Posts Tagged ‘DFA’

9:15 am

Diplôme de Français des Affaires, 1er Degré: The Results

So, I took this exam before I left Paris last June, and I’ve been waiting patiently for my results.

My certificate arrived today. I passed with a mention très bien, which indicates a score of 80% or better and is the highest mark given. Yippee!

1:37 am

Diplôme de Français des Affaires, 1er Degré

For the past few weeks, I’ve been kind of antsy, and I couldn’t figure out if it was because of the impending Diplôme de français des affaires, 1er degré (DFA) or due to my upcoming relocation to Prague.

Well, I completed the DFA yesterday: it was mostly the DFA. (When I think about Prague now, I get a little tense, but nowhere near as unsettled as I had been.) In truth, it really wasn’t anything to worry about, and I’m confident that I passed. I didn’t do as well as I’d been hoping though: particularly on Tuesday’s written exam, there were some words and concepts that we hadn’t touched on in class, and I was obliged to guess. I had thought that perhaps nervousness was coloring my perception, but I’ve talked to some of my classmates, who confirmed my take.

The oral exam yesterday, though, was much less scary than I’d feared. The two examiners were both very non-threatening and the articles I had to work with were relatively easy. The English article was about the success of the owner of two Chicago-based pizzerias; the French article discussed the problems attached to the large number of people who live near the coast. (According to this article, 60% of the world’s population lives within 60 km of a coast.) The vocabulary wasn’t particularly complex, and I was able to sum up both articles easily.

It’ll be at least a month before I have my results. As I said, I’m confident that I passed: the threshold for passing is only 60 (out of 100). In fact, I’m even pretty sure that I’ll have managed a mention bien, which requires a score of 70. The real question in my mind is whether or not I pulled off a mention très bien, which requires at least 80. In the simulations that Mme Sainlos gave us in class, I consistently fell just below that level. On the one hand, Mme Sainlos suggested that our letters, résumés, and oral presentations would not be graded quite as strictly as she graded them, and on the other hand, this exam was harder than the simulations. So I just have to wait and see…

1:35 pm

Français des affaires

Well, I’m two weeks into my classes. I’d forgotten how much work being a student is! I’m just glad that I don’t have to be concerned about grades.

The business French (Français des Affaires) course is particularly serious. The professor, Mme Sainlos, is very geared toward making sure that we can pass the DFA1 exam offered in at the end of the term. The DFA (Diplôme de Français des Affaires) is offered by the Chambre de Commerce et d’Industrie de Paris to certify French fluency. The written exam has two main components: writing letters and writing résumés (which in the case of business French means summaries), and so our Tuesday meetings are mostly given over to résumés, while on Thursdays we work on letters. The oral exam similarly has two main components: providing an oral summary in French of an article written in our native language and mounting an argument for (or against) an idea presented in an article written in French. And so part of our course work will also include such presentations. Next Thursday (yes, already), it’ll be my turn to argue. I have an article entitled "Le tourism s’invente de nouveaux guides" ("Tourism invents new guides"). I’m charged with outlining the advantages and limits of this new approach and advancing my own opinion.

We also have work in small groups: in groups of two or three, we’re researching different French companies and will be presenting our findings to the class. I’m working with one other student on Air France; our rough outline includes the history of Air France, their alliance with other airlines, objectives, activities, and balance sheet.

And while all of this is going on, we’re learning French business vocabulary, which is particularly tricky, since some fairly simple words have very specific meanings when they’re used in a business context. And of course those very specific meanings are not addressed in our little pocket dictionaries.

Unlike the general French course, most of the 12 of us are non-Americans with French spouses. Only three of us are Americans.

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