Expression écrite - Ordinary Level
At ordinary level, you have to answer 2 pieces from the Expression écrite section. There are three sections: A, B, C and you must pick two questions but you cannot pick two in the same section.
Section A - Question a - Fill in the gap letter
This is section A Question a in the paper. You are given an informal letter in French where there are 10 gaps. Each gap represents one word.
You are also given the 10 words to be filled in. Obviously these are not in order!
Each word is worth 3 marks if placed in the correct gap.
Obviously, if you know the meaning all of the words and understand the letter, you should have no problem figure out where each word fits.
If you don't here are few tips which you can follow to help you figure out the missing words:
1) If one of the words in NE/N', look at the sentence which has a PAS / JAMAIS / QUE after the verb. Look to see if it has a gap before the verb, if it does your NE/N' fits in there. Remember that N' is used if the word afterwards begins with a vowel, h or y.
2) If one of the words is PAS, look for a gap after the verb (the doing word) and look for ne before.
3) If the word is MA (my). It will go before a noun which is feminine singular. Look at the words after the gap and see if they are feminine and not in the plural form. Sometimes there might be an adjective and it will help you decide if it is masculine or feminine.
4) If the word is MON (my). It will go before a noun which begins with a vowel and is singular or is masculine singular. Sometimes there might be an adjective and it will help you decide if it is masculine or feminine. 5) If the word is MES (my). It will go before a noun in the plural.
6) Follow the same rule for the other possessives adjectives: ton, ta, tes, son, sa, ses, notre, nos, votre, vos, leur, leurs.
7) If the word is a subject pronoun (je, tu, il, elle, on, nous, vous, ils, elles), look for a verb with no subject. Check the conjugation (the form of the verb) especially the ending as it will tell you which one to pick.
8) If the word is a verb, check what tense it is in (present; imparfait, etc...) then check the ending and look for the subject which would match verb form and meaning. Be careful with the verbs in the passé composé, it has two parts and one word could be one f the parts.
9) Remember that if you have 2 verbs following each other, the second verb stay in the infinitive.
10) Preposition à - mean to; at in most cases. Remember that it used after sports (it can change to au; aux if with le and les), it is also used in front of towns.
Section A - Question b - Form filling
This is section A question b in the paper. You are given a form to fill in French.
The question consists of 3 parts.
Part 1 - The instructions
The instructions are always given in French and consist of :
- an identity : Vous vous appelez John / Sarah Nolan. You must assume this identity for the exercise.
- a context : Vous voulez travailler dans un restaurant en France cet été. Remplissez le formulaire ci-dessous. It gives you the purpose of the form and will help you think of ideas and how to make it relevant.
Part 2 - Short answers
The first 5 questions require short answers, no need for a full sentence.
They consist of very similar information every year. Looking at the past 12 years, here are the information which were required and number of times they appeared (X).
Nom : SURNAME (12)
Prénom : FIRST NAME (12)
Date de naissance : DATE OF BIRTH (6)
Age : AGE (7)
Lieu de naissance : PLACE OF BIRTH (3)
Pays de votre naissance : COUNTRY OF BIRTH (1)
Nationalité : NATIONALITY (6)
Nombre d'année d'étude du français : NUMBER OF YEARS YOU HAVE BEEN STUDYING FRENCH (5)
Niveau de français : LEVEL OF FRENCH (3)
Depuis combien d'années apprenez-vous le français ? : HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN LEARNING FRENCH FOR? (1)
Langue(s) parlée(s) : LANGUAGE SPOKEN (4)
Nombre de frères et soeurs : NUMBER OF BROTHERS AND SISTERS (1)
Mois préféré pour l'échange : PREFERRED MONTH FOR EXCHANGE (1)
Quel mois préférez-vous pour l'échange? : WHAT MONTH DO YOU PREFER FOR THE EXCHANGE? (1)
Quelle est votre nourriture préférée? : WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE FOOD? (1)
Part 3 - Long answers
In the long questions, it is expected that you will answer with full sentences. This means a subject, a verb and what else is necessary.
It is very important here to understand the question words (les pronoms interrogatifs)
Qui / qui est-ce qui - who
Quand / when
Où - where
Pourquoi - why
Comment - how
Combien - how many / how much
Combien de - How many of
Quel / Quelle / Quels / Quelles - which
Que / qu'est-ce que - what
Décrivez - Describe
Also watch out for the verb. The tense in the question will tell you which tense to use.
Quand arriverez-vous ? Futur simple so answer in futur simple
Quand avez-vous travaillé ? Passé composé so answer in passé composé
Most answer are answered int he 1st person - Je
You are given about 3 lines to write in your answer so try to develop your answer to fill the three lines. Add an extra adjective or a time expression for example.