Getting a 7 in IB French SL isn’t as impossible as it might seem….Admittedly, French B (even at SL) in the IB can be a challenging and daunting course if you are not 1. fluent/native or 2. been on a long enough exchange that you are comfortable with your french (even if just speaking) or 3. a language wiz that is just naturally good at languages. However, it is still possible to get a 7 in this subject if you are none of the above (me). It does require quite a bit of effort, but the work pays off if you stick to it. Here’s how:
- Read, read, read, read, read. Yes, read. Find articles online relating to the topics you are studying in class and draw out all the specific vocab and
phrases that could be useful in writing tasks or that may pop up in Paper 1s. You can compile vocabulary lists for Core topics (because these only come up in Paper 1s) and compile notes for Option topics (so you have phrases to memorise for Paper 2). Notes are literally just a ton of phrases bullet pointed on a word document, under subheadings to sort out the “subtopics” of each topic. A very easy way to “study” for French, especially as it is quite brainless – all you have to do is type up all the phrases that you like/ have highlighted!
- Memorise those phrases for your Paper 2s. Generally you will study 2 options for your Paper 2, so if you learn as many good subject specific phrases for each you have 50% of your Paper 2 down. Add that to the vocab that you have compiled and it makes it 70%.
- Learn your grammar structures. A good paper 2 does not need to be overly complicated, it just has to be accurate. “Sophisticated” language structures could just be the subjunctive used correctly and in the right place, or the correct use of a direct object pronoun. Especially at SL, they are more concerned with your accuracy. That’s 90% of your Paper 2.
- Learn your text types. Its 5 easy marks that you should always be getting. Practice a wide variety of text types so that you are free to choose whatever question no matter the text type in the final exam. Be comfortable with your question form for interviews, and with imperatives in brochures. Know how to structure a formal and informal letter, an article and a diary entry. You’ll always have a favourite, but you still need to practice – what if your favourite text type is paired with your least favourite question in the final exam?
- Practice good exam technique for your Paper 1. For example, if a verb is being used in the question, there should be a verb somewhere in your answer (if the question is asking for a phrase that is synonymous with “concerne chacun” then your response should have “verb —“). Learn how to manage your time and get used to the amount of time (roughly) you should be spending on each article so you finish in time to do a good check. Paper 1s can be very challenging at first when you haven’t learnt your grammar structures and vocab etc. but once you start reading more, writing more and just doing more French, the Paper 1 is a source of easy marks that can boost your grades.
- Practice speaking French often. Participate in class, find a friend you can do french debates with once a week, get a speaking tutor. There are so many ways to get yourself more exposed to the language and more confident speaking it. This will help your interactive orals massively! As for the individual oral, practice describing photos related to the option topic you are studying at home by yourself and then practice linking it back to the topic to complete your presentation. It is useful to learn phrases that will help you describe different elements of the photo and linking phrases you can use to round out your presentation. Subject specific phrases are great for when your teacher asks you questions on the topic, so learn them, and also know very clearly what your opinion is on that topic, because the IB loves it when you have an opinion!
- Do your written assignment well. Your teacher should provide plenty of guidance with this, so it is a source of relatively easy marks as it is weighted 20% or so! Find good articles on a core topic you are comfortable with and stick to the text type that you know best. Heed your teacher’s advice and do a thorough proof read before you submit your final copy. Oh, and don’t forget to ace your orals too! Here’s how 🙂
Remember that learning a language is a long-term thing, so persistence matters. You won’t see immediate progress, but with persistent hard work you will find that your marks will improve over time (this could take a year or more). It is possible to jump a grade in this subject (from experience!) so please keep trying!