French - State Examination Commission



French - State Examination Commission
Coimisiún na Scrúduithe Stáit
State Examinations Commission
General Introduction
Oral Examination
Analysis of Candidate Performance
Recommendations to Teachers and Students
Ordinary Level
Analysis of Candidate Performance
Recommendations to Teachers and Students
Higher Level
Analysis of Candidate Performance
Recommendations to Teachers and Students
Appendix 1 – Exemplars of Standard, Ordinary Level
Appendix 2 – Exemplars of Standard, Higher Level
This report should be read in conjunction with the relevant examination papers, aural
cassette and marking schemes.
The Leaving Certificate examination in French tests the four language skills –
listening, speaking, reading comprehension and writing. Candidates may take the
examination at Higher or Ordinary level. Marks are allocated to the various
components as follows: Oral
Higher level
Ordinary level
The French Leaving Certificate oral test was conducted between 31 March and 11
April, 2003. The recording of all candidates’ oral test was retained this year for the
first time. A monitoring and moderation process was carried out during June and July.
The written and aural components of the examination were held on Tuesday 10th June
2003, beginning with the written examination at both Higher and Ordinary levels from
9.30 a.m. to 12 noon, followed by the Listening Comprehension Test from 12.10 to
12.50 p.m. The appeal process in September involved a remarking/review of all
components of the examination.
French was taken as a subject at Leaving Certificate in 2003 by 32,496 candidates, i.e.
57.8% of the entire Leaving Certificate cohort of candidates. Of these, 46.34% took
the examination at Higher Level, 53.66% at Ordinary Level.
The table below shows the number of candidates taking the examination at both levels
in the past three years and the percentage of candidates achieving each grade.
French – Higher level
11.2 12.2 12.3 10.8
10.2 12.3 12.3 11.1
10.2 12.0 13.9 13.0 11.2
French – Ordinary level
10.2 13.2 14.4 14.2 12.4
10.1 13.6 14.0 13.2 11.5
11.7 14.4 14.5 13.8 11.5
The format of the oral test in 2003 was identical to that of previous years, consisting of
a conversation lasting about 12-13 minutes. Candidates had the option of bringing in a
document of their choice (newspaper / magazine article, photo, picture, project or
literary text) which would normally be discussed in the latter part of the interview. The
purpose of the examination was to determine as accurately as possible each candidate’s
level of proficiency in spoken French. All candidates were marked out of a total of 100
marks, allocated as follows:
Pronunciation / Intonation: 20 marks
Vocabulary: 20 marks
Structures: 30 marks
Communication: 30 marks.
The oral component accounted for 25% of total marks at Higher Level and 20% at
Ordinary Level. Whether a candidate intends taking the Higher or Ordinary level at
Leaving Certificate is of no relevance to the conduct of the Oral examination. All
candidates are marked out of a total of 100 and the marks of Ordinary Level candidates
are adjusted at a later stage.
The majority of candidates showed enthusiasm for the task and a willingness to
communicate, as well as evidence of the considerable amount of work which went into
preparing for the examination. Inevitably, many of the aspects of candidates’
performance highlighted in previous oral examinations also featured in this year’s, and
many of the comments and recommendations made in previous years’ reports continue
to be relevant and worthy of the attention of teachers and students. There is a
considerable overlap between the areas of written and oral expression in the
examination, and it is obvious each year that students benefit greatly from the
simultaneous development of these two forms of expression in their French classes.
The full range of abilities was again in evidence, and marks achieved were broadly in
line with those of previous years. As usual, however, there are some aspects of this
year’s performances which could usefully be addressed.
Pronunciation /Intonation
Performance in this area continues to reflect the wide range of ability and levels of
preparation of students taking Leaving Certificate French. A considerable number of
candidates who have never been to France displayed highly authentic pronunciation
and intonation, and their achievements reflect great credit on their efforts and those of
their teachers. Examiners, however, still report a lot of poor pronunciation, despite the
fact that this section is worth 20% of the oral marks. Many candidates seem either
unfamiliar with correct French sounds or unwilling to learn to reproduce them
accurately. Many ‘unilingue’ French people would have to be quite well versed in the
peculiarities of Irish accents in order to understand many sounds produced! Plenty of
exposure to spoken French in class – by listening to tapes, radio, television, the teacher
- regular opportunities to express themselves orally and drill exercises targeting
specific sounds are possible ways to remedy this deficiency. Some teachers report that
students who listen to recordings of their own spoken French are more inclined to
identify and correct inaccuracies in their pronunciation. Candidates should also be
aware that if they say very little, their pronunciation mark would be correspondingly
The following are a few examples of poor pronunciation which examiners highlighted
this year: Frequent confusion of: aîné / année; Cours / courses; Collège / collage;
Allemagne / allemand
Un / on;
Je /J’ai;
Minute /minuit.
Too often the final silent consonant in basic words such as et, est, des, mes,
yeux and cheveux was pronounced, indicating poor early habit formation,
inadequate speaking practice and a certain carelessness in examination
preparation. Large chunks of written material which had been learned off often
featured poor, almost unintelligible pronunciation.
A surprising amount of mispronunciation of school subjects occurred.
Here again, quality and quantity ranged from the extensive to the inadequate. Many
candidates had acquired a wide range of vocabulary, which enabled them to describe
and discuss generally a wide range of subjects or perhaps a limited number of subjects
in greater depth. Others were well versed in the usual everyday topics, which
constitute a significant part of most examination conversations. Those who had a wellprepared document had the chance to learn and use vocabulary which was more
specific and helped give their interview more of an individual character.
At the lower end of the range of marks, there were the candidates who had very little to
show for their 5 or 6 years spent in French classes. In some cases, they lacked even the
most basic vocabulary for family, pastimes, school subjects, etc.
All students, but especially the latter, could benefit from keeping a Carnet de
vocabulaire, organized by topic, which they could regularly update and revise and
more importantly, use in practice. Alternative ways of developing and organizing
vocabulary, such as brainstorming and word-networks, could also be explored.
Students could be encouraged to discover and develop the method which best suited
them, faced with the sometimes daunting task of remembering a wide range of
vocabulary. As well as benefiting them in their present situation, good techniques
based on an awareness of patterns in language and on deducing the unknown from the
known, help to promote learner autonomy.
The vocabulary for school subjects proved challenging at various levels – perhaps its
accuracy is being taken for granted. The Irish ‘fraincis’ is a common mistake, as is,
with rather less justification, ‘anglís.’
Many candidates repeatedly use a limited number of colourless adjectives (bon/bien,
intéressant, etc.) to express their opinions, whereas subjects, for example, can be
facile, difficile, utile, stimulant, etc. and a film or a performance may be amusant,
triste, choquant, ordinaire, inoubliable, etc. if students are encouraged to give a
considered personal reaction.
Other common failings were:
sur la ferme /sur la télé
facilités for installations / équipements
collège (or worse, collage) for faculté
confusion of visiter and rendre visite à
Confusion of prochain and dernier was regularly mentioned as a major cause of
questions being answered in the wrong tense, leading to lost marks for those who
failed to notice their mistake and a degree of upset for those who did.
The ability to compose sentences, from the very simple to the more complex, depends
on a sound grasp of the basic structures of the target language. This also enables
speakers of varying abilities to respond correctly to the examiner, to cope with the
unexpected and to avoid over-reliance on large tracts of material learned by heart. The
main tenses of the verb are obviously crucial here, as are conjunctions, prepositions
and subordinate clauses.
Many candidates this year showed an inability to cope with the sequence and formation
of tenses in “Si..”clauses. A correct response to “Si vous recevez assez de points…” or
“Si vous réussissez au Leaving Cert. ……” should be within the grasp of most students,
since it is certainly in their minds. Similarly, familiarity with the Modh Coinníollach in
Irish could improve awareness of the appropriate responses to “Si vous gagniez / aviez
beaucoup d’argent,” “ Si vous étiez le directeur / la directrice de l’école…” « Si vous
étiez Taoiseach… » or « Si vous pouviez changer une chose …» etc.
Other common failings were :
Ce photo when discussing a document
Beaucoup / Trop / Assez des…
Jouer le foot / Jouer au sport
Ma groupe préféré..
Au weekend / A samedi / Au Dublin
ma père, mon soeur, etc.
Anglicismes in the present tense: je suis travaille.
Confusion of c’est and il y a.
Auxiliary verb missing or incorrect in Passé Composé
Questions are frequently answered in the wrong tense or tenses used are inconsistent.
Candidates should be able to put together a sequence of past tenses in responses
dealing with L’été / Le weekend dernier…. or Hier soir…. Similarly, Le weekend
prochain…, les vacances de Pâques… or Après la fin des examens… should elicit a
consistent sequence of future tenses. Awareness of pattern and plenty of authentic
practice should help avoid confusion here.
Quite a few candidates were unable or unwilling to venture beyond the first person
singular form of the verb, thereby adversely affecting their Structures mark. They
should be able to talk about family members, friends and heroes or heroines, using the
appropriate forms of pronouns, verbs and adjectives. Many were not familiar with the
‘Nous’ or ‘On’ form to use it adequately about family and group activities.
Many candidates are not familiar enough with a range of question forms. Pourquoi,
comment, où, quand, etc. are often interpreted as if they were interchangeable.
Agreement of adjectives with nouns could also improve. The modal verb + infinitive
often caused problems, as in J’aime joue… or Je préférer regarder…
The marks achieved in this section depend on the level of fluency, authenticity and
spontaneity shown by candidates, their ability to understand what is being said to them
and the ease with which they might be understood by a native French speaker. Their
willingness to communicate and ability to develop a subject themselves without
needing constant prompting are also key factors in achieving a good mark here.
The marking scheme distinguishes between those whose grasp of French is such that,
though they may say less, can adapt and use their language to respond in an authentic
manner to the questions of the examiner, and those who have learned off large,
inflexible chunks which they insist on delivering and which they are incapable of
adapting. This latter type of language use, often betrayed by poor pronunciation and
intonation, is of limited value in real communication and is marked accordingly.
Candidates must understand that examiners are advised to intervene judiciously in
such monologues in an attempt to make the conversation more natural and to arrive at
a valid assessment of the candidate’s proficiency in the language.
The ability to discuss, as well as to describe and narrate, is necessary to achieve a high
mark in this section. Again, a rich, accurate personal vocabulary to express opinions,
reactions and feelings is invaluable here.
Most candidates made every effort to communicate to the best of their abilities, and
there were many encouraging examples of candidates making the very best of a limited
amount of French – an approach which is invaluable in real-life situations. Similarly, it
is more authentic to ask for a question to be repeated or clarified – en français, bien
sûr - than to set off confidently but blindly in the wrong direction.
Since the ideal oral examination is as close as possible to a normal conversation, the
length of candidate responses will vary. Endless monosyllabic answers are not suitable
in the context of an interview and can leave the candidate less in control of the
Examiners are overwhelmingly positive about the value of a well-chosen and wellprepared document to candidates of all abilities. As was the case in previous years,
only about half of all candidates brought one, even though it helps students at all levels
to progress more confidently through the test. In many French classes, it may be
undervalued and therefore underused.
At a basic level, all the obvious aspects of the chosen topic should be well prepared.
For the more able candidate, the document can also serve as an introduction to various
related issues, which might also be prepared.
There were, as usual, many good examples such as
photos of:-
works of art, famous people, a special holiday/event,
important person, local team, film/TV characters
items downloaded from the internet
video covers / film posters
French brochures, poems/stories, advertisements, postcards, cartoons
articles in French
The document is rarely used as a means of exploring aspects of French life and culture.
A good level of Cultural Awareness, which is one of the stated aims of both Leaving
and Junior Certificate courses, could lead to description and discussion of similarities,
differences and relationships between cultures, since languages do not exist in a
vacuum. The Internet could be an invaluable tool in increasing students’ awareness in
this area which does not feature in the oral test as much as one might expect. Many
candidates would also be quite capable of bringing a novel or short story as their
document. Some impressive examples of this have been experienced in the past.
Students and teachers are quite familiar with the format of the oral test by now.
Indeed, most candidates show evidence of good preparation and a willingness
to make the most of their spoken French.
A well-chosen document is universally welcomed by examiners.
By asking open questions, which offer an invitation to speak, and by allowing
candidates to describe their own situations and express their own views,
examiners ensure that a discussion can take place on almost any subject. Some
teachers may still have a quite narrow definition of what constitutes
‘abstract’/discussion topics and students’ expectations in this regard may have
been unnecessarily limited. However, discussion can take place at almost any
point of the conversation if the candidate is willing and able. Place in the
family, birthday celebrations, pastimes, school, money, friends, etc. are
relevant and of interest to almost everyone. Some candidates were unaware of
how much discussion had actually taken place, simply because they had a very
limited idea of what ‘abstract topics’ are. Other candidates seemed taken aback
by judicious questioning by the examiner in areas where there were excessive
amounts of learned-off material.
Each interview is an individual experience whose nature is ideally determined
by the candidate’s knowledge and interests and the examiner’s duty to assess
each candidate accurately. Thus, it can be unhelpful for students or schools to
have a narrow, rigid view of what should or should not form part of the
conversation and to expect their oral examination to conform to this
There is multiple benefit to be gained from spending time developing and
perfecting an expressive personal vocabulary while integrating listening,
speaking and writing skills.The benefits resulting from devoting considerable
time to the development of students’ oral fluency at all stages of their
secondary education are not limited to the mark achieved in the oral
examination. Their listening skills benefit greatly from on-going exposure to –
and use of - correct French. The range of topics covered and the kind of
language learned has been shown again this year to be particularly useful in the
written production section of the examination. Candidates tend to gain higher
marks in the ‘oral-type’ topics than in the others.
In addition to the various observations already made and to those from previous
years, the following approaches might be worth considering.
Personal preparation
Each candidate should, over time, develop a personal vocabulary which is
authentic, topical and lends itself to a high degree of spontaneity, adaptability
and authenticity. Very few marks are awarded to large amounts of learned-off
material which some candidates mistakenly expect to be allowed to deliver
without interruption. Similarly, the occasional showy phrase (Autant que je
sache,… Il faut que je fasse… ) is of little value if it only serves to highlight
the general inadequacy of the surrounding material.
More useful to the candidate would be a good selection of opening phrases
such as ‘Pour la plupart…, Pas vraiment…., Pas souvent…, En general….,
D’habitude….,’ etc. Not only do these authentically orient the sentence in a
particular direction, but they supply the speaker with vital seconds in which to
formulate the rest of the reply.
Practice outside class
Students should be encouraged to practice together in their own time, ideally in
pairs, or in small groups. French language clubs exist in some schools. Prior to
the test, if candidates prepare a limited number of agreed topics and a range of
likely questions on a regular basis, they can take turns asking and answering.
They do not need to be able to correct each other but if they decide to do so,
they might be more attentive and receptive than they would be in a class. The
main attraction of this, apart from practice and revision, would be discovering
their actual level of preparedness to respond fully to an examiner. As in many
other areas, the tempting ‘It’ll be alright on the night’ illusion is often shattered
on the day of their test, with neither time nor opportunity to remedy the
situation. Those students who converse authentically throughout their entire
language learning years do not normally experience such problems and stand
out brilliantly, showing confidence and competence which is rarely reached by
those who merely ‘prepare for the exam’.
Teaching Methodology
It has been noted in subject inspections carried out on the teaching and learning
of languages in the country that many teachers expend much energy with little
response from a passive student cohort. One of the less desirable outcomes of
this situation is the handing out of ready-to-use stock responses to a set of
verbal stimuli – as if the oral examination were no more than a question and
answer session. Teachers are encouraged to devise ways of actively involving
students in speaking French in class. This might be done in the context of
integration of the language skills of listening, speaking – both production and
interaction - reading and writing.
Allied issues…
1. Oral in Junior Cycle
The fact that the optional oral component in the Junior Certificate is availed of by a
relatively small number of schools should not inhibit the development of oral skills
from the start, alongside and complementing the other examined skills. Three years of
oral skills would be a very high base indeed from which to start the senior cycle
programme, and would make the steep learning curve to Leaving Certificate less
2. Tape Recorders
The poor quality of some recordings makes the important work of monitoring
performance in the oral examination difficult. This took on added importance in 2003
with the extension of the appeals process to include the oral examination. It would help
greatly if schools would ensure that only tape recorders which produce good quality
recordings were made available to examiners and that machines were checked and
cleaned as necessary.
3. Rooms
For the sake of their students, schools should ensure that the rooms used for oral tests
are adequate to accommodate the candidate, examiner and visiting advisor for the
purposes of the examination. The table provided should be large enough to
accommodate the suitably - positioned tape recorder as well as a range of
documentation. The location should be as free as possible from sources of external
noise, which the candidate can find off-putting and which has, in some cases, led to the
interview being interrupted. Interruptions by bells and intercoms also disturb
candidates’ concentration and add to the stress, and should be minimized where
Overall, examiners were generally very positive about the candidates whom they
examined in this year’s oral test. Encouragingly, many students whose exposure to
spoken French occurs only in the classroom succeed in reaching a very satisfactory
level of oral proficiency. About 20% of the country’s candidates have a very high
standard indeed. Many more have learned enough to enable them to build upon this
foundation in their future professional or personal lives.
The candidates and their teachers are to be congratulated.
The French Ordinary Level examination comprises three components – Written, Aural
and Oral. This section of the report deals with Written and Aural components only.
The Written paper consists of two sections – Reading Comprehension and Written
Reading Comprehension: (160 marks) There are four questions each worth 40
marks. All four questions are to be answered.
Written Expression: (60 marks) There are three sections A, B, and C with a choice
in each section. Each question is worth 30 marks. Candidates may choose one
exercise from each of two sections from A, B, and C.
Listening Comprehension: (100 marks) There are five sections. All questions are to
be answered.
[See table in General Introduction to this report]
The 2003 French Leaving Certificate Ordinary Level paper was favourably received by
students, teachers, examiners and the general public. It proved to be student-friendly
for the most part and the subject matters covered were live topics closely related to the
students’ interests and experiences, i.e. part-time jobs, pop stars, environment and Job
As usual, the Reading Comprehension and Listening Comprehension Tests were well
answered at this level. Candidates at Ordinary Level tend to perform less well on
language production, both written and oral.
Question 1
The standard of answering in this information retrieval question was quite high. The
subject matter was of interest to young people and the vocabulary was within the
candidates’ range. There was enough material to test and encourage all levels of
ability. Some candidates lost marks for supplying extraneous material when only one
answer was required. Some candidates answered the questions based on their own
experience rather than information retrieved from the text. Very few candidates scored
full marks for this question.
1. Many candidates gave serving chips and burgers but added steaks or cooking
steaks, thus incurring a penalty of minus 2 marks. Common errors were
serving food and cooking steaks. Décongeler was rarely understood.
2. Many failed to mention Quick/McDo or specify a fast food restaurant and a
great number did not comprehend that a person applying for a job needed to
personally turn up at the selected outlet. Send a CV and ID card to a
restaurant was a frequent answer. The alternative answers were rarely given
and would have been an easier way of scoring full marks.
3. A large number of candidates lost 4 marks here by answering glasses, eyes for
the computer, even goggles. They did not identify computer as a piece of
equipment in their answer.
4. Patient and polite appeared regularly as the correct answer while some wrote a
solid specialisation in a sector or being available at weekends.
5(a) This was undoubtedly the most troublesome part of the entire question. Here
some candidates showed an inability to differentiate between études and
étudiants so many gave supervise students instead of supervise study. They did
not understand surveille.
Incorrect answers included:
Survey/watch the students (during the day) / Keep surveillance on students /
Supervise the students
5(b) A minority got supervise the exit correct. The usual incorrect answer was to
supervise school trips/outings. A few felt that the pions role was to sort out the
school! Candidates showed a lack of language awareness by failing to deduce
that sortie is a noun but still relates to the verb sortir with the result that sortie
was translated go to or go out.
6. Candidates generally scored well here, although careless transcription of the
comma or decimal point resulted in some supervisors earning 97567€ for
twenty – eight hours per month!
7. The majority of candidates offered the correct answer but qualified it with
incorrect material thus incurring a penalty. Many candidates did not understand
aller les chercher.
8. An ability to cope with numbers is a basic requirement of the syllabus. Many
had this correct; however a sizeable number translated seize as 17 and some as
9. It was noticeable that the web-site address was always correct. A significant
number translated petites annonces as small announcements.
Question 2
This question was student-friendly and many candidates scored full marks. Examiners
found that some candidates answered from the pictures and did not correctly read the
1. The majority had this correct but a worrying number of candidates did not
understand quinze and answered 14, 5 or 50.
2. There was good comprehension of vélo. Some candidates thought Monsieur
Durable walked to work or used public transport.
3. Extraneous material in the answer often prevented candidates from scoring full
marks here. Many candidates failed to read the text carefully.
4. Fruit was correctly answered but many gave yoghurt for fromage.
5. This was poorly answered. Candidates focused on the picture and failed to
read the text. They did not seem to understand sale.
6. Une fois par jour caused some candidates confusion. Much guesswork was
7. Some candidates did not read this question correctly and failed to make the
distinction between an appliance and a machine. Lamp was frequently offered
as an answer.
8. Candidates had few problems here.
Question 3
The use of a text containing material very familiar to the candidates gave rise to
comprehensive – if not always accurate – answering. Inappropriate language
manipulation, poor grammar usage and a lack of understanding of key words – relevez,
citez, la phrase, l’expression, le mot - were evident here. Manipulation was often used
when a quotation was required and vice versa – a quote was often used when the
question required manipulation. There was often evidence of carelessness in
transcribing material.
1(i) Candidates did not quote full sentence, thereby losing marks.
Australie a été l’un des plus beaux moments de ma vie was a regular answer
with a one mark deduction.
1(ii) This question was frequently answered incorrectly with “c” being the most
frequent answer.
2. Candidates generally managed to correctly quote one of the expressions
required, though the fact that section 2 was quite short and that any one of the
last three sentences was correct probably helped. Incorrect quotations included
Il est difficile de sortir d’un tel personage and dans la tête des gens je suis
Buffy et rien d’autre.
3. Frequently correct but many expanded it to almost a full sentence.
Occasionally Buffy and Cindy were given.
4. Candidates did not know l’infinitif. Full sentences were quoted which included
the correct answer but many candidates offered j’avais along with infinitive
look-alikes pouvoirs and plaisir!
5 (i) Very few successfully managed the required manipulation. Most quoted
from the passage pour protéger notre amour. Some gave the complete
sentence and attempts at manipulation included sa amour/ votre amour.
5 (ii) Many did not understand le mot and as a result gave a lot of extraneous
6 (i)&(ii) A notable feature of the answers given here was the poor standard of
English used and the inability of students to express themselves clearly in
simple correct language. A recurrent misunderstanding was that Sarah and
Freddie were married (a true fact in reality but not according to the article).
Nevertheless most scored well in this question, but their ability to support their
answer with relevant quotation or reference to the text left a lot to be desired.
Question 4
This was the most difficult question in the Reading Comprehension section and many
candidates who had scored reasonably well in the earlier questions got fewer marks
here. A minority of students did not attempt this at all. Candidate performance here
indicated little familiarity with handling literary passages.
This was well answered and more often than not, full marks were awarded.
1(ii) The multiple-choice question was generally correctly answered.
1(iii) Although many had the correct answer je savais que ça allait bientôt être mon
tour, je brûlais d’impatience, some failed to quote une phrase. Others opted for
totally wrong answers – la pension … tu verras, ça va être different.
The majority of candidates had difficulty with the necessary manipulation
needed for full marks. The past tense of devoir was ignored in otherwise
correctly manipulated answers.
2(ii) Although an inversion of avait-il would have sufficed for correct manipulation
here, most candidates opted for the quote J’avais dix ans et demi sometimes et
demi was omitted. Il est dix ans et demi sometimes appeared here.
2(iii) Whether candidates understood the meaning of à la rentrée was not completely
3. Inability to understand the wording of the question resulted in many trying to
manipulate excess material, thereby losing marks.
4. Global comprehension was very poor. Candidates revealed here that they had,
in general, misunderstood the passage, with references to teachers doing
extraordinary things or the school providing activities on the farm. Many relied
heavily on a personal view of boarding school and many offerings were mere
guesswork. Candidates who were awarded marks often merited them by
referring to cold beds/ missing the family/ wanted to be on the farm.
Expression Écrite
The general standard of answering in this section was fairly good. Most candidates
scored 20 – 50 marks. Few candidates attempted all six questions. Many limited their
attempts to the requisite number as directed by the question paper. Some attempted
three questions. Option A was the most popular, with many candidates attempting (a)
and (b). Option B was more popular than Option C. In Option C the Formal Letter
was more popular than the Diary Entry. Marks for Communication were generally
better than those for Language.
A (a)
This is undoubtedly the question in the Expression Écrite section where students can
score well. There were no patterns of incorrect answers and the only point worth
noting was the careless attempt at transcription by many students in gap 6 – heures,
gap 7 – à and gap 8 – demi. Many candidates scored full 30 marks here.
A (b)
Segments 1 – 5 were well answered. However, quite a number of candidates confused
nom et prénom. In no.3, some omitted the year.
No. 4 posed problems for some who used irlandais instead of l’Irlande for their place
of birth. A minority gave the year of birth here.
No. 5 - Some students had difficulty with the spelling of spoken languages, e.g.
englais. Irrespective of the number of languages spoken, there were almost always
No. 6 was well answered.
No. 7 - Many failed to understand ce genre and wrote about irrelevant work such as
hotel work or baby sitting.
No. 8 - Entre was a problem for many. One date only or unsuitable dates for un
emploi d’été were given. Disponible even libre was remarquable by absence and very
few could correctly state du x au y.
No. 9 Surprisingly loisirs proved difficult for some but the majority gave full answers
here reflecting good preparation for oral examination.
In segments 6 – 9 the guideline par des phrases comptètes was sometimes ignored.
Language, in most cases, was quite poor. Many candidates did not write full
sentences. There were problems with spellings, e.g. recontrer, persons, travillé,
magazine, agreements, e.g. une magasin, l’été derniere, mon copains.
Usage of present tense was fairly good:
Je joue/j’écoute/j’aime
Recurrent mistakes were:
Je travail/je travailer
Usage of Passé Composé was poor, e.g.:
Je travailé
Usage of prepositions was poor, particularly in dates:
au 14 juillet de 4 septembre
de 30 juin a le 30 juillet/juin
Prepositions were not always used where appropriate:
voudrais travailler le 14 juin et 22 juillet
je joue tennis
Vocabulary was a problem in the following instances:
shop: magazine
because: par que
Recurrent mistakes in spelling were:
Months of the year which were frequently written with a capital letter, e.g.
Magasin : magazine.
(a) This was not as popular a choice as (b).
Generally all tasks were attempted but saying you have gone to the bakery to buy some
bread proved very challenging. Lack of vocabulary was a problem here. Bakery was
not known and so became boucherie, backerai or even bakery with many opting for
magasin or supermarché. Going to the cinema and disco is obviously something
today’s students do often but the spelling of cinéma and discothèque was
Many verbs were left in the Infinitive – téléphoner, sortir.
Usage of the Passé Composé was poor:
Tu sorti
Didier telephone
Je allé
Usage of Prepositions was quite good:
Je voudrais aller au cinéma et à la disco
à la boulangerie
au supermarché
Many wrote je voudrais correctly.
Vocabulary was a recurrent problem in the following instances:
called : appeler
bakery : magasin/supermarché/boulang/bakery
Recurrent mistakes in spellings were:
se soir
penned (pendant?)
Register was good.
Examples of good expression were:
pendant ton absence Didier a téléphoné
j’aimerais bien aller au cinéma et à la disco ce soir
je suis allé à la boulangerie
(b) This was a very popular choice.
The tasks were well completed.
Language was fair. Many Ordinary Level candidates do not leave the bottom category
of the marking grid for Language due to inadequate vocabulary and poor use of verbs.
Usage of Present Tense was fairly good:
je suis en vacances
la campagne est belle
Le paysage was rarely used.
The verb was frequently omitted:
les gens très sympas et gentils
la campagne belle
Agreement of Adjectives was generally poor:
la campagne est beau
les gens sont gentil/sympa
Usage of the Infinitive was poor:
j’espère a visite Paris
Vocabulary was a problem in the following instances:
la champagne/la compagne
les personages
francais, Fraince
Mistakes in idiom included:
J’espère a visité le Paris devant j’arrive à la maison
Je suis dans France.
Examples of good expression were:
Me voici en vacances en France.
Je suis arrivé sain et sauf.
Il y a tant à voir et à faire ici.
J’ai l’intention de visiter Paris avant de retourner chez moi.
This was not a very popular choice and was badly answered when attempted.
All tasks presented some degree of difficulty.
Expressing emotions was problematic due to lack of vocabulary. Most candidates
made some attempt at the tasks but in many instances the effort was incomprehensible.
Candidates could not express I am sad/ I am glad/ took some nice photos. Au revoir
was phonetically written.
The management of the negative was very poor.
Usage of Present Tense was good:
Je suis malade.
Usage of Passé Composé was poor:
Je pris/prendre des photos
Usage of Future Tense was poor:
J’espère que le Leaving Cert n’est a pas difficile
Vocabulary was a major problem to complete the tasks:
Sad : Majority did not know the word “triste”. They managed to convey a
negative feeling by using “je suis malade/mauvais/pas heureux.
Say goodbye: Donner au revoir
Glad: joli
The recurrent mistake in spelling was:
Au revoir:
The formal letter was somewhat more popular than former years but generally poorly
Format - Top
Most lost marks for omission of Ireland and/or date. Cher Monsieur was wrongly
Closing Format
This was very badly done or at times omitted completely and replaced by Amitíés or A
Problems occurred trying to express early July and in asking about breakfast being
included in the price.
Register was very confused with much inappropriate use of tu and ton.
Usage of Future Tense was poor. The Passé Composé was used instead:
Je suis allé en France
Usage of Conditional was poor. The Present Tense was used instead:
J’aime réserver ……
Vocabulary was a problem in the following areas:
To reserve:
Recurrent spelling mistakes included:
Examples of good expression were rare but included:
Pouriez-vous nous réserver
Le petit déjeuner est compris.
Listening Comprehension Test
This test proved to be very accessible to Ordinary Level candidates this year. Few
candidates scored below 65 with marks of 75 – 85 not unusual. Yet very few scored
the full 100 marks.
Section I
Questions 1 and 2 in this section were generally correctly answered, while question 3
showed widespread guesswork.
Section II
While question 1 was usually correct, the other answers in this section revealed much
guesswork and inaccuracy. This included an inability to identify a French town.
Section III
This proved to be the most challenging section for candidates, especially questions 1
and 2 which were badly answered. Question 4 was usually correct.
Section IV
This Section was answered well by most candidates.
Section V
Questions 1 and 2 were generally correct but the previous Eurovision Song Contest
appeared to have captured the imagination of many as they opted for (d) instead of (c)
in Question 3.
This year’s paper proved very fair and accessible to Ordinary Level students.
Most candidates scored high marks in the Listening Comprehension and this,
combined with a good performance in Reading Comprehension, enabled the
majority of the candidates to obtain a Grade D3 or higher.
Section 1 was thought to be well suited to candidates at this level. Marks were
lost in Question 3 and 4 through inability to differentiate between questions
where manipulation was required and those where the candidate was required
to quote a sentence, expression or word. Question 4 proved to be the most
difficult of the comprehension questions. Greater emphasis on literature in the
classroom seems desirable.
More work is required at Expression écrite.
Aural skills are developed to suit the test.
Performance in the written paper suggests that teachers need to revise basic
aspects of the syllabus: i.e. numbers, food, months of the year and the
expressions of emotion.
Teachers should strive to cultivate greater grammar awareness in students
at this level.
Teachers need to develop in students skills to extract precise and relevant
information from texts.
Teachers should highlight that penalties apply for failure to answer
relevantly or for providing extraneous material.
The required Format/Layout for Formal Letter is available in the Appendix
of the Marking Scheme. This format should be taught to all students at this
It is imperative that students be taught the meaning of citez, trouvez, and
relevez and equally should recognise questions where manipulation is
Students must learn to differentiate between une phrase, une expression, un
mot. This would greatly reduce the penalties incurred by lack of this
Students should read the questions carefully and before completing the
examination, they should re read their answers together with the questions
on the paper.
Students should be advised to answer the Reading Comprehension
questions in the language required.
Students should be advised to give only one clear answer in multiple choice
Students should be advised to choose only the required number of options
in Expression écrite and to spend more time on the careful reading of the
Comprehension section.
Where two points are required, students should be advised to give two
points only as penalties apply where extraneous incorrect material is given.
Students should be advised to transcribe accurately from the text when
required to do so. This would eliminate the imposition of penalties for
When illustrations accompany a passage of French, the candidates must
base their answer on the text supplied rather than trying to interpret the
Students should be advised to write all their answers in black/blue ink. Pale
lead pencil on blue paper is difficult to read and fades easily.
This examination is composed of three parts – reading comprehension, written
production, and listening comprehension tests - presented as follows: Section I Compréhension Ecrite (120 marks)
Question 1 – A Journalistic Text
Question 2 – A Literary Text
Each of Questions 1 and 2 contains ten segments to be answered in French, followed
by one segment to be answered in Irish/English.
Section II Production Ecrite (100 marks)
Question 1 (40 marks)
-Choice of two Writing Tasks
-90 words approx.
Questions 2, 3 and 4 (30 marks each)
-Choice of two Writing Tasks in each
-75 words approx.
Candidates are asked to attempt Question 1 and two from Questions 2, 3 and 4 – all
answers to be in French.
Listening Comprehension Test (80 marks)
5 Sections.
18 Questions, some with sub-sections.
Questions to be answered in Irish/English.
Section 1 - Compréhension Écrite, Q.1, Q.2
Q.1. 60 MARKS [ 5marks x 10, 10 marks x1]
Candidates responded well to this passage. This may in part be due to the fact that the
themes developed here feature widely in the preparation for the Oral Examination. The
average mark achieved was 43 and many examiners reported scores of 50+.
Questions most frequently answered correctly were numbers 1 (i) and (ii), 3 (i), all
questions 4, 5, 6.
Partial marks were gained for answers which showed incomplete comprehension, or
where answers requiring more than a direct quotation were poorly/incorrectly phrased.
Q.2. 60 MARKS [ 5marks x 10, 10 marks x1]
Answering here was not as successful as in Q1. The average mark achieved was 36
and very few candidates scored full marks.
Compréhension Écrite, Q.1
1 (i) (a+b)
This was very well answered, although most candidates lost 1 mark for reproducing
Elles The most common incorrect answer was: chanter / en chantant à leur faςon “La
The vast majority of candidates recognised La Marseillaise as l’hymne national
franςais. Not all, alas!
Most candidates scored at least 3 marks here for correctly identifying a consequence of
neglect such as le chômage. Those who got full marks generally chose système
scolaire rather the more challenging lieux de vie or formation professionnelle.
Answers here were rarely fully correct. The most common error was claiming that the
poverty contrasts with les autres grandes métropoles du monde… Partially correct
answers often featured centre-ville or marchandises coûteuses on their own.
This was well answered. Of the seven sentences in Section 3, five were either partially
or wholly acceptable for full marks. So, the potential for successful answering was
high. The first two answers on the Marking Scheme were the more popular. La
violence des jeunes des cités was the most common incomplete answer.
This question, requiring close textual understanding, proved to be the discriminator at
the higher levels. Very few candidates answered it correctly. It appears that privés was
simply not understood. Rien ne permet and des jeunes ironiques et désespérés were
offered regularly, perhaps because of their negative connotation. Too much excess
material spoiled many answers.
A small number of candidates gave privés on its own.
This was well answered generally. However, marks were lost for failing to manipulate
beaucoup d’élus choisiront, for omitting multiplier or les quartiers chics and for
quoting extraneous matter.
A substantial number of candidates lost all marks by writing les quartiers chics
transformés en bunkers, thus failing to grasp the essential concept of the suburbs being
already transformés en bunkers. It was an illustration of the need for close reading of
the text in order to achieve full comprehension.
Candidates answered this question well. A range of familiar vocabulary and several
possible answers led students to identify readily one of the solutions, débouchés
professionnels being the most popular.
This multiple-choice question was generally correctly answered, acting as a good
indicator of overall comprehension.
This was a broad question and allowed candidates to demonstrate their feel for and
understanding of the text. Most often, they recognised that the writer wanted
something done to help the young people of the suburbs. This was generally supported
by reference to the point about giving them a second or third chance at school. Another
supporting point offered the idea that the writer did not want them excluded from the
city: n’est pas de fermer les portes de la ville….
Even candidates scoring average marks elsewhere got full marks here. Candidates
should note that they must show understanding of the text in the points they make
which should not, therefore, be vague. Quotations from the text must be relevant to the
points they are chosen to support.
Compréhension Écrite, Q.2
Many candidates answered this question correctly. Less successful answers seemed to
arise from a careless, superficial or incomplete reading of the question or for not
interpreting geste correctly. This was clear from such answers as Adrien les
connaissait toutes les six par leurs noms.
Not always correctly answered, this proved to be a discriminating question. The most
common incorrect choice was (b) sur la route.
This highlights the need for candidates to visualise the scene being evoked in the text
in order to appreciate the sequence of events/actions. It also pre-supposes that
candidates would read the passage in its entirety, thus making the answer fairly
This was generally correctly answered with joyeusement readily available as a correct
Many candidates experienced difficulty in this question. Problems included:
inclusion of excess material eg.chanta un long oui de plaisir quoted before
avant d’ouvrir…
manipulation which was not required as the question began Relevez…
Adrien’s mode of dress mentioned, e.g. culotte courte, etc.
3(i) (a)
This was generally well answered.
Candidates seemed to sense the presence of a Subjunctive adjacent to bien qu’il.
However, problems arose when they failed to write just the verb as requested. As a
result, qu’il or il or bien qu’il were often included.
Candidates must read the questions more closely and answer only what is required.
3 (ii)
This was not generally well answered. Again, the fact that chèvres was given as an
answer highlights the need to visualise the events in the text, particularly in a literary
Many candidates quoted the whole sentence: Au bout d’un moment…barrière which
suggests a failure to understand Lesquelles in the question. Again, as in 3 (ii) of the
journalistic comprehension passage, candidate willingness/ability to work on elements
of syntax was found to be lacking.
Four of the five sentences in Section 3 contain adequate material to answer this
question successfully. However, many candidates focused on the irrelevant part of the
sentence chosen suggesting a failure to comprehend the essential element of the
e.g. Il était vif et rêveur, émotif et sauvage, affamé de tendresse or Tout était encore
en lui mêlé.
5 (i)
Most candidates correctly answered retrouva or sa place The most common incorrect
answer was son propre domaine where the candidate evidently failed to see the link
with après-midi.
5 (ii)
Excess material caused candidates to lose marks here as only le mot was sought in the
answer. A common incorrect answer was bibliothèque.
Most candidates got full marks here, having cited Adrien’s love for and kindness to
animals, love of reading, etc. Very few disagreed with the statement.
Production Écrite
The most successful answers tended to be those in which authentic personal responses
were offered in idiomatic French. Candidates who took ownership of the given
stimulus and wrote simple, correct French were highly rewarded. Even where the
language mark was not in the top category, candidates who genuinely attempted to
address the given stimulus fared better than those who produced word-perfect prepackaged material of a more general or tangential nature. The candidates who
deliberately reproduced learned-off material, having little regard to the question or the
given stimulus, were penalised mainly under the ‘communication’ mark. The use of
learned-off clichés, often involving the use of elaborate Subjunctives, detracted from
the spontaneity and authenticity of answers. Some candidates seemed determined to
use such expressions regardless of their appropriateness. In one centre, for example,
the candidates wrote out a checklist of these expressions as roughwork and then
proceeded to slot in as many as possible of them with little regard for their relevance.
Some typical examples were:
Autant que je sache…
Autant que l’on puisse en juger….
Qu’on le veuille ou non…
Si je peux exprimer une opinion personnelle…
Il faut que le gouvernement fasse quelque chose pour…. etc.
This topic was by far the more popular choice in the compulsory question.
Often misinterpreted as an essay on social problems in Ireland - drugs, alcohol,
violence, racism, homelessness, etc.- there was far too much reliance on recycled,
learned-off material, often with only token attempt to connect it to the stimulus
material. Candidates must be aware that no matter how impressive the language used,
half the available marks are awarded for communication, which has to respect the test
material. Very few candidates succeeded in offering real contrasts.
Material learned in preparation for the Oral examination clearly had the potential to be
of excellent relevance here. However, it needed to be adapted to the question set.
Instead, prepared material was often poorly adapted to the demands of the question.
The more successful candidates managed to discuss the gap between rich and poor,
men and women, public and private education, facilities for handicapped people and
others, rural and urban communities, east and west of the Shannon, etc. The key to
success was to respond personally to the requirements of the question. The better
answers showed relevant ideas organised in a simple logical sequence. (See exemplars,
Appendix 1.)
About 20% of all candidates chose this option. Many suffered by choosing to disregard
the subject matter of the question set, opting instead to write whatever pleased them
and to do it in present tense when the four verbs in the stimulus/question were in the
past. Candidates know that the questions in this obligatory Q.1 are loosely based on
ideas arising from the literary and journalistic passages. A little reflection on the
literary stimulus – alongside a close reading of the question - would have indicated the
direction to take, focusing on “des moments solitaires” and “vos sentiments”. Instead,
they tended to write, often very well – but quite irrelevantly - about their pastimes in
The result was that candidates who had shown considerable ability elsewhere lost
marks for writing about activities shared with friends or team sports and neglected to
discuss their feelings. They further chose to ignore the three verbs directing them to
write in a past tense, choosing present instead. A more careful reading of the question
would have saved them from such pitfalls and consequent loss of marks. (See
Surprisingly, this very accessible question was attempted by only about 25% of
The most successful answers were spontaneous and authentic using idiomatic French
and exploiting the full potential for a range of tenses, complex sentences and rich
Many candidates expressed similar sentiments - making new friends, missing parents
(or not!), plans to get drunk, not having to do homework etc.
Some, however, went well beyond the banal and captured the notions of insecurity in a
strange environment, fear, loneliness, anticipation, plans to become involved in clubs,
a sense of their good fortune to have got to university, etc. (See exemplars)
A really popular choice, although not always a successful one. Many problems resulted
from the fact that, as always in Formal Letters, very specific vocabulary is required to
complete the tasks correctly. Problems encountered in the letter layout included the
The layout of the address was generally incorrect.
The year was often omitted.
Use of cher before monsieur
Use of M.Clavel or Monsieur Clavel.
Ireland or Irlande often omitted.
Incorrect use of accents in closing formula.
Closing formula not known properly
Mixture of tu and vous in same letter.
Spelling was generally poor in the closing formula.
Most examiners report that very few candidates scored the full 6 marks for ‘les
formules’. One examiner advised ‘‘If great chunks can be memorised for other parts of
‘production écrite’, why not the Formulae where marks are given for memorisation?’’
In the tasks of the letter some very particular phrases and structures were under
examination and many candidates struggled as follows:
Spelling of ‘candidature’ often incorrect.
Inability to correctly phrase the idea of applying for the job.
Wrong gender for poste.
Use of the phrase emplois saisonniers (from text of ad) to represent the
particular job they were interested in.
Spelling of couramment nearly always incorrect.
Confusion between Allemagne and allemand.
Incorrect gender used in une restaurant.
Inability to express from a date to a date.
Incorrect spelling of disponible.
All sorts of hybrids of de and à
The notion of enclosing a copy of CV was poorly handled. Some merely opted
for the very weak phrase: il y a un CV avec ma lettre
Incorrect spelling of Veuillez….
Spelling of l’été dernier quite often incorrect.
At Higher Level, it is difficult to see how so many found it difficult to move from the
imperatives of the stimuli to a clear simple statement of points about themselves.
What should have been a very easy letter at Higher Level proved somewhat of a
challenge for many candidates. (See exemplars)
Very few candidates availed of the opportunity offered by this topic to write about
something other than teen life. It would have required a little reflection and
organisation of ideas, but there was considerable support in the stimulus given. Some
tried to reduce it to a mere description of their family – an example of where the story
of ‘ma famille’ prepared for orals did not easily transfer. One must also allow for the
fact that the alternative option – the mobile phone - was much more attractive.
This was a very popular question. The majority of candidates who chose it wrote a
paragraph on the advantages and disadvantages of mobile phones and their personal
use of them. While the candidates were not required to refer specifically to the content
of the cartoon, many failed to engage with the stimulus in a meaningful way. Such
candidates would not have scored top marks for ‘Communication’, had they not
included some mention of the effect of mobile phones on human communication. If
this reference was omitted, it was still possible for the candidate to achieve high marks
for Language. (See exemplars)
This was another very popular choice. Those who were most successful here adapted
vocabulary and concepts prepared for the Oral examination.
Some candidates neglected the notion of sport in school, which was central to the
question. They chose instead to write about sport in general, thus losing marks. Again,
this highlights the need for close reading of the question before launching into the
preparation of an answer or the regurgitation of learned-off material. Overall,
candidates achieved high marks in this question. Good arguments were presented
about the advantages of sport for the mind and body, for weight loss, for escaping the
stress and pressure of exams and school, for boosting concentration and self-esteem,
for helping to make friends and to develop team spirit. A very small number of
candidates argued that sport should not be compulsory in the school timetable, that not
everybody likes sport.
4 (b)
This was rarely attempted, due, one suspects, to the fact that it was not a topic which
would have been pre-prepared. Despite evidence of interest and some emotional
enthusiasm for the subject, candidates were generally unable to produce coherent,
well-presented, clear and comprehensible points. Thus their Communication mark was
not good. Likewise, their Language mark was usually in the Middle Category.
Answers were muddled, as complex sentences became difficult to comprehend.
However, in many ways, examiners appreciated the real efforts made by the candidates
who chose this question to produce authentic French.
Common Language Errors
Confusion of c’est and il est ; il y a and il est; parce que and à cause de;
Mistakes in use of pas de, e.g. Pas de l’argent
Mistakes in use of Beaucoup de, e.g. Beaucoup des gens
Incorrect spelling of: malheureusement; gouvernement; deuxièmement;
maintenant; drogue; beaucoup; l’alcool; boulot; copain/copine; franςais;
Incorrect use of écouter, e.g. J’écoute à la musique
Use of j’agrée, e.g. j’agrée avec cette affirmation.
Use of il faut que without the Subjunctive
Use of être when indicating age, e.g. Je suis 18 ans or expressing wellbeing,
e.g. Je suis bien
Failure to have subject and verb in agreement, e.g. Les politiciens doit faire
quelque chose…
Use of incorrect ending in verb, e.g. Je fait le bac
Direct translation of the English Continuous Present, e.g. Je suis cherche (often
followed by pour!)
Incorrect use of negatives, especially in the Passé Composé of Reflexive Verbs.
Incorrect formation of questions
Listening Comprehension Test
The standard of vocabulary and syntax featured in this year’s recording cannot be
considered overchallenging for Leaving Certificate standard. Likewise, the pace and
clarity of delivery were widely regarded as not being problematic. Yet, despite this
favourable presentation, the results were disappointing, and suggest a significant
deficit in the teaching of language as a set of skills - rather than as a table of contents
for rote learning. In almost all cases, candidates were able to recognise individual
words, but were severely challenged to understand their context. It is clear that more
emphasis needs to be placed on effective tape work as a tool for learning and not just
for testing. In addition, the more widespread use of French as the language of the
classroom from First Year is generally held by experts to be essential, i.e., French
spoken by the teacher and on-going opportunities for students to use the language.
Section 1
This question was generally well answered with the most common incorrect answer
being brother/mother instead of sister.
This was very well answered. Perhaps the repetition of toutes/tous helped.
Coiffure seems to have been confused with coiffeur, hence answers such as: her
hairdresser watches it. Some had the right idea of her hair/clothes but thought that she
had to dress in a particular way or have a specific hairstyle. Habillé was scarcely
recognised at all.
Most candidates missed the essence of this question, failing to identify the difference
between reporting the past and predicting the future. For the most part, only journalists
were mentioned. Many answers were based on the idea of tristes et tragiques.
Section II
Failure to be specific resulted in candidates losing marks here when it came to
identifying which students were entitled to attend École Ouverte – e.g. Students
This was well answered with most candidates identifying two activities. Sorties was
not always understood and cultural activities was often given. Horticulture was a
common incorrect answer.
While candidates understood the word rémuneration, they failed to grasp the context
in which the word was used and suggested that the teachers were not paid at all.
Common misinterpretations were: teachers want to enjoy their holidays or teachers
have to work for eleven hours. Much guesswork was in evidence, with candidates
seemingly unable to reflect experiences outside a narrow range of expectation.
This was generally correct, especially by those who opted for interpretations of sympa
or beaucoup d’amour pour les élèves. Very few grasped the idea that they can enjoy
Section III
This was by far the most unsuccessful section for candidates. A score of 0 marks was
common. Candidates recognised individual key words but failed to grapple with their
Examiners found this to be the only well answered question in this section. He wants
to spend more time with his family/children or He has four children were the most
common answers.
Very few grasped the idea of Laurent Jalabert wanting to show that he was motivated,
or understood the exact role of his injuries. Motivé was heard but wildly
This kind of answering highlights the need to listen for a concept rather than for a
single word. The piece was played three times, yet very few candidates showed
accurate comprehension.
This question was poorly answered. Very few gave the end of May as an answer, but
some recognised after the Grand Prix. Again, a single word, respecté, was understood,
but not in its context. As a result, many failed to comprehend the concept involved.
Instead, incorrect answers given included he is respected or his decision is respected.
Candidates would be wise to listen carefully to each playing of the piece in order to
detect the possible nuances, which may not initially be apparent.
Answers to this question showed much guesswork, e.g. His successes/achievements.
Most candidates answered this question badly, through failing either to understand that
a choice was being mentioned by the speaker or that a negative was being used.
Candidates seized on a single expression, in this case sports director/manager, without
understanding that he says he does not want to become a sports manager.
Section IV
This question was generally well answered. However, swimming pool was a common
incorrect answer suggesting a failure to link après-midi and plage.
Despite having a number of options from which to choose, very often only one correct
answer was given. The most popular of these was near the metro. Some confusion
caused by quinzième resulted in answers such as 15th floor/street. A little cultural
awareness would have avoided such an error.
Plenty of easily accessible material was available in the recording, allowing most
candidates to get full mrks for this question.
This was generally correct, but one wonders why some fantastic prices were suggested.
Candidates must learn and practise numbers.
Single item answers were very prevalent here, e.g. The kitchen/the shower/windows.
Along with careless reading of the question, the problem, once again, was the tendency
to grasp at the first recognised sound. There was widespread failure to identify the
correct verb in the possible answers. Failure to be precise here was costly: Fix the
windows + Do up the kitchen = 2 marks out of a possible 6.
This was answered well by a large number of candidates. Perhaps this was because it
was necessary here to grasp a concept, as no “give-away” word was available.
However, thanks was a popular single word answer for 1 mark.
Section V
This question was badly answered. The many answers suggesting vandalised or
robbed or crashed seemed to indicate that the notion of fire was not understood. There
seems to have been confusion of voulu with voler, hence the theft answers.
The idea of losing jobs/work was often grasped but spoiled by the inclusion of seven
weeks (cette semaine?) or two months.
jour férié was understood by very few candidates. Many, in desperation perhaps,
referred to 10 Euro or overtime or to an extra long time.
Many candidates got only 1 mark here. They understood Olympics but not the rest. The
Special Olympics featured regularly. Again this showed a failure to identify a place
name and numbers.
There were many commendable features about candidate performance in the
French Leaving Certificate Higher Level examination, 2003.
o Candidates’ observance of rubrics was excellent. Almost invariably all
the required questions were attempted and extra answers were almost
non-existent. Answers were given on the spaces provided, thus almost
eliminating loose sheets of paper.
o High marks were achieved, generally, on the Written Comprehension
and oral components of the examination.
o Marks were lost in many Production Écrite answers, due mainly to (a)
irrelevance caused by trying to slot in learned-off material; (b)
grammatical carelessness.
The Listening Comprehension Test, however, continuing a trend noticeable to
examiners in the past few years, proved to be disappointing.
Given the general satisfaction expressed this year with the pace, diction and
content of this test, examiners - for the most part very experienced teachers of
French - expressed widespread amazement at the poor performance of most
candidates. The general verdict was that even the most competent candidates,
while understanding key words, failed to grasp their context.
In an attempt to check in some way the experiential evidence of performance
deficit in the Listening Comprehension Test, a sample of 2003 results was
taken and checked, i.e. the performance of individual candidates in the
Listening Comprehension test was set beside their performance in the written
and oral components. Emphasising that what follows is far from being a
comprehensive study – and could not be taken to be statistically reliable across
all grades - it is included in this report to indicate the existence of a possible
Procedure: -
All 1542 candidates who achieved grade B3 (70-74%) in French, Leaving
Certificate Higher Level 2003 were selected. This group of candidates was
selected on the basis that at this grade, one might expect fairly consistent
performance in the skills tested.
The written, aural and oral marks, expressed in percentage terms, of each
candidate in this sample were compared.
Findings: 1. In most cases, a high level of correlation was evident between these
candidates’ written and oral scores. For the most part, these scores were over
2. The aural marks of these same candidates showed that a score of 70% or over
was reached by 297 candidates, i.e. 19.26% of the cohort.
Expressed another way, almost 80% of candidates who were awarded Grade
B3 in French Higher Level this year showed a serious deficit in their aural
mark relative to their marks in the written and oral sections. While examiners
would suggest that such was the case at most other levels of attainment, further
analysis might show variations at different levels.
3. It is also worth noting that, in general, the 19.26 % of candidates whose aural
level matched other skills were clustered in a number of centres and were
generally accompanied by many others who came within two grade
subsections of Grade B3.
This left many other centres where not a single candidate reached a mark in the
aural component equivalent to the marks scored in the other test components.
In such centres, the deficit ranged generally from two to five subgrades.
Such an imbalance in performance might be considered for discussion by
teacher groups.
The matter also needs to be kept under review to see if the trend is maintained
over a number of years.
Examiners’ reports recommended a more creative use of taped material in the
classroom as well as the more fundamental need of language learners to hear
and speak French in class throughout their years in school.
Compréhension Écrite
Arising from this year’s experience, examiners suggest that students might be
made aware of the following points: the significance of words such as: Citez, Relevez, Trouvez, Phrase, Expression,
Mot, Élément, Aspect as used in questions.
questions which require the answer to be manipulated and how that might
accurately be done;
When a question seeks un mot, the answer must contain only one word.
When a question seeks a verb, then only a verb should be given as an answer,
i.e. no other element such as Subject, etc.
In Q6, points should be very precise and quotations and references must
support the actual points made.
During the examination, it is recommended that candidates read and re-read
both passages and questions carefully. Many marks are lost every year by
candidates seeming to presume what is required on the basis of one or two
words, rather than on the entirety of a passage or a complete question.
Finally, experienced examiners/teachers recommend the reading of some short
stories or novels, particularly throughout the Senior Cycle. These will help not
only comprehension answering, but are an excellent base for practising oral and
written French.
Production Écrite
Examiners’ recommendations in this section fall into two categories –
(a) advice that students should
practise using a variety of tenses in their written work;
check agreements, verb endings, pronouns and prepositions before leaving a
piece of writing;
not write excessively long pieces which might lead to greater inaccuracy.
(b) a resounding plea for relevance and authenticity in both content and language.
The use of ‘chunks of learned-off material’ was seen as ‘rarely helpful and
generally counter-productive’. Stimulus material at Higher Level is conceived
to elicit a personal response. It will rarely accommodate pre-packaged
memorised paragraphs. Candidates need to be aware that the basic ingredients
to score well in the ‘Production Écrite’ section of the examination are :1. to write about the topic set as it is focused – not as they might like it to be;
2. to write in a personal, authentic, spontaneous way in simple, correct
In this way, more marks are gained, even with some grammatical errors
present, than to include irrelevant material, no matter how ‘perfect’, or to
try to use misplaced ‘showy’ learned-off phrases for their own sake.
Listening Comprehension Test
1. The most important advice offered by examiners in this component of the test
is that students be aware that they are usually required to recognise and
understand more than just a single word in each question. It is essential,
therefore to identify ideas, actions, contexts, etc. This usually involves hearing
whole sentences. Practice in identifying and recognising the verb in every
sentence is important. It is very risky to latch on to a single word without
considering what is going on around it.
2. With this in mind, it is suggested that candidates might not be tempted to write
their final answer after the first playing of the tape. It is advisable to keep an
open mind for as long as possible in order to identify more detail and nuance
which comes with subsequent hearings.
3. It is recommended that preparation for the Listening Comprehension Test
might include listening to French tapes, CDs, French language radio and
television, as well as practising a range of vocabulary, grammatical structures,
numbers, etc.
4. From the Conclusions above it should be clear that much creative preparation is
needed for the Listening Comprehension Test.
Section I
Q. 3, (6)
“Sarah is happy in her work and in her personal life”. Do you agree? Answer
this question in English giving two points and referring to the text.
Yes she is happy in her work but she finds it difficult and yes she is happy in her
personal life she is getting married.
Comment: This candidate got one point right and one point wrong – an example of a
candidate not referring to the text for the answer.
Q. 3 (6)
“Sarah is happy in her work and in her personal life”. Do you agree? Answer
this question in English giving two points and referring to the text.
I think that she is happy with her personal life. She is in love with Freddie and plans
to marry him at a secret place. “Nous sommes fiancés et nous allons bientôt nous
marier, mais nous ferons ça dans le plus grand secret!”
I also think she is happy playing Buffy but to some people she isn’t an actor she is
Buffy which doesn’t allow her to go out much. “Il est difficile de sortir d’un tel
Comment: An example of one right and one wrong answer.
Candidate awarded 4 + 0.
Q. 4 (4)
Life in boarding school is very different from how he had imagined it would be.
Do you agree? Answer this question in English giving two points and referring to
the text.
I think it is very different from how he imagined because you always have someone
there watching and keeping an eye on everyone all the time. You have to share a room
with others so you wouldn’t get much privacy.
He says its warm with his family meaning the atmosphere at home he would enjoy
more than at boarding school. But he seems to be learning a lot at school so it mustn’t
be all that bad.
Comment: 4 marks awarded for “share a room with others so you wouldn’t get much
privacy”. 4 marks for “its warm with his family, meaning the atmosphere at home he
would enjoy more than at boarding school”. This candidate understood the passage.
Q.4 (4)
Life in boarding school is very different from how he had imagined it would be.
Do you agree? Answer this question in English giving two points and referring to
the text.
Yes, boarding school isn’t as boring. He has a magical life and they have adventures
and secrets.
He has a kitchen, a quiet library and nice photos of his family.
Comment: This was very poorly answered and it was obvious that the candidate had
not grasped the essence of the passage at all. The candidate was awarded 0 for this
Q. 4 (4)
Life in boarding school is very different from how he had imagined it would be.
Do you agree? Answer this question in English giving two points and referring to
the text.
Yes he finds it fun and nice there the teachers do amazing things “de profs et de toute
sortis d’activites extraordinaires”.
He also says life is magic with adventures etc.
Comment: This candidate had scored 23/32 for Questions 1 – 3 but these answers
showed that he had no global comprehension of the text.
B (a)
Leave a message for Marc with whom you are staying in Bordeaux. Say that:
While he was out, his friend Didier called.
You have gone to the bakery to buy some bread.
You would like to go to the cinema and to a disco this evening.
Pendant ton absence ton ami Didier a arrivier.
J’ai sortir a la boulangerie pour acheter les petits pains.
J’aimerais sortir a la cinema et la disco ce soir.
Comment: This candidate managed to communicate all the points required and was
awarded 15/15 for communication. The language mark however was quite low – 3/15.
Overall mark 18/30. This is an example of someone who can score highly for
communication and very poorly for language.
B (a)
Lundi, 15:00 h
Cher Marc,
Juste un petit mot pour te dire que quand te sortir, ton copair Didier a telephone.
Je suis allé au boulangerie pour acheté du pain.
Je voudrais aller au cinema et au discoteque ce soir.
A bientôt,
Comment: This is an example of a very good attempt at the message. All
communicative tasks have been completed. The candidate was awarded 15/15 for
communication and 12/15 for language. Overall mark 27/30.
B (b)
You are on holiday in France. Write a postcard to your penfriend Claire in
which you say that:
You are on holiday in France with your family.
The countryside is beautiful and the people are friendly.
You hope to visit Paris before going home.
Bordeaux, 20 mai.
Chère Claire,
J’aime ecrie un petit mot pour tu. Je suis en grand vacance en France avec mes
parents et mon frere.
La campagne tres beau et le gens tres sympa.
J’esper au visité á Paris avant j’aime retourné en chez-moi.
A Bien tôt,
Comment: This candidate managed to communicate the points required while the
language was very poor. This candidate was awarded 14/15 for communication and
1/15 for language. Overall mark 15/30.
B (b) [Second sample]
Bonjour Claire,
Je passé une sejour ici en France avec ma famille. C’est formidable et je m’amuse
bien. La campagne est tres belle. Il y a les montagnes, les villes et beaucoup de plein
air. Les gens sont tres sympa et j’ai fait beaucoup de copains et copaines. J’espere
aller à Paris entre maintenant et mon retour. J’arriverai chez moi lundi prochain.
Comment: This is an example of a well-written postcard. All points dealt with in
reasonably good French. Candidate awarded 15/15 for communication and 14/15 for
language. Overall mark 29/30.
B (b)
Lyon, le 1er juin.
Chère Claire,
Bonjour! Pierre ici! Comment vas-tu? Je suis en vacance, ici en France. C’était
super! Le temps et beau et chaud. Je suis arrive sain et sauf vendredi dernier. La
nourriture ici est trop bonne, mais mauvais pour la santé, par exemple – des frîtes,
des hamburgers, des pains et beaucoup du gateaux! Je suis allé à la campagne, avec
ma famille, le weekend dernier. J’ai rencontré plein de gens sympas. J’ai oublie mes
problems à la campagne.
J’ai l’intention pour prendre une visiter à Paris, la semaine prochaine. Je me suis
bien amusé et je voudrais retourner l’année prochain. C’est tout pour le moment.
Dis bonjour à toute ta famille de ma part! Écris – moi le plus vite possible.
Comment: This is an example of a long postcard where some irrelevant learnt off
material is used. Points 2 and 3 of communication partially covered. The countryside
is beautiful, to visit Paris before going home was not covered! The candidate was
awarded 11/15 for communication and 11/15 for language. Overall mark 22/30.
C (b)
Write a formal letter to Monsieur le Gérant, Hôtel Clément, 21 boulevard
Georges Pompidou, 42000 Saint-Etienne. In the letter:
Say that you are going to France, with some friends in early July.
Say that you would like to book three rooms for two nights.
Ask if breakfast is included in the price.
You are Séan/Sinéad O’Rourke, The Square, Thurles, Co. Tipperary.
le 17 avril 2003.
Sinéad O’Rourke
The Square,
Co. Tipperary.
Monsieur le Gérant
Hotel Clement
21 boulevard Georges Pompidou
42000 Saint Etienne.
Cher Monsieur,
Je intendé aller avec mon amies a la France, au premier jour de juillet.
Je voudrais aller du Hotel pour deux nuit avec trois chamber.
C’est un petit déjeuner avec un prie?
Je vous prie, Monsieur, distingushies de sentiments distingues.
A bientôt,
Comment: This candidate scored 0 mark for layout. The candidate attempted all
three tasks and was awarded 8/12 for communication. The third task was not well
done. Language was poor and was awarded 1/12. Overall mark 9/30. Marks for
layout are “there for the taking” if candidates learn this properly.
C (a)
You have just returned home after your last day at school. Note the following in
your diary:
You were sad to say goodbye to your friends.
You are glad you took some nice photos.
You hope that the Leaving Cert will not be too difficult.
Je suis juste returne chez moi après mes dernier jour a la ecole. Je suis ne jolie pas
parce qui j edit arvoir ton mes amis.
Je suis jolie, je beucap tres bonnes photos.
Je voudrais au Leaving Cert ne’ difficile pas.
Comment: This is an example of the Diary Entry. Poor communication was awarded
4/15 and language was awarded 1/15. Overall mark 5/30.
(All of the candidates’ own spelling, punctuation etc. have been retained)
Q. 1 (a) 40 Marks
Il va sans dire qu’il y a un tas d’inégalités dans notre société en ce moment. Notre
constitution promet de chérir toute la population d’une manière égale mais ils faut
demander aux handicapés ce qu’ils pensent de cette idée. Il est évident que les
conditions des villes modernes rendent la vie très difficiles pour eux. Par exemple,
comment un handicapé physique peut-il se servir d’une cabine téléphonique? Il y a pas
mal d’endroits et de services qui sont presque inaccessibles aux handicaps. Selon moi,
c’est vraiment honteux. Pour résoudre ce problème, nous devrons les traiter comme
êtres humains et pas toujours comme extraterrestres. À mon avis, cet exemple des
handicapés fait preuve des inégalités qui existent dans la société moderne. (119 words
Mark: C 20 L 20
Comment: stimulus material well exploited; textual coherence; clear argument; no
irrelevant material; appropriate register.
Idiomatic French; rich vocabulary; complex sentences well handled; almost no
mistakes in verbs, agreement or spelling.
Q. 1 (a) 40 Marks
Je pense que les differences entre les banlieues et le ville à Dublin sont grandes
differences. Il y a des gens qu’ont beaucoup d’argent qui décident habiter aux
banlieues de Dublin. Il y a, en fait des gens pauvre en ville. Il n’y a pas plein d’argent
pour les batiments propre et belle. Il y a aussi le problem du drogue en ville et en
banlieues mais le problem est plus facile voir en ville. L’auteur dit que les jeunes en
banlieues causerait énormément de problèmes quand ils “descendent sur les rues de
Paris”, mais je pense que cette problème n’est pas ici en Irlande. (102 words approx.)
Mark: C 11 L 9
Comment: Fairly competent treatment of the stimulus; reasonable coherence;
communicative intention fairly well respected.
Fairly adequate vocabulary; a lot of verbs correct; fairly good agreements; some
problems with prepositions and pronouns.
Near top of middle category for Communication.
Just above bottom of middle category for Language.
1 (b) 30 Marks
Hier soir, avant les examens d’aujourd’hui, j’ai passé deux heures libres après avoir
fini le travail du jour.
Vers 20h15, j’ai ouvert la fenêtre de ma chamber et je me suis assis sur mon lit.
J’ai écouté une disque d’un groupe ambient franςais, AIR, et pendant ce temps-là j’ai
regardé le ciel bleu en dehors de ma chambre.
J’ai oublié les examens que j’avais fait il y a des heures. Pendant les semaines des
examens, je crois que c’esr tellement important d’avoir de temps à se détendre. Par le
temps qui court, il y a beaucoup de pression mis sur des jeunes, sûrtout sur ceux qui
passent des examens.
Il faut se render compte qu’il y a des choses plus importantes que les resultants et
d’obtenir assez de points dans l’examen du Bac.
Pour moi, c’est un moyen d’éviter cette pression, et ςa aide à me consacrer pour mes
etudes. (147 words approx.)
Mark: C20 L 20
Comment: The answer meets all of the criteria for the Top Category in
Communication: moments solitaires; le passé; vos sentiments.
Each is developed well in idiomatic French. While there are some inaccuracies, these
do not detract from the quality of the work.
1(b) 30 marks
Quand je suis seule, je pense environ ma vie en géneral. Mes sentiments sont toujours
reel, parce que je pense que c’est important penser environ les examens à l’école.
Chaque soir, quand je suis seule à mon lit, je dit avec moi environ les examens!
Je suis très nerveuse, comme chaque personne qui fait le Leaving Cert.! Je pense aussi
environ mes amies et mon petit ami. J’ai beaucoup des amies qui son très sympa et
mon petit ami est très beaux! Mes sentiments ne sont jamais imaginaire, car pour moi,
c’est ennuyant! (93 words approx.)
Mark: C 12 L 12
Comment: Here the candidate deals with the moments solitaires and vos sentiments
fairly adequately, but neglects to locate any of it in the past. Consequently, marks are
lost for Communication.
In Language, there are problems with agreements, a misunderstanding of environ, but
the verbs are generally correct.
Q. 2. (a) 30 Marks
Mon premier jour à l’université!!!
À vrai dire, je n’aurais jamais cru qu’un jour je serais ici, dans ma propre chambre à
la fac!
La vie universitaire est super! J’ai déjà fait des tas de copains et de copines. C’est très
animé et vivant ici, dans la résidence universitaire. Ce qui m’a frappé aussi, c’est que
c’est un peu anonyme.
En même temps, il me faut avouer qu’il me manque un peu la maison, et mon chien. La
vie est différente ici.
C’est mon premier jour ici – le premier jour des plus beaux jours de ma vie.
J’ai de la chance et je vais en profiter au maximum!!! (108 words approx.)
Mark: C 15 L15
Comment: Stimulus material well exploited; spontaneous, no irrelevance, clear
argument; appropriate register.
Idiomatic French; variety of tenses well handled; no mistakes in verbs, agreement or
spelling; some complex sentences.
2(a) 30 Marks
le 24 juin,
à six heure,
cheré journal,
c’est mon premiere nuit dans la université. J’etait tres heureux pas qu’
je rencontrait beaucoup des personne et ils sont tres sympa et amicable. Je suis alleé
voir partout par example le lab, la bibliotheque, le gym etc. L’ecole est tres grande il y
a beaucoup de gens dans mon ecole premiere J’était tres nerveux car J’était tres petit
et certain personnes sont tres grande.
Mon experience pour la première jour etait tres interessant. J’avait un bonne temp.
Au revoir!
(87 words approx.)
Mark: C 7 L 6
Comment: Reading this standard of work is, unfortunately, not
as uncommon an experience for examiners as we would imagine or hope!
The candidate, at one point, seems to have strayed back to a childhood experience of
inadequacy and fear. However, there is a degree of respect for the Communicative
Intention, a French monoglot would make some sense of it and there is some textual
Clearly, there are many language difficulties.
2(b) 30 Marks
Kildare, le 3 mai 2003
Laura Byrne
15 Main Street
Monsieur Clavel,
77,000 Marne- La Vallée
Suite à votre annonce parue dans le “Irish Times” du 2 mai, j,ai L’honneur
de poser ma candidature au poste d’emploi saisonnier dans votre restaurant à Euro
Je m’appelle Laura Byrne. Je suis une etudiante irlandaise et j’ai dix-huit ans. Je
parle assez couramment le franςais et l’espagnole, je peux soutenir une conversation
en franςais sans aucune difficulté. Je les étudie à niveau superieur à l’école, et j’ai
l’intention de les étudier à l’université de Dublin l’année prochaine.
J’ai une grande habitude de ce genre de travail. Ma tante dirige un restaurant et j’y ai
travaillé pendant les vacances scolaires. Alors, je me crois qualifiée pour le poste que
vous offrez.
Je serai disponible pour le mois d’août.
Je joins aussi mon curriculum vitae, j’espere bien recevoir une réponse favourable.
Je vous prie d’agréer, monsieur, l’expression de mes sentiments distingués
Laura Byrne. (165 words approx.)
Mark: F 6 C 12 L 12
Comment: The ‘formule’ is perfect, each task is developed very adequately and the
candidate has mastered the style of language required for a formal letter.
3(a) 30 Marks
A mon avis, le bonheur à 100 ans serait très importante. Comme le âge de retraite est
augmenté, il est nécessaire que nous aidions les personnes âgées être heureuse. Ils
deviennent plus en plus importants de notre société, et bien que nous ayons beaucoup
de respect pour ces individus, il serait très difficile promettre leurs bonheur, et
introduire les faςon de securité pour eux.
Je crois que leurs familles doivent passer le temps avec ces personnes âgées. C’est
evident que cette avis pourrait signifier leur bonheur. Aussi, les clubs de Troisième
Age sont très essientiels, comme ils peuvent bavarder avec autres personne âgées et
faire parti dans les activités.
Donc, je trouve que c’est le tâche de sociéte promettre bonheur à 100 ans. Jusqu’à la
fin de notre vie, nous avons le droit d’être heureux, mais c’est pour nous à faire.
(141 words approx.)
Mark: C 13 L 11
Par. 1
We have a duty to help the elderly to be happy.
They are becoming more and more important.
It is difficult to provide happiness / security for them.
Families should give of their time.
Unclear point in section: Cest evident que cette avis…
Very good point: Les clubs de troisième âge…
Par. 3
Not very clear point: C’est le tâche de sociéte promettre bonheur à 100 ans.
Good last point: It’s up to us to be happy.
Communication meets the criteria for Top Category, but towards the middle as there
are some impediments to communication.
Language: A mixture of very good and poor expression with perhaps the former being
more evident e.g. Il est nécessaire que nous aidions…/ et bien que nous ayons
beaucoup de respect pour ces individus, il serait très difficile../ Jusqu’à la fin de notre
vie, nous avons le droit d’être heureux, mais c’est pour nous à faire.
Language meets the criteria for the bottom of the Top Category.
3(a) 30 Marks
Ce n’est pas possible de promettre le bonheur à personne. Le bonheur, c’est different
pour chaque individual. Pour certains,ςa s’agit de l’argent. D’un bon emploi. Pour
autres le plus important est d’être contents dans leurs mariages et dans leurs vies
À mon avis, c’est impossible d’obtenir le bonheur quand on n’a pas la santé. Et
malheureusement les personnes âgées ont souvent des problèmes de la santé. Mais
aujourd’hui les savants font beaucoup de recherché en ce qui concerne des rémedes
pour maladies comme la cancer et le SIDA. On mange mieux aujourd’hui qu’il y a
soixante ans. Bien sûr les personnes âgées de nos jours souffrent avec les problèmes
de la santé mais je suis certaine que, grace au notre niveau de vie plus haut, les
personnes âgées de demain n’auront que très peu.
Comme ςa, je crois que ςa serait possible d’être content jusqu’à on est mort, même si
on devient centenaire. (154 words approx.)
Mark: C 15 L 14
Comment: Communication is clearly of a very high quality and is both personal and
very considered. It is worth noting that, even where there are Language flaws,
Communication can still earn maximum marks.
Language here is generally very good, often wonderful. It is occasionally quite
complex, but sometimes slightly marred by small imperfections.
3(b) 30 Marks
De nos jours, on entend le portable partout et pour dire la vérité j’en ai marre. Le
document est vraiment drôle mais aussi vraiment vrai. Il existe á ce moment une
culture oú tout le monde essaie de communiquer mais sans success. Mais tout cela
étant dit, il y a des personnes qui considèrent que le portable est la meilleure invention
de ce siècle. On dit que c’est très important qu’un homme d’affaire porte ce appareil,
donc il peut continuer avec son travail n’importe oú. Il peut rester en contact avec son
C’est une invention très utile aussi pour des parents avec des “ados” ou des enfants.
Ils peuvent leur télephoner quand ils veulent.
Peut-être le dernier bus s’en est allé ou la voiture est tombée en panne, un coup de fils
sur le portable apportera le secours.
Donc c’est vrai que cette invention est très important et très utile mais elle est
considerée comme une “maladie” aussi. Le portable, il est une nécessité ou une
maladie dans le monde dans lequel nous vivons? Qu’en pensez vous? Quoique ils
soient chers, je crois que c’est une nécessite que tout le monde en ait un. (200 words
Mark: C 15 L 15
Comment: The use of mobile phones is referred to in the opening paragraph and the
candidate continues to refer to it in each succeeding paragraph. We encounter
expressions such as: “continuer avec son travail”, “rester en contact”, “téléphoner
quand ils veulent”, “le secours” etc.
The notion of “maladie” is referred to in the last paragraph.
The answer demonstrates that it is possible to gain excellent marks for language while
keeping it simple, idiomatic and accurate. There are some mistakes but these are not
penalised as the quality of the language overall is excellent.
3(b) 30 Marks
Les portables sont ici en tout location, l’ecole, dans un bus, la bibliotheque et dans les
bistros et les restaurants. C’est une grand probléme dans la sociéte moderne. Moimeme, je prefere la belle silence. Je deteste les portables, mes filles sont emprunter les
telephones. Les nouvelles technologies sont cache un danger serieuse. Il y a une grand
nombre des distractions dans un portable; la music a inclus! Quelle est la situation a
ce moment? Fermer ton portable et ouvrir ton yeux! C’est une monde encroyable. (87
words approx.)
Mark: C 6 L 5
Comment: A stream of consciousness type answer on the theme of mobile phones in
general with no real awareness shown of the issue of communication raised in the
stimulus material.
Serious problems with language are in evidence throughout.
4(a) 30 Marks
Sans aucun doute, je supporte le point de vue que “tout le monde devrait pratiquer un
sport à l’école”. Il y a plusieurs raisons lesquelles c’est important.
D’abord, on ne peut pas faire les etudes sans cesse. On a besoin de quelque chose
d’autre. Le sport est une solution idéale. On peut faire beaucoup de rencontres avec
les élèves et en outre on développe un esprit d’équipe. ςa c’est très bénéfique à l’école.
D’ailleurs, le sport est très bon pour la santé. On ne respire mal, les escaliers à l’école
ne sont jamais un problème et on se sent mieux dans sa peaux.
A vrai dire, je ne vois que des avantages et donc, je pense que cette idée exprimée par
Marianne est vrai. Le sport est necessaire dans la vie des élèves, à mon avis.
(134 words approx.)
Mark: C 15 L15
Comment: A clear argument, confidently developed with helpful signposts.
The focus on sport in school is held throughout and the conclusion effectively echoes
the stimulus.
The language is idiomatic without being showy and gives a pleasant sense of
spontaneity and authenticity.
4(a) 30 Marks
Je suis d’accord avec ce propos. A mon avis, le sport est très bénéfique. Il y a si un
grand choix qu’il y a un sport pour tout le monde. Le sport développe l’esprit d’équipe
parmi les élèves et c’est bénéfique pour la santé. Quand on fait du sport, on respire
mieux. ςa c’est une bonne chose. Je pense que le sport est essentiel dans la vie des
jeunes. Le sport développe la co-ordination des mains et des yeux. C’est aussi bon
pour se défouler après une semaine longue à l’école. (87 words approx.)
Mark: C 10 L 15
Comment: The candidate did not answer the question comprehensively, choosing to
write about sport in general and its benefits. There is a token reference to school at the
end. Consequently, the Communication mark is at the top of the Middle Category.
The language is competent and natural and the candidate does not resort to the use of
clichés learned off in advance.
4(b) 30 Marks
Je pense que la journaliste est vrai. Tout le jeune regarde a la téle et voir que la célé
brité et porte le vetement.
Par example, si un célébrite porte une piece de vetement dans la rue, la prochain jour
c’est dans les magasins.
Je pense que les jeune est malade dans leur tete. Ils achete beacoup de C.D’s et les
photos pour une grand price et depuis deux semaine ils n’ecouté pas dans la C.D.
parceque c’est ne pas dans la mode rien. Jeune, Levér!!! (85 words approx.)
Mark: C 5 L4
Comment: Poor treatment of stimulus material and many difficulties for a French
Problems with vocabulary, basic rules of agreement not respected and many mistakes
in spelling.
4(b) 30 Marks
Je suis d’accord sur ce point- nous vivons dans un monde irréel où la célébrité joue
un role important. A cet égard, tout le monde fait une fixation sur le showbiz en ce
moment, surtout les enfants et les adolescents. Il me semble que la télé-réalité joue un
role grand dans notre société de nos jours. Les chanteurs et les stars de la télé-réalité
font fureur en ce moment, surtout chez des jeunes. Ces emissions sont très passionants
où les téléspectateurs peuvent choisir leurs chanteurs ou acteurs préfèrés et les
chanteurs qui ont la chance deviennent célébres!! D’une point de vue personnel
j’adore la célébrité- la musique pop, les stars la télé et les concerts à la télé. La
célébrité – c’est l’occasion d’exprimer son individualité et de suivre son rêve…est un
monde incroyable et magnificant. Je voudrais être célébre car les célébriés ont
beaucoup d’argent et beaucoup et ils encouragent les jeunes de nos jours de suivre
leurs rêves. Beaucoup de jeunes aujourd’hui veulent devenir célébres pour faire
partie de ce monde irréel de célébrites- un monde où l’image est la seule chose
importante!! A cet égard, il y a beaucoup de vedettes qui n’ont pas beaucoup de
talent mais ils sont charmants et beaux et donc tout le monde adore ces “vedettes”
La vie de showbiz est pleine de gens charmants, belles, énergetiques etles jeunes de
nos jours veulent ce genre de la vie- une vie avec beaucoup d’argent, de vêtements,
de fêtes mais peu d’amies réels ou parfois une vie sans le bonheur.Finallement,les
jeunes de nos jours vivent à travers la célébrité sans doute .( 272 words approx.)
Mark: C 15 L 15
Comment: While excessively long and somewhat repetitive, the answer focuses very
well on the issue raised in the stimulus. It uses a variety of arguments to support its
stance ( announced at the outset ).
A good rich vocabulary is in evidence and grammatical competence is shown.

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