Seeking nationality in a French-speaking country?
Learn about a test you may need to take, how LLS can support you in preparing for it – and why you can aim higher than you think!
Why Take a Standardised Language Exam?
There are many reasons to take a standardised language exam that will give you official recognition of your skill level, whether it’s for a sense of personal achievement, professional or educational requirements, or to gain residency or citizenship in a foreign country.
Residency was Amy’s main motivation for pursuing the French Diplôme d'études en langue française (DELF) certificate in 2021. Residency in European countries has become more complicated for British nationals after Brexit, so Amy decided that after many years of living in France, she would apply for French nationality. To succeed, she needed to pass the DELF exam. ℹ
Getting What You Need – and the Benefits of Aiming Higher
Since Amy knew that she needed certification at a B1 level, she initially planned to stay in her comfort zone and prepare just for the B1-level DELF exam. But after encouragement and confidence-building from the team at LLS, she ended up taking – and passing! – both the B1- and B2-level exams.
After an initial assessment by LLS, she was surprised to be told that she “could easily do the B2 exam with a bit of study.” Amy laughs, “I didn’t feel confident at all. You were the one that convinced me that I could definitely do the B2!”
As she was still unsure, LLS worked with Amy to come to a solution that would give her peace of mind: the suggestion was “Why don’t you do both, if you feel that that would give you a bit more confidence?” That way, if she aimed for the B2 level but didn’t quite make it, then she would still have the B1 certificate that she needed in hand.
Amy notes how having taken and passed both the higher-level exam as well as the one necessary for her citizenship application has “given me a lot more confidence, for sure, because I’ve proven to myself that I can do it.” This was important to Amy, as she says, “I’ve always doubted that.”
Rising to a New Challenge
After leaving academia and moving on to the world of work, it can be tough to get back into that mindset. For Amy, “learning to study again” after about twenty years was the most challenging part of the DELF preparation. In addition, Amy had never actually “taken any French lessons in my life, even though I’ve lived in France a long time,” but she felt it “would be a great opportunity” and “exciting” to challenge herself.
Amy was carefully matched with an LLS language trainer who would suit her and her needs. “Vincent was really great,” she says. “You chose him because you know how he works and you know me.” While LLS also offers face-to-face classes, Beth chose to work with her language trainer online, which made it “easy finding the time to sit down and study with him.” Amy found that avoiding travel time “was very convenient” and gave her more freedom in her daily routine.
Regular reviews with a language trainer make exam preparation easier, as accountability helps with discipline. “Once you’ve decided that you want to study, and you’ve organised it,” Amy says, “you need to do the homework and you need to study.” She also notes that “it’s making sure you did the work regularly” that’s important, which is another reason it’s helpful to stick to a routine with a language trainer. She also adds that, as an adult learner, “you don’t just pretend that you did do it and try to get away with it,” because “you’re studying for your own self, and you’re paying some money for it too!”
Working on her writing with Vincent was “the most rewarding” part of Beth’s learning process. As a long-time resident of France, Amy was used to speaking in French “quite well,” but found that “one of the hardest things was the written French” as “I never need to write in my work life.” She recalls that “when I first started with the writing in French, it wasn’t very good, but it came through really quickly with the lessons,” thanks to Vincent’s support.
LLS Makes It All Easier
Amy would happily tell other exam candidates “to come to LLS to start with, because it’s all organised for them.” As well as matching Amy with the ideal trainer, she loved that “LLS took care of a lot – in fact,” she corrects herself, laughing, “you took care of everything! Everything is sorted out.” This included providing her with all necessary material for her studies, as well as signing her up for the exam itself, which was “wonderful” – “another bit of bureaucracy that I didn’t need to take care of!”
For Amy, the behind-the-scenes efforts of LLS were “the easiest part” of the exam-taking process – and left her with more time for her actual studies!
LLS French Language Learning Programmes
Are you inspired by Amy’s story? Whether you want to improve your French to take an exam to meet residency or citizenship requirements, feel more at ease in the workplace, take part in a study programme, or feel more at home in your Swiss French community, our expert French trainers can help.
We provide face-to-face classes, individually or in groups, or an online language programme with weekly tutorials and student meetups via Zoom, ideal for students unable to get to classes. We cater for learners at every level, from beginners to French speakers who need to brush up or advance their skills.
Visit our French training and LLS Babbel blended language learning pages to find out more about our company training or one-to-one courses.
ℹ Please note that there are different exam requirements for residency and citizenship in Switzerland than for Amy in France.
Written by Tracy B/LLS
Image credit: Canva