English / Language Resources / Teaching

CELSA Concours Licence 3 — feedback

ImageThe exam papers for the Licence 3 have all been marked or graded.  Soon some of you will be receiving invitations to come for interview in June, or July — the dreaded “orals.” Others will be feeling disappointed and wondering what they did wrong.In a following post we shall look at tips to help you prepare for the oral, but before that, it might be useful to have a debrief for the written exam.

Many of you, on discovering you have not been selected, will shrug and put it down to experience, however, we recommend that you ask to see your exam paper in order to understand where you went wrong.  For the multiple choice (or “QCM” as it is called here) it is simply a question of having selected the right answer, or not. If you wish to try again next year, then the best preparation is reading articles in the English-language press that deal with the world of communications.  Many candidates clearly devoted a lot of time to answering the multiple choice part, knowing that it accounts for 50% of the total mark.  However, this then left little time to do the 300-word essay justice.

So to that essay. Firstly, if you spent most of your time on the multiple choice, you may not have physically had the time to write 300 words.  This is a mistake.  300 words is not a lot to answer the question, so any essay that failed to meet this minimum requirement, automatically received 2/20.  If it was brilliantly written with no language errors, maybe a point or two more.

Now let us assume you did manage to write enough. If you received a low mark (4 to 6, say) it will have been for two main reasons. Firstly, the quality of the language you used. If you ask to see your exam paper, you will find a correction code in the margin near the errors or just above.  If, for example, you made a verb tense error (“last week we have seen in the news”, instead of “saw”), then the initials “vt” will appear. Verb form: vb; word order: wo; grammar: gr; vocabulary: voc; spelling: sp; punctuation: p; you need to add something: add; you need to subtract something: sub; illegible: ill; nonsense: ns; false friend: ff; it should have been in the plural: pl; it should have been singular: s, and so on.

Basically, the essay should not have been difficult to read or understand.

As important was the structure.  The essay should have answered BOTH parts of the question, ie. related a personal experience with — and lesson learnt from — sport AND related this to the wider question of the increasing commercialisation of international sporting events, such as the Olympics, and whether or not you agreed with John Milton-Smith’s assertion that this was destroying the special “aura” of such events.  We don’t expect you to be able to cover all the related topics, or have expert knowledge, but we do expect a well presented, well supported argument leading to a logical, defendable conclusion.