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FAQs for IGCSE (9–1) French Foreign Language (7156)

How many candidates can I have in a room for the Listening examination?

We will supply the recorded material for the listening exams, which you may keep after the exam. We strongly advise you to hold the listening exam in a room that is suitable for up to 30 candidates. If you have equipment that is very powerful, you may accommodate more candidates without special permission, but we will not consider applications for special consideration on the grounds of inaudibility

Can I listen to the whole Listening examination to check it before I play it to my candidates in
the examination?

No. You should spot-check the listening examination for recording and sound quality when you receive it by listening to short excerpts. Then, in order to check the acoustics, one of the recordings should be spot-checked in the examination room one working day before the examination. On neither of the above occasions may the recording be listened to in full nor may the recording be removed from the centre for checking. After each check the examination materials must be returned to your centre's secure store.

Who should conduct and mark the Speaking test, and do they need to be accredited by
Cambridge?

It is usually a teacher at the school who conducts and assesses the Speaking tests. Where this is not possible and it is necessary to look for someone outside the school, they must be someone who is fluent in the target language, preferably with teaching experience and with experience of conducting other oral examinations. The person appointed must be given the opportunity to familiarise themselves with the requirements of the examination before conducting any 'live' Speaking tests.

It is the responsibility of the person conducting the Speaking tests to mark them. The Speaking tests must be marked as they are being conducted. Examiners should mark the 'live' candidate and not a recording. You don’t need to be accredited by Cambridge in order to conduct the IGCSE Foreign Language Speaking test. However, we strongly recommend that you study the Speaking Test Handbook in advance of the examination, especially if you are new to the syllabus. The Speaking Test Handbook offers guidance and advice on the preparation for and delivery of the speaking test. It also provides marked recordings of candidate work with accompanying examiner comments.

When do we hold the Speaking test?

The examination dates for Speaking tests are available in the Exam Timetable for your administrative zone available here.

When will I receive the materials for the Speaking test?

If you do not submit estimated entries, we will not be able to send your early question papers and pre-release materials until we have received your final entries. You may not have the necessary materials to carry out assessments at the specified time.

How should I record my candidates and present the sample for external moderation?

The Speaking examination should be recorded using good-quality recording equipment, for example, a digital voice recorder with a separate microphone. Each candidate’s file must be saved individually in mp3 format. All candidates must be recorded and all recordings must be retained until after the enquiries about results period.

The speaking tests selected for the sample to send to Cambridge for external moderation should then be transferred to either a USB stick, CD or DVD, which must be clearly identified with your Centre number, the syllabus code and the component code. These must be sent with the relevant paperwork.

What is the deadline for submitting recorded samples and paperwork to Cambridge for
external moderation?

When you have completed your Speaking tests you should despatch the necessary paperwork and recorded samples for external moderation to Cambridge for moderation as soon as possible and must arrive at Cambridge by the date specified in the Cambridge Handbook or in the Samples database. Do not wait until the end of the examination period before sending us these items.

What happens to the Speaking test marks when they arrive at Cambridge?

When your recorded sample and paperwork arrive at Cambridge they are forwarded to a moderator. The moderator listens to your sample and looks at the marks that you have awarded to ensure that they are consistent with the IGCSE standard. If your marks are consistent then they will not be changed. If they are not, then an adjustment will be made to align them with the standard, e.g. the marks will be raised if you have marked your candidates severely, or lowered if you have been too generous. A summary of moderation adjustments will be sent to your centre with the results.

In the Writing paper, how important is it for candidates to get the word count exactly right?

Candidates should not be excessively worried if they are slightly over or under the word count.

However, if an answer is significantly longer or shorter than the word count, it will most likely be self-penalising. Answers that are too short are very likely to be penalised for lack of content, whilst answers that are too long will probably not be written with concision and precision, and so be penalised for style and possibly for repetition.

We suggest that candidates should practise answering these types of questions before the exam, and take note of how many lines/pages they should write in order to answer within the word limits (this will be different for each candidate, depending on their handwriting).

In question 1 of the Writing paper, if a candidate lists only 5 items and not 8 can they score the full 5 marks if all 5 are correct?

Yes. However, advise candidates to attempt 8 items in case the 5 they have listed are not all correct.

For more information and materials on this syllabus, please visit our School Support Hub here.

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