How I Prepared For My French DELF Exam

You’ve booked yourself in for the language exam and now what?

Language exams are great to officially test your level, motivate yourself or are needed for job prospects/requirements or university entrance. You probably are familiar with how the test will run- listening, reading, writing then speaking. Each section is timed and follows immediately from the previous except for speaking which is dependent on examiners and how big your cohort is.

Photo by Ivan Aleksic on Unsplash

Here is how I got myself into shape and ready (as ready as can be) to sit the exam.

1. Got a private tutor
It had beens a few months, maybe even a year since I had finished formal lessons so I enlisted the help of a private tutor. I know I have weak spots (hello grammar) and needed a native speaker to still be able to provide feedback on my written work and force me to speak. I was still learning during this time on new vocab and reviewing grammar. You can never review enough grammar.

2. Do practice exams
There are past exams available online with recordings and it’s really really helpful to do mock exams. As with all listening tasks, you will only get to hear them twice (or once if you’re sitting B2) and if you are like me, the first time sometimes is just grasping at straws depending on the accent or topic. It helps to practice your listening skills and trying to catch on to as much as you can. Similarly, the comprehension, writing and speaking aspects are all timed so it may help you get the ‘feel’ on how long you will have during the exam.

Photo by Peter Werkman on Unsplash

3. Listening at every free moment
In the lead up to the exam, I wanted to get my brain switched over so whenever I was awake and able, the french news would be playing. I guess you can use anything but for me, this was quick and easy and something I could access all day. I changed my phone to French and apps. As I was sitting the DELF from Australia, this was the quickest “immersion” I could think of.

4. Reviewing vocabulary
I looked over the vocabulary that I had learnt through my official classes and kept reading (anything and everything) to help with the “immersion”. As you won’t know what topics will be included in any of the sections, I think the biggest component is to review broadly. Read a range of articles (or anything!) on different topics so that you can also refresh vocabulary at the same time.

Have you sat a language exam before? If so, how did you prepare for it?

9 thoughts on “How I Prepared For My French DELF Exam

  1. French grammar, a horror. Don’t ask a native to explain, at best the correctness comes with practice, in reality the French make lots of mistakes. I was smiling at the idea of switching the phone to French, it’s a great idea, except that it’s full of anglicisms : -) All the best!

  2. I’ve never taken the DELF/DALF for French, despite having studied the language for almost 15 years and having lived abroad in France for four. I’ve considered it several times, however, and I just might try to sit in on the B2/C1 exam sometime (after I brush up just a tad more, that is!). I hope your exams went well!

  3. Good luck for the exam, what a great goal to commit to! I half thought of doing the Celta for Spanish after I spent a year in South America but I was too afraid to commit to it, and now I’m probably too rusty.

    1. Thank you! This was just a late post- I took the exam before the pandemic. Aww! I also had chances to sit the exam earlier but didn’t think of it. Wish I had done the same for spanish when I was taking lessons. I too am too rusty now.

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