Ace Your French Oral Exam With These Top Tips!

With the CIE IGCSE in French oral exam already upon us and the Edexcel oral exams just six months away, we thought it was about time to share some crucial tips with you to help you ace your next French oral exam. We are first going to show you techniques for you to actually understand the question that the examiner is asking you in French and we will then move onto other tips that will help you answer the right question. 


How do I understand what the question is in my French Oral Exam?

It’s all very well being told how to answer the question, making sure your pronunciation is good and having a large vocabulary, but that isn’t much use when you don’t even know what the question actually is. This step is crucial because if you don't know what the question is, you will never be able to successfully answer it. So what do you need to do? 

First and foremost, when you hear a question, focus on two things: 

  • The question word used.
  • The tense of the verb used.

What is a question word? A question word is a word or phrase at the start of a question that indicates a question is being asked. Some examples in English are who, what, why, when or how. 

Want a list of the most common French question words to use in your next French exam? Click right below!

Common French Question Words: A list of the common question words to help you better understand the questions asked in your next French Oral exam.

The question word used is extremely important in order for you to answer the question correctly. Answering “who?” or “where?” instead of “what?” will make you lose a lot of points in your French oral exam. After all, the question “Où manges-tu ton petit-déjeuner?” is quite different from “Que manges-tu pour le petit-déjeuner?” While the first question means ‘Where do you eat your breakfast?’, the second one is asking you ‘What do you eat for breakfast?’

You wouldn’t want to start listing breakfast ingredients when what you actually need to say is “I eat my breakfast at home at the dining table, next to my parents and sister”, with a bit more detail thrown in to get those extra points.

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2 crucial tips to ace your French oral exam + free worksheets

How do I answer the right question in my French Oral Exam?

Now that you know all about question words, let’s talk about verbs. Knowing which verb was used and the tense it was used in will again allow you to correctly answer the question and have a good idea of what’s being asked of you. Otherwise, there’s a good chance you might start talking about something that happened last week when the examiner actually wants to know about something that’s not yet happened.

For example, when hearing the question “Quand vas-tu à l’école?”, immediately look for the question word. In this sentence, it is "Quand" which means 'when'. The next thing that we need to focus on is the verb along with the tense it’s been used in. The verb is “vas”, which is the verb "aller" or “to go” in the present tense. You’ll have probably recognised that the words tu and école, mean "you" and "school". So by now, you would know that the words when, you, go and school are being used and that the question is in the present tense. So the question is; "when do you go to school?"

Common French Question Words: A list of the common question words to help you better understand the questions asked in your next French Oral exam.

This should be really useful for helping you understand questions in French but if you would like to have more tips to prepare for your French Oral Exam, our Complete Oral Exam Preparation Course with Cambridge and Edexcel will help you really secure that top grade in your Speaking.

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French Grammar, French Oral exam preparation, French Question words, French verbs and tenses, French vocabulary, IGCSE French, Pre-IGCSE French

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