The DELF B2 – Reading Section
Welcome to the 3rd part of my series on How to Pass the DELF B2. I recently took and passed the tough French exam through self-study and 1-on-1 Skype lessons to practice the speaking part of the exam. These articles serve to help you prepare yourself based on my own experience. This article focuses on the Reading part.
The Reading (Compréhension des Écrits) section of the DELF B2 should not pose you too many problems if you’ve spent lots of time organically absorbing words on the written page. Even by studying everyday you’ll be trying to understand what things mean. By this process alone you should be ready in my opinion. You will at this point know tons of verbs, you’ll know what quotes look like, what questions look like and what exclamations look like.
Here’s the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages declaration of what a DELF B2 level student should be capable of:
Je peux lire avec un grand degré d'autonomie en adaptant le mode et la rapidité de lecture à différents textes et objectifs et en utilisant les références convenables de manière sélective.CEFR
This translates to:
I can read with a great degree of autonomy by adapting my reading style and speed for different texts and objectives and by utilising appropriate references selectively.
Je possède un vocabulaire de lecture large et actif mais peux avoir des difficultés avec des expressions peu fréquentes.CEFR
I possess a active and large vocabulary but can have difficulty with expressions not regularly used.
DELF B2 Reading Section Structure
In 1 hour you should be able to:
- Read 2 pieces of text of around the same length (600 words maximum); often these will be newspaper/journal articles.
- Answer around a dozen questions for each article. These might be multiple choice or ask you to find quotes from the texts to back up “true” or “false” assertions.
Out of 25 marks you need a minimum of 5 to pass this section. If you don’t pass this section you cannot pass the exam.
How to beat the reading section
Be able to read quickly
You need to be able dedicate no more than 30 minutes to each article and therefore be able to understand at the very least the general sense of the article. I read each one once and then searched for the answers when reading the questions.
Identify specific, important parts
The first article will be informative and the second will be argumentative. The structure of the questions remained the same. As I mentioned for the listening section be prepared for the order of these to change. By this point though I’d expect you be calm and the reading section is the most straight forward and doesn’t take much training. I barely spent any time studying for it. It was a risk that more than paid off as I had more time to practice the more challenging sections.
Ensure you understand what you have to do
Read the questions thoroughly. Make sure you haven’t missed an important part of the question such as misreading how for why for example.
Use the recommended text book
I recommend the following text book: Réussir Le DELF B2 (link to Amazon). It has help on every section with examples from previous official exams. If anything, it will help you to familiarise yourself with the structure of the articles you will be faced with on the day.
Know what different parts of an article are
If you’ve ever read 1 or more newspaper articles, or any article for that matter you’ll familiar with paragraphs, headlines, subheading, opening paragraphs, and conclusions. This won’t be difficult for you. Theses are where you look for important information. Use your knowledge to direct your attention after having read the question.
Bring a highlighter or pencil
This will help you underline or highlight specific parts that you need to stand out to save you time finding them again when answering the questions.
Someone next to me in the exam highlighted every line. Haha, hope it helped her!