Academics, French, Me & My Life

Advanced Higher French Speaking Exam


It’s a date that I’ve been thinking about for a long time – and now it’s over: the day of my Advanced Higher French speaking exam.

Ever since I chose to take Advanced Higher French (over a year ago now), I knew that one of these days I was going to have to sit in front of an external examiner, and talk. In French. For 20 long, stressful minutes.

Well, it turned out to be not so bad after all. My examiner was a native French speaker who teaches at Carnoustie High School, but her English is near-perfect. She was a really friendly person (it was also her first time doing these exams!), and she made it clear that she wasn’t going to try and trick us or anything, but instead she was going to try and let us do our best.

Prior to the exam, we had each sent off a list of topics which we would like to talk about. Mine were immigration, the internet, and the press. All I knew was that I would be having a discussion on these topics, and it was up to me to make the discussion go where I wanted.

The exam started off with a nice little chat for a few minutes; about me, what I’m doing now in this final year of school, and also what I hope to do in the future. All good stuff. Then we moved on to the general topics – and I actually quite enjoyed it. We spoke for about 10 minutes on the internet – its uses, its dangers, and also more general issues. The internet is something which I use every day and which I am very interested in, so even though most of the questions were ones I’d never thought about in French, on the whole I did have some ideas to convey. Then we talked about immigration, which was similarly alright

By this point, we were over my 20 minutes, but there was still another aspect that has to be covered in the speaking exam – talking about certain essays that I have written over the year. This bit was pretty boring. And then that was the end of the exam.

Well? Yes – I’m happy. This exam was worth up to 25% of my final grade, and you can get 0, 10, 20, 30, 40 or 50 marks for it (it’s a pegged marking scheme). Judging by how much I had to say, and how I felt it went – as well as feedback from the examiner to my teacher – I think that I at least got a 40, and possibly even a 50. I shall find out in August when I get the rest of my exam results.

The irony of it all, is that now I feel semi-confident speaking French, I now never have to formally do it again. If only I could have got to this level of competence some time before the exam! Such is life.

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