You need to read the question very carefully in order to identify the issue, the
context, the writer’s role and the target reader. As a matter of fact, you will handle
and write on the same subject differently whether it is a formal letter, a magazine
article or an opinion in a forum.
Stage 2: Making a plan
In order to get anorganised and coherent approachand prevent irrelevantdigression,
it is worth getting into the habit of making a plan before you start towrite.
First of all, you start with an introduction and then you figure out what your parts
will be (2 or 3 parts). Once you have thought of the main points and examples that
you need to include, you work out a more detailed paragraph structure before you
begin to write. Finally you write a conclusion.
Stage 3: The discursive focus
As mentioned previously, you will be asked to write a letter, an article, a proposal
or participate in a forum. Traditional essays are seldom given. All of thetask types
requirethe language of persuasion, recommendation and opinion. Alsokeep in mind
that half the points are obtained with this discursive part, which means that the
examiners will consider the organisation and cohesion as essential.
It is therefore necessary touse logical connectorsso that we can follow yourtrain
of thought without being impeded by an inadequate development of topic. Your writing
must be well planned and paragraphed.
Moreover, the way you write must be appropriate to the task type. You are notwriting
in the same manner when, as a reader, you express your anger in a letter to a newspaper
and when, as an employee, you are making a proposal to your company.
Reading articles in French on a variety of issueswill help you todevelop your
ideas, extend your vocabulary and use the appropriate register as well as being
conversant with the latest news taking place in France. Bear in mind that you must
base your writing on specific criteria and you may not agree with the opinion you
are asked to express. Thus, when yougain a good understanding of what is going on
in France, it will be easier to deal with the current topics which aresubmitted
to you. What’s more, referring to real examples will impress the examiner. Indeed
it can be wearisome for examiners to constantly read the same generalisations.
Stage 4: Mastering your French language
Apart from skilfully organised and coherent drafting with effective use of stylistic
devices, you are expected to use a good range of vocabulary and expression appropriate
to the task set as well as a competent use of a wide range of structures.
Concerning the expressions, your essay must include idioms and figurative expressions
when you speak and write. You can find many of them in the French quality press.
Without them, French people consider the articles dull and unappealing. Therefore,
it is worthwhile learning a few of them that you can insert into your essay in order
to make it lively and more natural.
As for the range of structure,we have to find in your essay clauses of cause, consequence
and purpose as well as clauses of concessive-condition or opposition. As you are
asked to express opinion, it goes without saying that you will use the subjunctive.
Apart from this, you need a good understanding of all tenses, the position of adverbs,
the use of present participle and gerund, object pronouns, reported speech, common
verbs and adjectives and their constructions and so on.
Stage 5: Checking
Check your work carefully for grammatical mistakes and look for any words that have
been repeated. Concentrate in particular on the first sentence of each paragraph
and read through your composition looking for errors you are usually likely to make.
If you suspect a sentence is wrong, rewrite it. Pay special attention to your use
of link words. It is essential to use logical connectors to link the paragraphs such
as cependant, de surcroît, en outre, certes...
Do not forget to count your words and remember not to write less than required as
you will be penalised for doing so. You are allowed to write more than required.