How to pass A/L

Let’s see how to be succesful at this examination. Passing an exam and learning French for pleasure are two different things.  However, you can do both if you are smart. You can’t learn a language succesfuly without listening to it and speaking it.

Look  at the weightings at the examination.



Weightings in Percentage

To pass the exam

Minimum to get

Translation 27.5% 15 at least 1/2
Writing 25% 15  more than 1/2
Reading comprehension 20% 10 at least 1/2
Grammar 15% 10   more than 1/2
Literature 12.5%   0
Total 100 50




1. First the maximum marks are allocated to the two translations.  Which is about 27.5%.The translation from English/sinhala/Tamil  to French is the Question 3 in Paper I. Which is worth 30 marks. The students need to go through carefully how to translate difficult sentences from English. E.g. In the  2011 examination.

Let’s take the sentence:

Why are you crying.? [Present contiuous tense]

Why do you cry? Why have you been crying? All these are translated to Indicatif présent in French


First find the verb to cry. [Pleurer]  be carefull it is not pleuvoir-  Il pleut

Conjugate the verb “Pleurer” in the “Indicatif Present” in French

The subject of the sentence is : “TU”  talking to a child not un adult.


Pourquoi est-ce que tu pleures? Pourquoi pleures-tu ?

« Pourquoi tu pleures » is also possible as this is a dialogue.


I can’t find my mother.  Here the verb can is “Pouvoir” in French  or you can also use: arriver à faire quelque chose.  That means : you succeed doing something.

 Je ne peux pas trouver ma mère.  or  Je n’arrive pas à  trouver ma mère.


Where was she ?  Here the verbe to be used is : « être »  as this is describing a state in the past you need to use the « Indicatif Imparfait » tense in French,  not « Indicatif  passé composé”. And in the interronegatif form. The subject is “Elle”

 Où était-elle? Or  Où est-ce qu’elle était?  As this is a dialogue you can even use : Où elle était ?

 Why did you lose her?  It is not why did you lose your mom?  You need to use a pronoun here: To lose  is  “ perdre” you need to use the “Indicatif passé composé”

In the question form. “Perdre quelqu’un” so it is the direct objet pronoun that you have to use.[ le,la,l’,les]


  Pourquoi l’as-tu perdue?  The agreement is very important.


 She told me she was going to get some sugar.  Which is: She told me that she was going to get some sugar. Here get means to buy.

You need to use” Discours indirect” in French. Be carefull the “verb introducteur” is in the past:She told me not “she tells me”.


 She tells me she is going to get some sugar.

Elle me dit qu’elle va acheter du sucre.

 She told me she was going to get some sugar.

Elle m’a dit qu’elle allait acheter du sucre.


 She told me to look at the toys. Again “interrogation indirect” The verb to look at some thing in French is :”Regarder quelque chose”

 She tells me to look at the toys.  Do not translate the preposition: {de rgarder aux jouets – is wrong]

Elle me demande de regarder  les jouets.

 She told me to look at the toys.

Elle m’a demandé de regarder les jouets.

Then the translation from French to English/Sinhala/Tamil in the Paper II, worth 25 marks. This is not as difficult as the English to French.

For more information go to « Translations » section.


2. Second important section is the writing. Under this section there are 2 writing tasks. “Rédaction” and “rédaction

guidée” This section is worth 25% of the examination. “Rédaction” is worth 30 marks. You need to write about 250 words.

It says “environ 250” So you should not write more than 265 words.  For exemple if you write 300 words the examiner

might not read the excess. In vain you have spent time and most of all, your conclusion is at the end!  You need to practise

writing essays and time it. Never write anything with out timing.



Content [Bonus marks for good relevant content  +2]

/ 15

GrammarEvery 4 grammar mistake 1 mark taken away.Every 6 spelling mistake 1 mark taken away.

/ 12

Introduction, conclusion, body

 /  3


/ 30


Every 4 grammar mistakes will worth one negative mark [-1] and will be deducted from 12.

If you do about 12 grammar mistakes, you will lose 3 marks. 

Every 6 spelling mistakes will worth one negative mark[-1]  If you do about 18 spelling mistakes, it will deduct 3 marks from 12 points. You need to spend at least 10-15 minutes checking in every sentence for grammar and spelling mistakes.



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