on Kant in written kind. I’d use sentences that might go on however not develop into nonsensical. It was one hell of a job, contemplating I wouldn’t even try to say or write such issues in English!
I hope you’ve discovered this account of my journey to reaching French C1 stage fascinating. I all the time figured that my French was round C1 or C2 stage, and confirmed it with the mock fluency check.
Now that I do know my strengths and weaknesses, I can work on them!