Next goal: DALF C1

Prochaîn défi: Examen C1 juin 2022

Comme ça fait déjà 1-2 ans j’ai réussi mon examen du DELF B2. Pendant cette année (2020 ainsi que 2021), il y a beaucoup de changements dans la vie, et surtout c’est comme mon apprentissage de français a ralenti.

J’ai un but de prendre l’examen C1 prochain juin et il me faut consacrer du temps pour vrai (et surtout sur ma recherche). Ce but va me pousser d’étudier français regulièrement.

And till we meet again…

Maodi (2003 – 2021)

Thank you for having been a wonderful companion for a big part of my childhood.

Thank you for making our home more lively.

We were extremely fortunate to have you as part of our family for the last 17 years.

You were suffering in the days leading up to your departure…

I hope wherever you are now; you will be free from pain and suffering…

And I hope if we ever see each other again, you will recognize me.

Have fun in heaven and goodbye my friend.

2020 Year end reflection

2020 had been a really unusual year, not just for me but also for everyone.

I wrapped up the first semester of my PhD in ULaval. I took two courses (Advanced Mathematical Statistics and Regression) but because I had been working for two years, I spent a lot more time in brushing up the basics. I am so happy to say I passed those two courses. I have to say Advanced Mathematical Statistics stressed me out the most. There were only two exams worth 50% each and this is the distribution of 2nd exam:

Basically, out of 22 students in the class, only 10 people passed (or had scores above 50).

I have time off until the January 18, after which, I will be starting school again! I am using this time to study for SOA’s IFM exam, with the hopes of taking the March 2021 exam. Not having a financial background is really difficult for me.

My desk

My goal is to actually use the time I have to do some reading for my PhD (on survey sampling, missing data and accomplish at least 5 chapters of the IFM syllabus)

Hopefully that gets done!

Corrigé: Expression écrite

À partir de maintenant, j’utilise cette site pour mes rédactions françaises aussi. Je continue à suivre les cours de français une fois tous les deux semaines sur Italki.

Sujet: En utilisant les expressions ci-dessus et d’autres que vous connaissez, répondez à la question suivante : quels sont vos souhaits, vos sentiments et vos pensées sur l’après-coronavirus ? Comment sera le monde, d’après vous ?

La COVID-19 a frappé le monde dès la fin de 2019. Dans la plupart des pays, nous avons vu une grande augmentation du nombre de cas à partir du mois de mars 2020. C’est une maladie qui peut entraîner des conséquences graves, surtout pour les personnes âgées. De plus, la maladie se propage facilement et c’est la raison pour laquelle beaucoup de pays ont adopté la distanciation physique ainsi que les fermetures de bureaux et des écoles pour empêcher sa propagation.

Nous sommes arrivés à la fin de l’année 2020 et il y a des entreprises pharmaceutiques qui ont créé des vaccins avec un bon taux d’efficacité contre cette maladie. C’est un signe que le retour à la vie normale arrivera bientôt. Je souhaite que la vie revienne à la normale pour tout le monde le plus vite possible. À cause de cette pandémie, on a vu que le taux du chômage s’est accru. Il y a des gens qui ont perdu leur emploi et qui sont stressés à propos de leurs ressources financières. De plus, j’aimerais que les écoles rouvrent dès que possible. Les élèves ont passé la plupart de cette année à la maison et même s’il y a des bénéfices avec l’apprentissage en ligne, il y aussi des inconvénients avec cette façon d’apprendre. Premièrement, les élèves se sentent plus isolés qu’avant et cet isolement peut entraîner/engendrer des problèmes de la santé mentale. Deuxièmement, l’accès aux ressources n’est pas équitable pour tous les étudiants. Par exemple, pour les étudiants qui font partie des familles à faible revenu, il est probable qu’il n’aient pas accès aux bon outils technologiques où même aux aides extérieures. Par conséquent, ce sont des gens qui ont plus de difficultés scolaires en ce moment/en cette période. 

D’après moi, la vie après la pandémie sera différente de celle qu’on a connu avant. Cette pandémie a rendu le télétravail obligatoire pour la plupart des commerçants, des entreprises et des fonctionnaires. Selon plusieurs sondages, les travailleurs ont profité de ce nouveau style de travail. Ils n’ont pas besoin d’aller au bureau pendant les heures de pointe et de dépenser une partie de leur salaire pour l’essence ou les transports en commun. Les gens font des économies et ont plus de temps. Je pense que beaucoup d’entreprises vont permettre à leurs employés de continuer à  travailler chez eux car les bénéfices sont plus importants que les désavantages. Spécifiquement, pour ceux qui ont des enfants, avoir une heure ou même deux heures par jour est un bonus. 

How I succeeded in my DELF B2 exam

Last year, I took up the courage to write the probably most basic French DELF A1 exam. Come to think of it, it isn’t really much of a challenge. The effort to get to an A1 level is about 100 hours according to many sources. The challenge itself I guess was having the courage to write the exam.

I made it a point to myself that before 2019 ends this year, I will sit for the DELF B2 exam. And I succeeded!


What is the DELF (Diplôme d’Études en Langue Française) exam?

It is an exam offered by the French Ministry of Education to validate the competency of non-native French speakers. They are split into 4 levels in increasing level of difficulty: A1, A2, B1 and B2. There is then the DALF exam for proficient users (C1 and C2). There are other exam frameworks such as the TEF and TCF. The difference between TCF/TEF and DELF is that TCF/TEF would have one exam that evaluates you and puts you into the A1-C2 level based on your scores whereas DELF is a level-specific exam.

Why I am taking the exam? 

The B2 level is seen as a passport for job/study opportunities in France/Quebec. Francophone universities require minimum of DELF B2 in their admissions.

How I prepared as a full-time adult: 

Sources estimate the time to reach B2 level takes about 500 to 600 hours of learning however YMMV. Between A1 to B2, I recognize I had about a year of prep work. As a working adult, I probably commit 10 hours a week (actively/passively learning) and here’s what I did which has been identified in the post linked:

  • On the way to work/On the way back from work: I would listen to the French radio such as France Info. If you are starting out, I would recommend Inner French‘s podcast as its meant for intermediate learners and he speaks slow enough and enunciates all the words clearly. The goal of listening to France Info is not to 100% understand everything, but to understand what they are talking about and be able to recognize some vocabulary. Gradually, you will be able to improve your listening skills and understand more details each time you listen to a radio/podcast. I also recommend RFI site to test practise your listening skills.
  • At work:  I will continue listening to podcasts or tune into France24/FranceInfo if what I am doing is not too demanding.
  • Italki lessons: I have been using Italki for about a year now. Thanks to the teachers and tutors, I have been able to improve my pronunciation, writing, speaking and to understand specific nuances of the language. For example, we use ‘perte de temps’ rather than ‘gaspillage de temps’ to indicate waste of time. It gave me an opportunity to speak and be corrected. You can find a teacher that suits your budget. The only downside is whether your teacher can stay committed. Some users might be here for only short time to try out teaching or they might take a break. As a result, I found it hard to stick to just having lessons with one teacher. I would be taking about 2 to 3 lessons per week.
  • Meetups: Search for local language meetups/exchange in your area. In my area, every Saturday, they have a Eng-French exchange group. The advantage is you train yourself in holding basic social conversations in French, downside is you might find it hard to improve outside of the basic social conversation topics you discuss.
  • Reading: I cannot emphasize the importance of starting with reading children’s books meant for 5 year olds.  The key is to get used to how sentences are formed in the language, reinforce the conjugations. After a few months of doing so, I started reading Harry Potter.  and articles from FranceCulture,

Putting incremental amounts of effort slowly goes a long way in learning anything!

Now that I have passed the exam, and while its not as major as C1 level,  I spend between 30 minutes to 1 hour a day on the language through youtube, reading and once a week lesson with a tutor on italki.

Thanks for reading and I will be happy to answer any questions or comments you have!