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The Trials and Tribulations of a Language Student…

Hi, my name is Emmie, and I’m currently an A Level student studying two languages: French and Spanish. I have recently been to Lingua Translations as preparation for the dreaded oral exams I have coming up in May.

Personally I think the oral exam is the one that MFL students find the most daunting. It is unlike any other exam, in that you are one to one with an examiner, with little time to think. certainly no time to ponder over things you think you may have got wrong because, as they say, the show must go on!

Fluent and genuine

The aim is to try and make the conversation as fluent and genuine as possible. So, throughout the exam, despite all the nerves as well as grammar and vocabulary it is important to sound enthused and engaged. Even when talking about the most boring subjects!

As it is important for the conversation to feel authentic you have to avoid talking in parrot fashion or labouring over pre-learnt sentences. The examiner instantly recognises this and so will try to steer the conversation onto something else. This means extra pressure as literally anything could happen!

Sometimes I do wonder what on earth possessed me to study two languages! Especially as I write about what I have to do, but then coming to Lingua Translations makes me realise the answer.

It has definitely been a worthwhile experience, I love being surrounded by other languages and speaking to people from all over Europe. It is sometimes like being in a foreign country!

No easy task!

It also makes me realise that I do have a lot of work to do, but the key with learning a language is not to be afraid of making mistakes and learning from them. I have certainly started to do that by speaking to everyone here.

It is nice to be around people who understand exactly what it is like to learn another language; the frustration, the time, and difficulty but ultimately the reward.

Now if I perfect a single sentence I feel a sense of triumph and I hope that’s something I’ll never lose as I continue to learn.

Winston Churchill once famously said “Success is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm.” This may have been regarding his political career, but personally, I’m more convinced he came to this conclusion while he learnt French!



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