“Patience and perseverance have a magical effect before which difficulties disappear and obstacles vanish.”John Quincy Adams
This is the quote that I have adhered to all my life. Moreover, this is the magic formula that helped me overcome all the shortcomings during my learning and while taking the mock exams for the advanced levels DALF C1-C2.
Without further ado, here is the topic for today’s blog post: the challenges I faced during the DALF C1 – C2 training and how I overcame them.
Broadly, I’m going to talk about multiple challenges on a personal, professional, and academic level.
- DALF C1
After passing the DELF B2 in December 2016, I took a 3-week break to rest and go on a vacation during the Christmas holidays. After a quick and comprehensive discussion with my teacher, we launched into an intensive preparation routine for the DALF C1 course in February 2017.
If for some, it is about hesitation, lack of motivation or financial and professional limitations; for others like me, it has always been time – like a hamster spinning on wheels, while being afraid to miss out on something. So, I gave myself the deadline: June 2017, to succeed in the DALF C1 (it was not just about passing – I was very strict with myself).
Let’s not forget : 😇 “Jumping from intermediate level to independent level is challenging.“
Four months of intensive preparation for the final exam involved preparing all alone for 6-7 hours each week, listening to hundreds of French podcasts, reading dozens of articles, learning thousands of new words, and using the 5 best books / manuals to prepare for the DALF C1 / C2. Also, what worked for me was drawing a mind map of the vocabulary and the main points on each subject / topic area that we covered during the training.
Towards the end, I realized (while summarizing whatever I had learnt) that I had prepared exhaustively by going through more than 45 unpublished topics.
I cannot thank my teacher enough for her constant support and generosity.
The fact that the test is 4 hours 30 mins long is already frightening to many of us. In fact, in my opinion, the most difficult test was the written part, including writing a synthesis and an argumentative essay in 2 hours 30 mins. Oof !! Again, I had to learn time management. (For practical advice on the DALF C1 written test, click here.)
“Whatever the mind of man can conceive and believe, it can achieve.” – Napoleon Hill
Everything is possible if you believe in it. Back to the menu
- DALF C2
A huge gap of more than 1.5 years, part-time work and the challenges of a new mother; everything was there to demotivate me and to increase the gaps waiting to be filled.
After passing DALF C1 in June 2017, I took a break and started working part-time for an American company and giving virtual lessons to elementary and intermediate FLE learners.
“There is nothing more pleasant than the feeling of the finished task, of the completed work.”Henri-Frédéric Amiel
This quote helped me stick to my plans of achieving my goal of becoming an experienced user of the language. Then, towards the end of 2018, I started my practice every night – once I was done with my work and my little one had gone to bed – by reviewing everything I had learned during my DALF C1 training. In January 2019, I took a mock test to assess my level, which my teacher evaluated.
Big sigh of relief 😇: I had not lost my language skills at the autonomous level (C1).
At that point, I challenged myself by targeting the final exam in June 2019 even though I had no idea how I was going to get there with so many responsibilities at various levels: personal, academic and professional.
So I went back to taking private lessons with my mentor once a week and at the same time practicing my language skills 15-20 hours on weekends after a busy week.
(My husband was being very supportive all this while by taking charge of household chores. It’s really important for a woman to have the constant support of her family.)
After a few weeks of classes, when I tried a mock exam to evaluate my level in mid-April – it was a disaster! I was still at level C1. Nothing had changed! Urgh! It was frustrating and so demotivating!
There was only a month and half left for the final exam.
Additionally, the cost of this exam was so high that I didn’t want to waste my money.
However, after much thought, I resumed my studies taking one to two days off from work every week to improve my language skills and to find a strategy that could increase my chances of success.
Towards the end of May, after five mock exams, my mentor finally said what I wanted to hear “Well done!!! You are ready for the final exam!! “
There was also a day when I felt completely lost, and it was my husband who reminded me, “It is hard to fail, but it is worse never to have tried to succeed.” – Theodore Roosevelt.
This is how I took the risk and was able to overcome all these challenges.
In the coming weeks, I will share how I was able to improve my French and reach my goal of clearing DALF C2.
So, don’t forget to sign up to find out more. Back to the menu
To recap, I would like to say that every learner is unique.
- Think about your own academic / linguistic strategies because in my opinion one can pass these exams with an efficient approach.
- Manage your time for preparation according to your personal situation and needs.
- Use experienced FLE teachers to evaluate your progress and have your work corrected.
- Stay motivated during your course/training.
- Self-assess from time to time to understand your strengths and shortcomings.
- Remember that these exams are held twice a year (which varies according to the geographic region). So you have to orient yourself according to this constraint.
Some sources of inspiration while writing this article:
Credits for the images:
1. <a href=’https://www.freepik.com/photos/business’>Business photo created by jigsawstocker – http://www.freepik.com</a>
2. Image par <a href=”https://pixabay.com/fr/users/mohamed_hassan-5229782/?utm_source=link-attribution&utm_medium=referral&utm_campaign=image&utm_content=3127948″>mohamed Hassan</a> de <a href=”https://pixabay.com/fr/?utm_source=link-attribution&utm_medium=referral&utm_campaign=image&utm_content=3127948“>Pixabay</a>