12 Apr 2013

How to Learn Vocabulary for French (or any Languages) GCSE Revision

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How can I find out what words I need to learn?
1. Print off past papers for French* Reading.  *or any other language
2. Read the extracts printed on the exam and highlight all words you don't understand.
3. Look up these words on google translate. If the translation seems wrong, translate a complete phrase, not just the single word. Or you can use a French/English dictionary.
4. You can also collect vocabulary from class notes, vocab lists or the CGP revision guides. Be realistic about how many new words you'll be able to learn. We managed about 10-15 words per day (which we recalled at 90-100%).
5. Use one of the methods listed below to learn the words.

How to Learn the Words:

1. Make a poster with pictures to show the meanings of the words. Write the French word with the English underneath. Draw a memorable picture - working with a friend can really help with this. Word-association with crazy pictures helps, so, for fâché, we drew an angry Hitler (fascist). We found that it works best if you write the word inside the picture as we did in déçu (disappointed).

2. Make flip cards with the French word on one side and the English translation on the other. it helps if you link the French word to a similar English word, so we linked courriel (email) to 'courier', cacher (hide) to cache - of weapons. At GCSE, most French vocab is chosen to be close to English (consacrer - 'devote' - links to 'consecrate'), specifically to make it easier for students to learn. English is a part-French language, after all.

3. Repeatedly test and re-test yourself: after half an hour, one hour, one day and one week. Play flip cards with friends or family. Get together with friends and test each other, or ask your parents or brother or sister to test you. The more times you repeat each word, the more likely you'll remember. Try making up sentences with your words.