I am writing this having just ended our last semester. We all began exams last Friday and finished… depending on our group or level anywhere from Tuesday to yesterday. I hate exams. I always have, I get really bad test anxiety and as a result become very stressed during a period of exams. This was… both worse and better. Let me explain.
So it was worse because… of course, all the exams are in French. For the level B2 which is the level I took my exams for… these are the exams I took and a bit about what they entailed.
- Reading comprehension: where we read an article and then have to answer questions on that article (in our case it was about the subject of panhandlers in Paris). That was probably the easiest of them all. For me at least. As I have taken to reading in French pretty regularly. Mostly through Harry Potter, but hey… it works for me.
- Civilisation: Based on which professor we had. For my group is was about May 1968 and Strikes in France. I am no good with Dates or Names, so I was stressed about this one, but I think it was okay. Mai 68 as it is referred to in France is actually a fascinating subject about a two month period of Strikes that began in Paris with Students and then became a nationwide situation with more than 9 million strikers across all of France that literally paralyzed France.
- Writing exam: We are given two hours and had to choose between two subjects and then write either a formal letter or another format. I chose the formal letter as I am more accustomed to that format. We were allowed a uni-langue dictionary and have around 400 words in total.
- Poetry Class: I had to memorize and recite two poems from a list of poems we went over in class. I am terrible at memorizing things so this one really had me stressed out, but in the end, it went really well. I was allowed to do a video of the two of them. We then had to explain our choice which was easier than I thought.
- Oral comprehension…: that was a nightmare. SOmething I thought would actually be the easier test for me turned out to be a bit of nightmare. I felt so out of depth with this exam. I was really discouraged by it because it was in two parts. A radio transmission. We are given 1 minute to read the questions then we have one listen… 3 minutes to respond, a second listen and then 5 minutes to respond. Both multiple chose and writing questions. Not enough time and REALLY fast. The second section was a video, an interview that we not only had to write about but also had a chart to fill out. Same format. One minute to read the instructions, first listen, 3 or 5 minutes to fill in the chart then a second listen, the 20 minutes to write a small article based on what we heard. Everyone thought it was so hard, everyone left feeling very badly about it.
- LAST BUT NOT LEAST…Oral Interview. I was the first in my group to go. I was given 4 subjects that I chose two at random, then I read the two and chose the one I liked best. I had 30 minutes to prepare an argument, look up words, take notes… etc. Then I present a 7-10 minute expo of what topic I chose, the problem of this topic and the debate on this topic. After the teachers ask you some questions to see if you really understood the subject or not. For my case, I had the situation of gender roles and how those are created from a young age with toys and their colors. Thankfully I have a lot experience in the subject so I found it quite easy to talk about.
They were hard, but after talking with my teacher today I am pretty sure I passed. Maybe just barely in some but none the less…
Today we had a going away party and that was really tough saying goodbye to so many of the friends I have made over the last year. I hate saying goodbye and I cannot believe how fast this year flew by. I cannot believe how far I have come personally. From a barely A2 level… with no confidence… to a B2 level… with So much more confidence than I thought I would ever have in French. This year has helped me grow so much personally and my daughter has just bloomed here. We have grown stronger as a mother and daughter but individually have found an inner confidence and have found a new part of ourselves that we never thought we had. I am so happy to have come and to have made the friends I have. It was all worth it. Even through the tear-filled goodbyes as everyone starts their summer vacations all over the world. I have had the chance to make friends with so many people from all over the world and I am so lucky to have had this chance. So as sad as I will be over the next few days as people leave France knowing that I may not see many of them again… I am extremely grateful to have met them and had the chance to make so many new friends.
BONNE CHANCE et Profiter bien du vacance