Where to begin...
I think the Journal intime is one of the easiest piece of French to write in the exam.
With much practice, you will see that you will master very quickly how to plan for it and how to write a good piece.
Remember to read the question very carefully.
Watch out if we are asking about a past event or a future event:
Vous venez de + verb = you have just ...
Vous allez + verb = you will...
Start by thinking of the situation you have been given:
- Who was involved? or who will be involved ?
- When did it happen ? or when will it happen ?
- Where did it happen ? or Where will it happen ?
- What happened ? What will happen ?
- Your feelings ?
Beging by working on the "situation". It might be useful to make a timeline to put all the events in order.
Remember you might need to go back a bit in time if it is in relation to something you had planned.
Once you have your events sorted, write who was involved and don't forget yourself!
Now you need to think of the tenses you need to use. In the past you have three main ones: the passé composé, the imparfait and the plus-que-parfait.
A rule of thumb is: PC for actions; Imparfait for descriptions / was/were ...ing / used to...; PQP for Had done/been...
So now you have the details of your story. You might want to add how you felt at the different stages. Think that you can add changes of mood. J'étais contente et puis...
Sometimes you might want to quote what someone said and in that case you can do two things:
1) Quote directly: Ma mère a dit : " tu es puni ".
2) Use the indirect speech : Ma mère a dit que j'étais puni.
You might not need to but sometimes it gives a bit of depth to your story.
There are some great ways to use a few subjunctives too if you wish to do so. Expressions like Etre content(e) que ; Avoir peur que; Etre surprise que can usually fit it very well. Make sure the following verb is in the subjunctive.
To finish it up, you can add something about it in the future. You might be acting on it in the future.
Once you have done several ones, check over them and see where you have been loosing marks:
Is it in communication? Then you are answering accurately enough. Look at your plan.
Is in language? Check were you're making the mistakes. Tenses ? Agreements of adjectives ? Word order ?
The marking scheme
Communication - 15
The communication mark reflects how well you answered the question.
- Did I answer the question? (and only the question! - irrelevant material will be marked down)
- Are my arguments clear? (sometimes students try to over do it and the argument gets lost)
- Is there structure? Do we get what you are trying to say?
- Did I refer to the material given? (quote; document ; picture, etc...)
Language - 15
The language mark reflects the quality of your French.
What do we look for?
- Did you use the relevant and correct vocabulary?
- Were your expressions and vocabulary basic or better?
- Are complex sentences handled well?
- Are there no, few or many speeling mistakes?
- Are there no, few or many mistakes with verbs and tenses?
- Are there no, few or many mistakes with agreements? etc.