By the middle of March, all candidates to be presented for National 5 French and Spanish will be required to sit an Oral Exam. This exam is moderated by the SQA, so we record it. In the International Education Faculty, we fully understand how nerve-wracking this can be, so we make all of our support materials available on the Modern Languages Blog, which can be accessed under International Education in the Faculties drop-down menu at the top of this page, or by following this link: NBHS website. Rest assured, we have had many pupils sit such Oral Exams in the past and we have not lost one yet!
The format of the exam:
Part 1 – a presentation for ca. 1.5 minutes on a topic of your choice (the topic of Education is generally a very good option as pupils have so much to talk about here and there is a wealth of resources)
Part 2 – a natural conversation with the teacher lasting up to 5 minutes. During this conversation, pupils should indicate to the teacher which topics they would like to talk about and they should prepare to answer questions on their topics. For example, if a pupil wanted to talk about the topic of Home Town, they could expect questions such as “Do you like where you live and why?”, “What is there for young people to do where you live?”, “Are there any disadvantages to your town?”
How to prepare for the Oral Exam:
Firstly, and most importantly, pupils should identify the resources that will most help them. These could be previous essays that they have written in their jotters, course vocab booklets available on the blog (Metro Rouge Vocabulary for S4 French, Listos 3 vocab pack for S4 Spanish), vocab sheets from the Intermediate section of linguascope.com, etc.
Secondly, pupils should use these resources to write their presentation, and to identify AND ANSWER questions that they would like to discuss in the conversation part of the exam. Remember, the conversation part should last around 5 minutes, so the more material you prepare, the better! It is also very good practice to time yourself so that you have an idea of how much to prepare.
Thirdly, you should practise this as much as you can. Your presentation can be memorised, and you are allowed some notes for this (5 headings of 8 words). In the real world, you would have notes to support a presentation too.
On the Modern Languages blog there are booklets, produced by Miss Gairdner and Mrs Zulaica, to support you with your preparation for the oral exam (Nat 5 French Oral booklet and Nat 5 Spanish Oral booklet). Please download these and use them. They are full of helpful advice on preparing for, and learning, your oral exam work.
When you have your exam time and date, it is your responsibility to ensure that you are well-prepared to do your best, and that you attend on time. If you are absent, you must provide a doctor’s note to support this, as the Oral Exam is an SQA exam – your date and time should be treated just as you would treat a final exam in May. The exam is an integral part of the course, it is not optional, nor can it be rescheduled unless you have proof of why you were absent.
Do not forget that we are here to support you – you can come to practise with any of the modern language teachers during the Wednesday lunchtime drop-in session, or at other times by arrangement.
Do your best and good luck!
(PS) The above advice is equally valid for Higher language students too!