How to best study French

 There are 4 main areas – B.Lambe

  1. Oral
  2. Aural ( Listening )
  3. Comprehension
  4. Written


Oral : It is very important to learn to speak a language

right from the beginning of your study. You need to get the correct pronunciation of the words.  Don’t worry they will always know you are Irish, the important thing is to be understood.  Practice using your French, even if it sometimes means saying it out loud by yourself.  Oral is not tested as part of the Junior Cert examination.

Aural :  Tape work forms a vital 43% of Junior Cert and 20-25 % of Leaving Cert.  This is a very important skill, one most people do not work on enough.  The marks are quite easily won, and it can be studied in a leisurely way.  The most vital ingredient being that you give the tape script your full attention, not listening to it while also doing something else.  You should go back over the pieces a few times, focus on new vocabulary – even if you just do tape work for a solid 10 minutes, 3 or 4 times a week.  Tape work will make your overall result a better or a worse one.  It has been proven over and over.  Neglect it at your peril.

Comprehension :  Difficult to prepare for as they are unpredictable.  There are strategies though, that a good student will employ.  Learn your question forms, Who, When, How, etc…  Focus on the key words.  The examiner never expects you to understand every word of the comprehension.  You are however expected to have an overall, global understanding, particularly key words.  Each time you complete a comprehension, be sure in your own mind that you have understood the overall meaning of the text and the key words.  You should then sit down and learn that vocabulary specifically. Spend time then, in a quiet moment of study, reading the comprehension to yourself. It is very beneficial for your vocabulary to read pieces that you fully understand. 

Written :  It is very difficult, almost impossible to write well, when you are composing the material as you write and off the top of your head.  Firstly, it is very ill-advised.  Pre-preparation is the only sensible way to approach it.   For most written pieces, you need to be able to use the Present, Past and Future tenses.

Grammar –  this needs to be accurate and relatively mistake-free to get a good grade.  Be aware of masculine and feminine, singular and plural, past / present / future .

Vocabulary – this is something you need to be constantly building on, constantly refreshing and maintaining.  Words are easily forgotten.  A strong vocabulary however, will be one of the corner stones to good French.