Once you know what to expect in the internal and external assessments for the IB French exam, it's time to get yourself prepared. As the exam covers writing, listening, reading and speaking skills, we’ve explored each of those areas and come up with some top tips and ways to practise.
Let's get right to it!
IB French Writing:
As the saying goes, you need to put “words in” to get “words out”. So the best way to make sure you can write well in French is to read as widely as you can. Read newspaper articles, opinion pieces or letters to the editor. This will not only expand your vocabulary, but it will also help you see the grammar rules you’ve learnt in practice.
Make sure you use plenty of transition words or linking words, such as the French for “nevertheless”, “likewise” and “however” as this will make your writing sound more fluent.
Another top tip is to familiarise yourself with the way the French say certain things and the phrases they use. Compile a list of idioms and expressions on your phone or somewhere you’ll refer to them regularly. Using these throughout your writing will set you apart and show the examiner you’re really mastering the language.
At Progress with Lawless French, we have a wide variety of topics at the right level to help you prepare for your IB French exam. Join for free now and start 'kwizzing' on the topics you need to master!
Here are some specific B1/B2 level free exercises that fit some of the IB exam themes:
A day in the countryside - Identities, Family
A nightmare journey - Travel
How to do a perfect job interview - Social Organisation (work)
For extra practice, you could challenge yourself with the self-corrected writing challenges we publish each Friday for our Premium subscribers:
Another good idea if you’re feeling brave is to write a paragraph or two about a personal experience (your holidays or a celebration) and post it on an online forum such as Lang-8. Let French speakers give you specific feedback.
And finally, here are all the grammar points covered at B2. Don’t be daunted! Just use it as a list of what to cover, and you can use our Notebook feature to test yourself on particular lessons until you’ve mastered them.
IB French Listening:
Think about the themes of the IB French exam. Watch French films, TV documentaries or soap operas. Listen to news bulletins on the radio, podcasts or French songs. Do whatever you can to immerse yourself in the language and culture.
It’s also a good idea to practise getting used to regional accents or the French spoken in different countries. This all fits with the IB theme of international mindedness.
Keep pressing pause when you’re listening to sample passages and repeat what you’ve heard (this will help you with your speaking as well!).
We have a full set of audio articles so you can practise your listening skills for your IB exam. All the exercises marked 'free' are free for our registered users and the rest are available with any of our Premium plans.
We’ve picked out a few you can access for free that tie in with the IB themes:
Identities - How to obtain French citizenship
Experiences - Bastille Day
Human Ingenuity - Dealing with customer support
Social Organisation - The different relationships to money
Sharing the planet - What’s the point of recycling?
It’s all good practice as you tune your ear into the language and expand your French vocabulary.
IB French Reading:
Read as widely as you can: French books, newspaper articles and magazines. Focus on topical issues so you’re learning vocabulary that will be relevant to the prescribed themes.
In the exam, don’t panic if you don’t know a particular word or phrase. Keep reading and the context of the rest of the passage will probably help you work it out.
We publish French articles and transcripts on a variety of topics in our Bilingual Readers, where you can read the French and click any phrase to see the English translation as well as related grammar lessons.
We’ve picked out a few specific ones below:
Sharing the planet - The problems caused by electric scooters in Paris
Social organisation - Find out how French elections work
The article below is also a great one to increase your understanding of the development of the French language - all part of showing your international mindedness.
In addition, our educational partners have a wide range of B2 reading comprehensions with quite a few literary extracts as well as articles on current affairs, so you can be prepared for anything!
IB French Speaking
In the speaking section of the IB french exam, you’ll have to be able to express your own personal opinions on a variety of topics.
In the photo task at Standard Level, try and explain as much of the detail as you can. This will help you expand into whatever the theme may be. Describe the caption and what that means in relation to the picture. Discuss the culture shown and how that differs to your culture.
Try to keep talking without too many pauses. This is your opportunity to show off your grammar and extensive vocabulary!
For Higher Level, you’ll be placing the passage in context, summarising it and talking about the characters and plot. Use this as a springboard to express your own ideas in the discussion part.
Don’t just talk ‘at’ your teacher/examiner but engage them in conversation and ask their opinion too. Prepare certain phrases that you can use in any introduction or conclusion as this will give you confidence.
There’s no substitute for practising with native French speakers if you can. Have a look at these suggestions to practise speaking French, whether you’re in France or not. If speaking with someone in real life is not a possibility, there are plenty of useful resources to practise speaking French online.
And there are still ways to improve your French by speaking on your own. One good idea is to record yourself and play it back so you can improve your intonation and pronunciation. Remember, much of it comes down to sounding confident. So, don’t be shy, have a go.
Take a look at our full list of suggestions for speaking solo here.
Exam preparation tips
So that you’re as well prepared as you can be for your exam and to make sure you stay calm under pressure on the day, take a look at our expert studying tips.
Get past exam papers
One of the best ways to prepare yourself for the exam is to see what’s been asked before so download some past papers and get ready for your IB French exam.
Join for free and start practising your French with our collection of 'kwizzes' and exercises to challenge your knowledge and master your writing, listening, reading and speaking skills.
Good luck in your exams!