Common Entrance French Oral is just round the corner so, with 2 weeks to go, this is an opportune moment to make sure what’s going in is really staying in.
1. Blast one topic at a time
Focus on ‘School’ for 10mins, take a quick break then come back for another 10minutes on a different topic, like ‘Myself’. By changing the theme and only allowing a fixed amount of time to really focus, this should help concentration. Beware: a quick break is no more than 5mins!
2. Little and often
Much better to plan three twenty minute or half hour sessions in the day, rather than 1.5 hours in a row. Something in the morning, potentially in the car on the way to school, again on returning from school and then a final go before going to bed is ideal.
To reemphasise, repeated learning is the best way to retain information.
4. Pictures and bullet points
If those initial presentations won’t stick, try summarising each one on a card with a series of bullet points or even pictures. Take the card of bullet points or pictures and see if these prompts are enough to give the nudge needed. Gradually, as you remember more, make the list of bullet points more minimalist, until you just have the bare essentials to guide your train of thought. In the final stages, you can memorise your skeletal bullet points ready for note-free action on the day.
5. Inanimate objects
Speaking needs to be rehearsed out loud! It’s no good doing it in your head! This can be terrifying so much less daunting in the initial stages to practise out loud on your own. Try answering some of the questions in front of the mirror, grab a couple of willing soft toys to reinact the conversation or chat to your dog, cat or goldfish. It doesn’t matter as long as you’re saying the words and phrases out loud. You can add emphasis and stress tricky pronunciation to help make it go in.
6. An actual audience
When ready, ask a friendly person to quiz you on a few questions. This can be a parent, a grandparent, a friend or sibling. If they’re able to ask the questions, so much the better but otherwise, they can just check your answers and prompt where necessary.
7. Tweak your pronunciation with the teacher
If there are words or phrases that stick in your throat and feel impossible to pronounce, make a point of asking your teacher and see if you can spell the word phonetically (as it would sound to your ear). This will help you to remember how to say it later on when practising.
8. Treats along the way
Incentivise yourself with achievable goals. If I can remember this topic, I can play outside for 10minutes or check my emails or ask mum for a biscuit?
9. Change venue
For each topic, see if changing room or location helps. It might be that you always revise 'House and Home' in the kitchen and then try revising 'Myself’ in your bedroom. Be wary of learning outside as, if too sunny, this can be distracting.
10. Be brave
Take three deep breaths before the speaking exam to clear your head. Take a sip or two of water and aim to be as calm as possible. The adrenalin will be pumping but use it to tap into all that preparation over the last few weeks.
Success is within reach. Be brave and Go for it! Bonne Chance!