AP French Study Tips

By Bryan Owens

  1. Memorize the gender hints: link. Every rule has exceptions, but you’ve probably already memorized a great deal of the exceptions through your years of learning French. Here are the most important hints that’ll help you out right away:
    1. Feminine: -e, -ion, -sé, -té, -eur (except malheur, bonheur)
    2. Masculine: -age, -ble, -eau, -isme, -ment, -é (except -sé, -té), most nouns that end with a consonant
  2. Memorize prefixes and suffixes. They usually sound like their English equivalents, which means you can often guess French translations with high accuracy. For example:
    1. dé- = de
    2. in- = in-, un-
    3. -ion = -ion
    4. -isme = -ism (e.g., terrorisme, athéisme, racisme). You will use this suffix all the time when discussing the themes of Les défis mondiaux and La quête de soi
  3. Try to read 1 full article on current events from Le Monde every day. Look up all the words you don’t know on Wiktionary and make them into a list. Every week or so, review the last week’s list. Wiktionary is great because it gives you the definitions, gender, and etymology (which can aid memorization).
  4. Review vocab words whenever you can.
  5. Make sure you have an excellent grasp of grammar because that will boost your confidence to practice talking and writing in French. Plus it will impress your teacher.
  6. Write emails in French to your teacher, with the customary salutations and closings. This will help you immensely in the email-writing portion of the AP test. Also useful if you want to share your exciting extracurricular accomplishments with your teacher.