How to get a Distinction in Junior Cycle French

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The new Junior Cycle French course is a little different to the old course. For starters,  it is not split into Higher and Ordinary levels, but rather is studied at a Common Level by all students. The new course is also more modern and teaches a large variety of skills that are useful for the future - language skills, intercultural awareness, communication, creativity, and much more. While not as predictable as the old course might have been, the paper is still accessibly structured and very doable. In this guide, you will hopefully get a better understanding of the course and how to ace it!

Grind rather than cram

If you study French for just an hour per week throughout third year, you will be confident going into the exam and more likely get very good marks! This is a way easier and more successful method than cramming the three-year course in a few weeks before your exam.

That said, keep in mind that it is never too late to start working and that you can still make massive improvements in your last few weeks. I’ve seen some of my classmates jump entire grades in the time between the mocks to the real exam, so don’t be discouraged if you don’t do as well as you were expecting in them. This is actually the entire point of the mock exams - they motivate you to work harder!

Comparison is the thief of exam confidence

Try not to be intimidated by your friends’ notes or test scores, or whatever is going on around you on the day of the exam. Remember all the work you’ve done since first year, and know that you are ready for this. All you can do at the end of the day is YOUR best. Also, these exams really aren’t the end of the world, so even if you feel like it hasn’t gone to plan, just say to yourself that you have gone in there and given it your best and that’s all you can do, and that Ce qui sera, sera!

Before the exam

Remember to pack everything you need the night before the exam. Try to also get a good night’s sleep to ensure you don’t feel sluggish or tired during the exam. Have a healthy breakfast and a good amount of water the day of the exam. Listen to a French radio station directly before the exam if you can access it to be in mode for the listening portion.

During the exam

Only use a blue or black pen (not pencil) in your exam because it will be scanned by a computer and the scanner cannot pick up pencil!

Think and plan before writing to avoid lots of scribbles that may leave a bad impression on the examiner. If you need to quickly jot something down, use a spare page. You should also use the extra pages at the end of the paper if needed for extra writing space. Make sure to clearly label which question you are answering if you end up doing this. 

Don’t leave any questions blank - you’ll be amazed at how many marks you can pick up just by guessing.

Never leave your exam early! This exam gives you plenty of time so there is a high chance you will be finished before time is up. Even if you’re finished an hour early, you’ll regret not using the extra time to your advantage to check over and improve all your answers. Remember, marks can also be gained inside the exam hall!


Bonne chance! Best of Luck!
Ciara and the Studyclix Team :)

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