Friday, September 21, 2012

French Me

I’ll be honest. Wednesday, I forgot to post, (head slam!) which happens sometimes because all of my posts are improvised just a couple hours before they go live. In my defense, though, my blogging schedule slipped my mind because I was ferociously studying for the French proficiency exam I need to take in order to acquire citizenship that was coming up Thursday.

So, yesterday, I took the metro into Paris and stumbled around with my little map in one hand and my tactile phone in the other, trying to approximate the blinking dot of my gps app to the narrow, winding streets in front of me. Finally, I managed to find the testing center in time to not be disqualified from the exam.

The first part of the test was fairly straight forward. I had to converse with a French person for five-to-ten minutes. There were some basic questions involved and a part where I had to come up with questions for the instructor based on a theme. The whole thing was recorded so it could be sent to a grading center.

The next part, however, was oral comprehension- given in an old-school listen to a cd/fill in the blank format. We listened to one part of a conversation and then had multiple choices as to what should come next. We listened to a joint conversation and then had to answer a question about what was said. -Same thing with excerpts from news interviews. Seems easy enough, no?

Well, NO.

As it turns out. The French are quite competent when it comes to complicating your run-of-the mill multiple choice until you’re not sure which way’s up. I came to this conclusion a couple years ago, when I was getting my French driver’s permit, so I knew not to sniff at a French multiple-choice test, especially when something important like citizenship is involved. 

First of all, there were 30 questions to be answered in 25 minutes. 

Secondly, when it came to the joint conversations and news excerpts, a lot was said and the questions were sure to be based on a tiny or unimportant detail.

Many of the answers resembled one another or ALL of them were cited in the conversations but we had to decide what was most important.

OR none of the details were cited in the excerpt and we had to decide which one looked even the slightest bit relevant. 

For example:

Michelle says- ‘I took the company car to work early Monday morning. I made sure to ask for a specific model, because I had a business meeting in Brussels later on in the day, and it’s important to have a dependable car with good gas mileage.’


What color should the sky have been the morning Michelle left for work?

a- Grey
b- Black
c- Blue
d- Violet


In any case, I hope to get back to my regularly scheduled programming next week. I have a few newly-released books I wanted to spotlight but I’d rather include them in next week’s post so they  can get the attention they deserve. What was the hightlight (or lowlight) of your week? Any big plans for the end of September?

Hope you all have a great weekend!



Vicki Rocho said...

Multiple choice tests drive me crazy because I'm an equal-opportunity test taker and can make a quality case for just about any answer that's not blatantly wrong.

How long until you get the results?

Dianne K. Salerni said...

Fingers crossed for you!

That sounds like an excessively convoluted exam that didn't test your fluency in French as much as your ability to listen, pay attention, and guess the color shirt the test-writer was wearing. Sigh.

Janet Johnson said...

Oh my gosh, that just sounds so . . . FRENCH! Crossing my fingers for you. And honestly, I thought this post was great. I love learning how things work in other countries. :)

Laura Pauling said...

Jeez, tough. So what color is the sky? I guess, grey? Good luck on the exam! So cool that you would have French citizenship. :)

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

That is the dumbest question I have ever heard! Those French are tough - and confusing. Or maybe just confused?

Old Kitty said...

lol!!! I'd have chosen Violet!! Oooh la-la!! Good luck and I hope you will be French very soon!!! Yay!! Take care

Matthew MacNish said...

How could you possibly answer that question if you don't know whether she left for work before or after sunrise? Seems crazy to me.

Jennifer Shirk said...

Good grief that does sound tough!

Good luck, girl!!

Natalie Aguirre said...

Hope your test went well. My bar exam multiple choice part of the test was the queen of being tricky. At least two answers always looked right. I know the frustration.

Have a great weekend.

Unknown said...

Oh man, I had to take a multiple choice test the other day, and it wasn't even a French one, and it was nearly impossible. *hates multiple choice tests*

Good luck to you!

Rachel said...

Oh man, that's tough. I hope you got through it okay, Katie. But eeek Paris!!! A part of me is so jealous you're living there. I just got back from Switzerland. <3

This week I started rewriting my entire novel. OMG. *headdesk* It is great but also a shizz ton of work. To see how i started if you have time in between eating macaroons and taking exams, you can check out my blog. Another tough thing that happened this month is my grandma passed away and we were really close. Sighs. One life ends, another begins, yes? <3

Tamara Narayan said...

Oh man, that sounds rough. I hate multiple choice. The worst were the answers that came in sets like three statements labeled A,B, and C. Then your choices were: A and B, A and C, B and C, all of the above, none of the above. Sheesh.

September highlights: My kids are back in school and they love their teachers and riding the bus.

September lowlights: Health problems in the family and not enough time to write.

Stina said...

I would have failed the first part of the exam. They never would have let me continue to the second part.

Part two sounds worse than IKEA instructions. But not by much.

shelly said...

My highlight this week has been writing the blurb for my soon-to-be-released book.

Good luck with your French.

Hugs and chocolate,

Patti said...

That is a crazy question. I remember french tests in collage, the oral always kicked my butt. Hopefully you passed.

Linda Kage said...

Fingers crossed for you!!

Meredith said...

Wow, I'm really glad I'm not applying for French citizenship! I hope everything goes well for you!

Connie Keller said...

Time limits? Didn't those end in college? Ack! I hope you did well.

I wonder how many native speakers would fail the test?

Unknown said...

Ick. I don't like multiple choice tests. Well actually, I don't any sort of test. Good luck. :)

Melodie Wright said...

Oh wow. My mother had to take a similar test when she applied for citizenship in Canada - but at least it was in ENGLISH.
i can only imagine how stressful that was. And I'm so envious of your bilingualism. GO YOU.

Botanist said...

Wow! That is so different from the Canadian citizenship exam I took earlier this year. Ours was all about Canadian history, its institutions and political system. The examiners assessed your language ability more-or-less in passing - are you able to understand the instructions for the test and answer probing questions about your application.

Yours sounds like it was all about the language. I guess there's a psychology thesis in there somewhere about the things that matter to immigration officials in different countries.

I hope you did well. I'm sure you did.

Carolyn V said...

Wow. Those are some interesting questions. I hope it goes well for you!!! Good luck!

Anonymous said...

Hi, Katie! I never did like timed tests. How long before you know the results?

Kristin Rae said...

Tricksy tricksy!!!! I'm a horrible test taker!!! I hope you did well!

D.G. Hudson said...

Kudos to you for trying to get through all the testing. Good luck!

Will check back when my blogroll shows your posts next week. We have a birthday dinner to do tomorrow for our youngest daughter.

A.L. Sonnichsen said...

I'm so impressed that you're going for French citizenship! Awesome!! Do you have to give up your American citizenship or can you have joint?

I hope you pass the test. It sounds mind-numbing!!!


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