How to ace your French exam

Acing a French language exam can be an unnerving task. However with the right strategies and techniques, it is possible to be successful!

In this article, we will explore seven tips and tricks for getting success at a DELF/DALF exam. This plan of action is designed to help you strenghten your French language skills and feel confident on exam day.

ace french exams

Table of content : 

  1. Be familiar with the French exam format
  2. Develop a plan of action
  3. Practise, practise and practise
  4. Don’t be afraid of French grammar
  5. Enhance your vocabulary
  6. Train your oral expression with native speakers
  7. Expand your knowledge with a private tutor

1. Be familiar with the French exam format

Firstly, before your preparation for the DELF/DALF exam, it’s essential to understand its format. DELF (Diplôme d’Etudes en Langue Française) and DALF (Diplôme Approfondi de Langue Française) are the only French as a foreign language diplomas issued by the French Ministry of Education.

Then, knowing your level in French will help you decide which exam is more suitable. The DELF exam consists of 4 levels (A1, A2, B1 and B2) whereas the DALF is divided into 2 levels (C1 and C2).

delf dalf format french

DELF is made for French learners wishing to validate officially their knowledge of the French language. On the other hand, DALF is targeting more adults, professional or university students.

Also, each level has a specific set of language skills and competencies that need to be mastered as follows :

  • Listening comprehension
  • Reading comprehension
  • Written expression
  • Oral expression

Each section has a set duration, format, and tasks that can change from one year to another. Understanding the exam format will help you develop a study plan and be more prepared on the D-day.

2 Develop a plan of action

Then, once you understand the differences between exams, I would recommend you develop an action plan early. It is essential to give yourself enough time to review the material thoroughly.

Have realistic expectations based on your learning style and availability. If you work full time and have only one hour per week to practice, you may not be ready in a month.

Cramming at the last minute can be stressful and ineffective. Instead, try to study consistently over a more extended period to give yourself the best chance of success.

action plan french DELF DALF exams

3 Practise, practise and practise

Another important step forward a positive outcome is practice. It’s essential to repeat at least once all four skills (listening, reading, writing, and speaking). In my experience, many students find that reading in French is much easier than listening or speaking. However, once they face the exam, they fail on the reading part due to their lack of time management.

Use grammar books and online resources to enhance your language skills. Nowadays, a lot of sample tests are available on Youtube. Practice with sample tests and exercises will build your confidence.

practise french exams

4 Dont be afraid of French grammar

Furthermore, grammar is the foundation of any language, and French is no exception, sorry! I know this may not be the most fun part of your learning process. Still, it is crucial to have a solid understanding of French grammar rules to get good results.

My best advice is that you should feel confident with the following topics below:

  • All main tenses : present, past and future ;
  • Asking questions ;
  • French conversational connectors : time, goal, cause, consequence ;
  • Making negative sentences ;
  • Pronouns : personal, direct object, indirect object, possessive, demonstrative,..
  • Adjectives and adverbs ;
  • French prepositions.

The list can be long. So if you need help, I’d love to assist you reviewing some of these topics. Do not hesitate to reach out.

french grammar

5 Enhance your vocabulary

Mastering a broad range of vocabulary is essential for communicating effectively in French. You will need to know a variety of words and phrases to :

  • not only understand written and spoken French during the comprehension test ;
  • but also to express your thoughts accurately, written and oral.

Make time to practice the different vocabulary words and to use them in your conversations. This will help you to develop a good command of the language and to communicate more effectively. You could also make lists and flashcards when encountering new words when watching French movies, reading books and studying.

french vocabulary

6 Train your oral expression with native speakers

As you may already know, oral expression is also an essential skill for the DELF/DALF exam. You need to communicate effectively, using correct pronunciation, intonation, and grammar.

Therefore, you should focus on oral expression training, preferably with native speakers. You could either use online tools and apps to practice pronunciation and intonation. Don’t forget to record yourself speaking and listen to your pronunciation. Or you could join groups with Meetup or Facebook.

french conversations

7 Expand your knowledge with a private tutor

Finally, you can blend this training with a few one-on-one classes with a professional. If you are still struggling with the language, you could consider hiring a French tutor. A private teacher can provide you with tailor-made guidance and can help you to expanding your French knowledge.

In our French exam preparation courses, your professional tutor will identify your strengths and work on your weaknesses. I will guide you through all the different aspects to ace your exam. You will practice with mock-up exercises from past papers, and you will gain tailored tips and tricks to maximize your results!

In conclusion, the DELF/DALF exams are a great way to prove your French language proficiency and assess your current level.

Now, it’s time to start preparing your French exam and be successful ! We hope these tips are useful. And of course, bonne chance !

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