The speaking test contains 1 part. You will be on your own with two examiners. You will begin with a presentation based on two written documents and it will be followed by a discussion with the examiners.
You will be given 1 hour for preparation and the oral exam will last for 30 minutes (between 10 and 15 minutes of presentation and 15 minutes of discussion). This part is worth 25 marks.
A French monolingual dictionary is allowed during the preparation.
The oral presentation, which is called the “exposé” requires thorough preparation. You will not only be assessed on your speaking skills but also on your ability to raise important points from the documents and present them in a structured analysis. One hour is a very short time to complete this task. That is why it is necessary that you train effectively before the exam and acquire good reflexes. The framework of your presentation is worth 8 points.
Stage 1: General approach and Brainstorming
• On the first reading, identify the nature of the texts, the sources, the type and the common theme (most of the time a title is given for each document providing a hint).
• On the second reading, underline the main ideas and select two main points on which you will base your plan.
• Afterwards, think of as many ideas, points and examples as possible to use in your presentation.
Unlike the synthesis part, you will be expected to express your opinion by referring to examples from foreign or French current affairs and from your own experiences. Once you have noted your main ideas, work out how to convey your key points effectively.
Stage 2: Making a plan
Different types of plans may be considered:
• The argumentative plan: you introduce a false assertion then you disprove this argument and you propose a different one.
• The question plan: you introduce and illustrate a premise then you analyse the causes of the problem and you suggest solutions and their feasibility based on your analysis.
• The balanced discussion plan: at first you give the points in favour of the statement, then you state the points against it and you conclude with your own opinion.
• The thematic plan: you present a topic from different angles and you give your opinion.
You will choose a plan after reading the documents. This is why it is important to understand their type (comparative, informative or argumentative) from scratch.
Stage 3: Introduction
The way you introduce your presentation is essential and you must take into account the following steps.
Firstly, you may start with either:
• a definition of the theme you are going to talk about
• a recent event in the news
• a personal example
Secondly, you present the documents which were handed in to you by citing their sources (the magazine or newspaper’s title, the author and the date). You will sometimes have documents from the same sources and sometimes not.
Thirdly, you bring out the issue with a direct or indirect question.
Finally, you outline your plan. Although this outline should not be too artificial, the examiner must be able to follow the logic of your presentation.You may use for instance:
• Dans un premier temps…
When you introduce your plan, do not forget to use the future tense.
The third part is dedicated to your personal vision and experience of what you talked about in the first two parts.
Even though you may think that such an introduction is too fastidious, it is nonetheless the best way to give the examiners a good impression and consequently a good mark.
Although it is out of the question to draft all the talk, I suggest you write some or all the introduction as we can be easily put off by stress at the beginning of the presentation.
Stage 4: Development
The speaking part includes elements which are inseparable from the act of communication. Obviously you will pay attention to your pronunciation and your intonation but you will also use a specific metalanguage associated with speech.
First of all, the examiners must feel concerned by and I dare say engaged in what you are presenting. Therefore, it is good to use the imperative with “nous” :
• Passons si vous le voulez bien à la première partie de mon exposé…
• Examinons maintenant les causes de…
• Notons que…
• Prenons l’exemple de…
The examiners should not have to make an effort to follow your train of thought and arguments. What’s more, the use of logical connectors is essential throughout your presentation and you should learn 3 or 4 connectors for each function.
As I said before you must not draft all the presentation and that is why you should write what is the most important to remember.
• First give a title to your different parts
• Then in each of them you write your key words, arguments and examples.
• and write an explicit transition when you go from one part to another:
Abordons maintenant dans une deuxième partie les raisons de…
Stage 5: conclusion
To end up with a good presentation, the conclusion must be short and effective. You may write it down if you do not feel confident enough.
• At first, summarize briefly the content of your presentation in a few lines. You can introduce them with the following:
Par conséquent, nous avons constaté que…
En résumé je me permettrai de rappeler que…
• Then, it is worth broadening the issue with a new question.
• Thirdly, you thank the audience for their attention and invite the examiners to ask for questions:
Je vous remercie de votre attention et je suis désormais disposé à répondre à vos questions.
Do not say : Voilà, c’est fini. J’ai fini
THE EXAMINATION GRID
You will find the grid the examiners use in order to correct your writing.