Thursday, July 16, 2015

it was our final exam week...and we passed!!!!

It's been a few weeks since we added a blog update, mostly because things are really wrapping up here in Albertville.  
But good news!  We both passed our final exams!!!!
Not only did we both pass, but the exams went really well for both of us, praise God!

The exams were a series of 8 tests which we took between last Thursday and this Tuesday.  The results just came in yesterday evening, and so we took a break from packing and organizing (we are leaving Albertville early Saturday morning) and went out on a celebratory date.

Nick says:
"These tests were really hard!  We needed to memorize so much stuff... for the biblical vocab test we even needed to know very specific things, like how to say "the jawbone of a donkey", from the story of Samson.  I was most happy with my marks for the oral exam- it's one of the hardest tests and I did really well on that section.  My worst test was the dictation "dictée".  Which means you wouldn't want me to be the one to write french subtitles."  

Suzanne says:
"These tests were harder than I anticipated, but they went really well.  My best section was the also the "production orale" oral examination.  But, the section I felt the most happy with was the dictée- it was my worst score but I still actually passed it, which is hard to do.  Now, I'm looking forward to using french in our work with Mercy Ships!"

This is the view from the restaurant- looking from the plaza up the hill to the medieval town of Conflans:

This restaurant makes the best fries/chips we've ever had...

Here's the view of the main street in the city center of Albertville as we head back to our apartment- can't believe it's time to leave!

I started the post below last week.  Nick told me not to post it on the blog and share it with the world until we knew we had passed...we didn't need the added pressure, haha :) 
This is a breakdown of the exams we finished on Tuesday...

It's exam week here at our language school, for everyone who started classes in January.

This means taking a series of exams to test our French skills in just about every way possible.  Here's me, sorting through all our notes/handouts so I can study them...

This is what our lives look like right now...


Thursday 16 July

...Production Écrite...
Writing exam where we have 40 minutes to write two items, such as formal or informal letters or emails.
Fun fact: In french, there is something called a "Formule de Politesse", which is a sentence or multiple sentences used to sign off a letter.  Where in English we might say "Thank you", "Cordially", or "Kind Regards" and then sign our name, in French you would say something more like "In waiting for your response I wish that you accept the expression of my most respectful sentiments,"  and then sign your name.  So we needed to be prepared with several versions of these phrases, since they change depending on the situation.
(Another note- this sort of information is important for our work in Africa!  In most African countries, it is culturally very important to give respect where it is due.  So, things like this will really come in handy when we need to communicate with local hospital leadership.)

...Comprehénsion Écrite...
   A demonstration of our understanding of written French, by answering questions based on paragraphs of text from an article, advertisements, or a message like a letter.

Friday 17 July

    A very comprehensive test of the grammar rules we have studied in the last several months...lots of material covered in this test!

...Compréhension Orale...
    This one can be really tricky..we will need to answer questions based on an audio clip.

Normally we are allowed to hear the clip two times.  Nick and I have been doing the audio exercises that came with our book.  One that we did a couple days ago was set in an airport, and we needed to write down the destinations, flight numbers and gates that were being announced.  There was even a bunch of background noise/people talking to simulate a real life situation...both of us find that numbers are one of the hardest things to write down quickly.  On our test, there is sure to be something like phone numbers or addresses.  :)

    Dictation exam.  We do these pretty often in class as a sort of pop quiz.  An instructor will read (with pauses so that we can write everything down) about two pages worth of something like a story or a letter.  A tricky thing in French is that word endings have lots of silent letters, so you need to pay very very close attention to the context to really know what form of the word they are saying.

   This test counts for 10 points...most people don't count on getting any points towards their total from this one because we lose a quarter point for every punctuation mistake (forgetting accent marks is most common), a half point for every spelling error, and a whole point for every grammatical error.  Those 10 points go away really fast. :)

Monday 20 July

...Vocabulaire Biblique...
In May, we started learning vocabulary that is specifically used in the Bible.  Sometimes the words used in the Bible are different to everyday language, like in Genesis when it says "the heavens" instead of "the sky".

This is a test of our ability to read french text out loud and pronounce the words correctly.  Nick and I think it's one of the easier sections, but you still really need to know what you are doing.  French words are not pronounced the way an English speaking brain wants to say them :)

Tuesday 21 July

...Production Orale...
This one's worth the most points (40 out of 160).  There are 3 sections:

-Monologue:  we need to talk for 2-3 minutes on a topic which the professor will give us

-Jeu de Rôle (role play):  we will be assigned a scenario and hold a conversation with the professor. (For example, you have a problem with a colleague at work and you need to come to a solution.)

-Entretien Dirigé (guided interview): the professor will ask questions, and we need to understand and respond appropriately.


Here's a photo and a story....I was reminded of this while I was going through my old notes...

When we first got here, we kept getting this remark on our homework assignments...we thought it may have said v.g.- maybe for "very good"?
We were so pleased with ourselves!
A few months later we realized that that actually says "vu", which just means "seen".
oh well.  :)

As I sorted through my many hand outs and notes from class, it really was amazing to see how far we have come!  Many of the things that were mountains for us not so long ago have become quite natural and easy.  It's encouraging to look back at our progress.  Even though our exam week is pretty tough and a bit stressful, we are thankful that we serve a God who enables to climb these mountains!