GCSE French speaking exam nerves

(6 Posts)
hazulnutlatte Wed 04-Jun-14 14:39:29

Hi, DD is in year 10 doing GCSE French. She is doing regular controlled assessments for writing and speaking and although she gets really anxious about the writing assessments, the speaking exams are a nightmare.

DD is generally doing well academically and has high target grades in all subjects, however, she is underachieving in French because she can't control her nerves during the speaking exams. For her recent speaking exam, she spent hours practising her presentation and pronunciation and ended up getting a D grade, even though what she had prepared in class was a much higher grade. She was devastated.

She will have another speaking exam in year 11 and I want to help her to relax and calm her nerves so that she can perform well in the exam.

I'm not sure what I can do to help her. Do you have any suggestions or recommendations?

RandomFriend Wed 04-Jun-14 18:08:37

I had a similar thing with DS before his French oral. I had him do three "vocal coaching" lessons with a drama teacher, which really helped him with controlling nerves.

noworries63 Wed 04-Jun-14 19:30:33

My DD was the same and actually burst into tears in her first practice one! After that her teacher had her practice once a week for a few weeks with a bright sixth former who was doing A-Level French to try and tackle the nerves which she said really helped her. Would that be an option? Or just practicing in an exam style condition with anyone might be of use, so that when the real thing comes around she may be calmer as she's done it loads before.

Has she spoken to her teacher about how nervous she gets? He/She might be able to suggest something.

Hope you manage to find a solution! My DD really wasn't a French fan and was glad to say goodbye to it last summer!

Biscuitsneeded Wed 04-Jun-14 19:38:10

Is it the situation itself that makes her nervous, or worry about remembering everything she has to say? Some of my more diligent students tied themselves up in knots this year because they'd used dictionaries and online translators to produce a draft but couldn't for the life of them remember it, because actually it wasn't French they knew or could readily produce. Ironically, some of the (bright-ish) lazier ones who just made a few bullet points and relied on what they could recall from lessons ended up doing better, especially if it was structured as a Q & A conversation rather than a presentation. Can your DD ask her teacher whether a Q&A would be OK? And if not, I'd advise her to simplify her draft down to something she really understands as she will feel far more confident of remembering it.

hazulnutlatte Mon 16-Jun-14 09:43:39

Thank you for all your advice. I'm going to speak to her teacher about it and see what can be done to help her.

clary Tue 17-Jun-14 00:50:43

Yes great advice from biscuits. Make sure she keeps it really simple so she feels confident she can remember it and understand it.

You can get a C/B grade with relatively simple French if you speak enough (5 mins conversation) and make sure you include verbs/opinions/reasons for them.

Make sure she makes maximum use of any notes (eg a certain number of words for each bullet point) she can take in. Get her to practise around the house, while in the bath, put it on her MP3 player, just so it is so so familiar to her.

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