Revising for Modern Languages
Revising for Higher Modern Languages
 Much of what we need are skills
 We don’t have formulae, dates and equations
 We do have verbs!
 We also have cases
 We have to revise for:
 Listening
 Reading
 Translation
 Writing
This is very much a skill, which you get better at with
practice. So:
 Watch films and listen to music as much as you can,
preferably with sub-titles or text in the language:
look at the suggestions
 Listen to every past paper you can, then listen again
with the transcript, to train your ear to hear
 Use all the Scholar listening material, then listen
again with the transcript revealed
 Listen to radio on the internet
 Reading is another skill: practice again is really
 Take chunks of the foreign language, and try to put
together a resume of what it says in your own words.
Use Google translate afterwards to give you a rough
translation so you can see how you have got on.
 Take a text, and without using a dictionary, highlight
what you think the key points are: again, use Google
translate as a sense check
 Develop your dictionary skills!
Dictionary skills
 It will take you around 45 seconds on average to look up
a word in the dictionary: try the test posted on the
discussion pages to see how long you take!
That means looking up 20 words in a passage will take
you 15 minutes. You only have 45 minutes to answer all
the questions!
Get faster at using the dictionary, practise using the one
you will take into an exam
Use a dictionary which is right for the task
Much of the meaning in a sentence is conveyed by the
verb: get used to identifying where the verbs are, by
highlighting them
Dictionary skills
 Become familiar with the verb pages: many times
when people can’t find a word in the dictionary, it is
because it is a form of a verb, and most dictionaries
give only infinitives
 Stick a blank card or a ruler in the verb pages, so you
can go to them instantly, and save time
 Get used to going beyond the head word in the
dictionary, practise scanning the examples below, as
you will often find the whole phrase you are looking
 Look at the PowerPoint on translation
 Take small chunks out of past papers and try putting
them into English: these texts are set at the right
level for you. Ask your teacher to look at your
versions, or get the marking schemes from the SQA
website if you use the actual translation: the last five
years are available at:
 Put in subject and level
Directed Writing: old Higher
 Higher directed writing is all about past tenses, so make
sure you are good at them: use your dictionary verb
pages to check your work: practise using these pages
There are six bullet points, of which four are very
Sit and write your frameworks for these four bullet
points: then learn them
Once you have learned them, try putting them into
practice by measuring them against past papers, and
seeing what you have to tweak: this is key for the prelims
For the last two bullet points, you are liable to need a
future and conditional tense, and give opinions! Look for
more advice next term when we deal with reading
Directed Writing: new Higher
 Higher directed writing is all about past tenses, so make
sure you are good at them: use your dictionary verb
pages to check your work: practise using these pages
 Be clear what the past tenses mean and when you would
use them
 There are four bullet points, which are to a certain extent
 For the last bullet point, you are liable to need a future
and conditional tense, and give opinions!
 Next term we will have a session on writing, which will
cover this in more depth
Directed writing: old Higher
 how you travelled to Germany and what you did
during the journey
where you stayed and how you got on with the
whole family
how you spent your time at the Christmas market
what you thought of the different meals you ate
what you did during the time you had to yourself
during this visit
what you would recommend about being in Germany
just before Christmas
Directed writing: old Higher
 How you travelled to Spain and what you did on the
What you thought of the food and accommodation in
How you got on with the people in your group and
the Spanish people you met
How you spent the evenings in Barcelona
What you did on your last day in Spain
Why you would or would not recommend a trip of
this type to Spain.
Directed writing: old Higher
 how many people were in your group and how you
where you stayed and what you thought about the
what you did on the days of the competition
how you got on with the other teams which were
taking part
what you did in your free time
what benefits you got from being part of a team
competing in France.
Directed writing: new Higher
 What your job was and what you thought of the people
you worked with
 What you had to do in your job
 What you liked/disliked about the job
 If you would recommend such an experience to others
 where you found the job advert and how you applied for
the job
 what kind of work you have been doing
 what you thought about the job
 whether you would recommend a summer job abroad
Opinion writing: old and new
 This is unpredictable! You can not know what topic
will come up, although it will be something you have
 You cannot simply learn by heart some essays and
hope to find one of them fits
 You will be given a topic, then asked usually two or
three questions. You have to answer them!
 What you can do is have a lot of opinion phrases
ready, and be prepared to adapt them to fit the topic
in question
Opinion writing: old and new
 Collate some of the material you have been listening
to, to incorporate it in your essays: so when you are
practising listening, take the time to note down some
phrases in the target language which you can then
put in your writing
 Look at the transcripts of what you are listening to
and identify good phrases and sentences for your
 Have an introduction and conclusion ready
 Finally, try writing some short plans for essays:
structure is important
Opinion questions: old Higher
 Où préférez–vous passer les vacances? Et pourquoi?
Qu’est-ce qu’il y a chez vous pour les touristes et
pour les jeunes qui y habitent?
 Was willst du in der Zukunft machen? Mö chtest du
auch woanders leben?
 Y para ti, ¿es importante la tecnología en tu vida?
¿Para qué utilizas tu móvil? ¿Crees que la gente está
obsesionada con la tecnología?
Opinion questions: new Higher
 Penses-tu comme Audrey que les langues sont
importantes pour l’avenir? Est-ce-que ton
lycée/collège te prépare bien pour le monde du
travail? As-tu des projets précis pour le futur?
 Bianca hat eine kleine Familie. Wie ist das mit dir?
Hast du eine große Familie? Wie kommst du mit
deiner Familie aus? Denkst du, dass es wichtig ist
Geschwister zu haben? Warum?
 Carmen ha hablado de sus pasatiempos y de lo que
hace para mantenerse en forma. Y tú, ¿qué haces
para estar en forma? ¿Tienes muchos pasatiempos?
¿Crees que es importante tener pasatiempos sanos?
Opinion starts and finishes
 Audrey a parlé des vacances: pour moi, les vacances sont
bien sûr importantes. Je voudrais examiner ce sujet un peu.
Eh bien, j’espère que j’ai pu parler suffisament au sujet des
vacances, et que vous savez ce que j’en pense.
Bianca hat von ihrer Familie gesprochen. Ich denke ein
bisschen anders, und möchte etwas von meinen Ideen jetzt
Also, ich hoffe, sie haben jetzt eine bessere Idee von meinen
Ansichten zum Thema Familie.
Carmen ha hablado de sus pasatiempos, y fue muy
interesante. Para mi, las cosas son un poco diferente.
Entonces, tiene ahora un idea do lo qu hago yo para
mantenerme en forma.