The SAT French Subject Test
The SAT French Subject Test with Listening evaluates your reading and listening skills of spoken French. It is about one hour long.
The test is currently administered in November at designated test centers. You will need to fill out a special registration form and find the testing center nearest to you. On test day, you must take an appropriate CD player with earphones.
In this chapter, we explore the overall structure and describe each part of the listening test.
OVERALL STRUCTURE OF THE LISTENING TEST
The SAT French Subject Test with Listening consists of 40 minutes of reading (written questions) and 20 minutes of listening (oral questions), with 85 to 90 questions in all. This means that about two-thirds of the SAT French Subject Test with Listening consists of questions we’ve already discussed. You will have 40 minutes to work on those. There are, however, fewer of each type.
· Part A—Vocabulary Completions: 12–16 questions
· Part B—Grammar Blanks: 12–16 questions
· Part C—Paragraph Blanks: 15–17 questions
· Part D—Reading Comprehension: 20–25 questions
In addition to those regular questions, you will have 20 minutes to work on the listening part of the test. There will be three parts with a total of about 40 questions covering pictures (8–12 questions), dialogues (10–12 questions), and monologues (10–15 questions):
· Listening—Part A: Pictures
· Listening—Part B: Short Dialogues and Monologues
· Listening—Part C: Longer Dialogues and Monologues
Samples of each type of question are available on the College Board’s website, www.collegeboard.com.
Should You Sign Up for the French Subject Test with Listening?
The results of your test will give colleges a more complete picture of your French language proficiency. Your aim should be to give them the best picture of your abilities for the purpose of class placement.
You do not have to speak French on either of the SAT French Subject Tests. Therefore, do not feel anxious about the listening portion of the test. Many students tend to do better on this section than they do on the written portion. There are fewer grammar and reading questions, which will benefit students who are better at spoken French than at grammar or reading comprehension. To prepare for the listening test you may want to visit www.collegeboard.com, as mentioned above, and practice with www.laguinguette.com. You’ll also find it helpful to watch and listen to French TV news and as many French movies as you can get your hands on.
LISTENING—PART A: PICTURES
The first part of the Listening Test consists of choosing which spoken phrase best matches the provided picture. Each sentence will be designated (A), (B), (C), or (D).
Directions: For each item in this part, you will hear four sentences designated (A), (B), (C), and (D). They will not be printed in your test booklet. As you listen, look at the picture in your test booklet and select the choice that best reflects what you see in the picture or what someone in the picture might say. Then fill in the corresponding oval on the answer sheet. You will hear the choices only once. Now look at the following example.
Look at the picture before the answer choices are played. Get a general idea of what is going on.
Make a Decision as You Hear Each Choice
As each answer choice is read to you, decide if that choice is at all appropriate. If it is not, cross out that choice on your answer sheet. You may not be allowed to write in your book. If the choice is good or possible, make a small mark inside the bubble. Probably only one will make any sense. If not, guess. Don’t wait to hear all the choices before deciding about each of them. Decide “yes” or “no” as you go, for you will hear each choice only one time, so you must think quickly. Erase all stray marks once you select an answer.
LISTENING—PART B: SHORT DIALOGUES
On this section you will hear either a dialogue between two people, or a monologue. It will be followed by three answer choices labeled (A), (B), or (C). The answer choices will be heard only once. Again, listen closely because nothing is repeated.
Directions: In this part of the test you will hear several short selections. A tone will announce each new selection. The selections will not be printed in your test booklet, and will be heard only once. At the end of each selection, you will be asked one or two questions about what was said, each followed by three possible answers, (A), (B), and (C). The answers are not printed in your test booklet. You will hear them only once. Select the BEST answer and fill in the corresponding oval on the answer sheet. Now listen to the following example, but do not mark the answer on your answer sheet.
Make a Decision as You Hear Each Choice
As you hear each answer choice, decide if it is appropriate or not. Eliminate it or keep it on your answer sheet. Once you’ve selected an answer, erase all stray marks. Do not mark (D) or (E) as choices.
LISTENING—PART C: LONG PASSAGES
This section consists of longer monologues or dialogues that will be heard only once. In this section, the questions and the four answer choices will be in the test booklet.
Hear Ye, Hear Ye
On Part C of the listening
part of the test, answer
the questions as you hear
the information being
presented. Don’t wait to
hear the whole thing!
Directions: You will now hear some extended dialogues or monologues. You will hear each only once. After each dialogue or monologue, you will be asked several questions about what you have just heard. These questions are also printed in your test booklet. Select the best answer to each question from among the four choices printed in your test booklet and fill in the corresponding oval on the answer sheet. There is no sample question for this part.
The great thing about this question type in Part C is that the questions and answer choices are printed in your booklet. As the instructions are being read (familiarize yourself with them now so that you don’t waste time on the big day) and before the passage is read, read the questions and their answers to get a sense of the topic.
As in reading comprehension, the questions are in chronological order. Don’t wait for the entire passage to be read before answering the questions. (It would be hard for even a native speaker to remember all those details for so long.) As the passage is being read, look at each question and mark the correct answer as soon as you hear it. The questions will either ask you to repeat specific details or paraphrase them. You are not required to interpret or infer.
Practice is the number one way to improve your score on the SAT French Listening Test. In order to get your best score, make sure you do the following:
· Memorize the instructions to save time on test day.
· Bring the required CD player and fresh batteries.
· Go to the test rested and well fed.
· Follow the pace of the recording.
· Make your decision as you hear the choices because you won’t remember them if you wait.
· If there is a picture, look at all the details.
· On the Long Passages section, do not wait for the entire passage to be read. Answer as soon as you figure out the right choice.