FIDE Dossier Interview


Isabelle: Alors bonjour, bonjour tout le monde et bienvenue à ce FIDE Dossier Success Story! Aujourd’hui, nous n’allons pas interviewer l’un de nos clients ou l’une de nos clientes, nous allons parler à notre Super Prof Sandra.

So welcome everyone to our FIDE Dossier Success Story, today, we're going to do most of the
interview in English because I know that a lot of your, parents, do not always speak French at the right level, but you do have the preoccupation of preparing your child for the FIDE Dossier.

So today, we're not going to talk to a French learner. We're going to talk to our Super Prof Sandra, who is a specialist of the FIDE exam, and also specializes in teaching French online to children and also teenagers who are preparing for the FIDE Dossier.

Bonjour Sandra, ça va bien aujourd’hui?

Sandra: Bonjour Isabelle. Tres bien. 

Isabelle: C’est un grand plaisir de pouvoir discuter avec toi du FIDE Dossier. C’est quelque chose qui est assez récent et donc tu as de l’expérience dans la préparation à cet examen. Ça fait déjà plusieurs années que tu prépares nos clients à l’examen FIDE, mais le FIDE Dossier est différent.

We're going to do most of this interview in English. So, Sandra, can you tell us what's the difference between the regular FIDE exam and the Dossier FIDE?

Sandra: Yes, of course. So for the regular FIDE, you have an exam to pass, which is comprised of two parts. You have a speaking part and a written part. And then, for the Dossier FIDE, you have
to send a file proving your language skills and then only you have an interview. And during this interview you will have to read a text and write and then answer the said text. And answer some questions about your file.

Isabelle: Okay. So the format of the exam is completely different, in fact?

Sandra: Yes.

Isabelle: Two different things. And who can pass the Dossier FIDE? Is it for a specific population? 

Sandra: So, anyone could pass it from 16 years old, but you have to have a B1 level at minimum. So this means you have to be quite fluent in French already.

Isabelle: So that means that probably some students from college degrees or not university level yet, but students who were born or arrived in Switzerland who learned the language, who are studying in French or mostly in French, would be asked once it's time for them to do their naturalization process to become a Swiss citizen, they might be asked to do the FIDE Dossier instead of the FIDE exam. Is that correct?

Sandra: That is completely correct because you have to have the FIDE pass to be able to pass your naturalization.

Isabelle: Okay. And so, the kids who are under 16 would not be required to pass the dossier or any FIDE exam. That's correct?

Sandra: That is correct.

Isabelle: Okay. Super. So it's a very small population of teenagers between the age of 16 to 18 then. Because if you're above 18, you have to do the regular FIDE. Is that right?

Sandra: Well, actually, if you are above 18, but you do have a language certificate but it's not
recognized by the Swiss authorities, you can also try to pass the Dossier FIDE. It also applies to you.

Isabelle: Oh, that's great. And can you do the Dossier FIDE to prepare for, let's say, a university application to be able to get into a university, a French-speaking one here in French-speaking Switzerland?

Sandra: Yes, completely. You can.

Isabelle: That's great. So that gives us a little bit more information about the relevance of the Dossier FIDE. Who can pass it. Now let's talk about the exam. How does it work exactly? I call it an exam. Is it really an exam? Can you tell us more about it?

Sandra: That's a good question. It's actually more of an interview process. So it's almost like the naturalization, so you have to fill in a file or a dossier where you have to put in your experience,
to what's French in your life, your life in Swiss.

If you belong to any clubs, for example, then you send that dossier to the authorities. Then they will
ask you for an interview, and they will check if what you said could be verified. And then they will also check your language skills through the process of understanding a written text and writing an answer to that written text.

Isabelle: Okay. So it's quite a specific format but in the form of an interview. And that is what you are working on with the FIDE Dossier applicants that you've accompanied. Having done a few of them and one most recently, what would be your advice to prepare, to successfully prepare to pass this Dossier FIDE?

Sandra: So first off, we have to assess your language skills to see if you actually have a B1 level, spoken and written. That's very important to the written part, as well. So we will spend some time on it if you do not reach the B1 level.

And then, we would spend time on specific FIDE documents which could be used for the text, actually.

Isabelle: Okay. And you can find most of the information online. I believe most of the information is
in French or German, or Italian, the official language. So why is it preferable to prepare for this exam with a teacher? So why is it better or you'll reach more success if you prepare online
with a teacher like you, Sandra?

Sandra: It's better because we have mock exams, so we have mock text. And then we can also correct what you've written, which is something you cannot do on your own. Also, as I said, it's
very important to self-assess if you are B1 level, which is also difficult to do on your own.

So I would say a teacher is required to properly assess you and properly guide you through the steps of the Dossier FIDE.

Isabelle: Can you tell me how do you adapt your online courses to children and teenagers? So most probably teenagers at 16 years old and above, especially for the Dossier FIDE.

Sandra: Of course. So I try to match my lessons with some of their hobbies. So my most recent applicant was a fan of Fortnite, so we did some activities surrounding that theme, but we were able to work on his grammar with this theme. So it's more dynamic and didactic. Sorry.

Isabelle: Yeah, it's fun. I think Fortnite is a video game, right, on PS4?

Sandra: Yes, on many platforms, actually. But yes, it's a battle royale type of game and a lot of the younger population love that game.

Isabelle: Well, that's great. So you use this theme of Fortnite to work on the grammar, on the vocabulary, so it feels like it's a fun class. You can focus on talking about something that you really enjoy, and then you do grammar and vocabulary exercises, and it just goes through very smoothly. It's a bit more seamless that way.

Sandra: Exactly.

Isabelle: That's great. Thank you so much, Sandra. I have one more question for you. Can you tell us more about your experience of preparing this very last candidate that you were just referring to and who recently passed his Dossier FIDE?

Sandra: Yes. So he came from an international school. So he had some French lessons at his
school, but he did not spend enough time speaking. So we spend a lot of time on his spoken French, actually, and also on his written French because he was also sort of making little mistakes between passe compose and imparfait, for example.

So we worked a bit on that. And as I said, we reviewed a bit of grammar using Fortnite or other video games, also sports and gym because he was going to the gym a lot. So something which he could connect and relate to. So it would be more fun for him to do.

Isabelle: Can you tell me what was his level of French before starting the lessons with you?

Sandra: So he had a strong A2, but he was not very confident in his spoken skill. And that can be understandable because if you are in a class of 20, you don't speak a lot in French class.

So he really wanted to be more confident, so I guided him through being more confident with himself. Being able to answer while being spoken to in French.

Isabelle: How many lessons did it take for you to accompany him to a confident B1 for the FIDE Dossier exam?

Sandra: We did ten lessons, and we had the extra trial lesson that we did beforehand. So within ten lessons, with a good level of A2, you were able to prepare him to successfully pass the exam.

Isabelle: If you had someone who spoke French at a lower level, so let's say, level A1, so that's quite a beginner, how many lessons would you recommend for that person to be able to get to the B1 for the exam? 

Sandra: A1 to B1?

Isabelle: Mm-hmm.

Sandra: I would say you would need a year's worth of lessons because that's quite a gap. So at the minimum, a year, I would recommend. So the --- recommends 200 hours or something close to that. So, yes, that would be an intense learning path.

But yeah, I think it would be possible with the right mind and the right teacher.

Isabelle: Absolutely. And how lucky are we to have you Sandra on board to help us prepare our applicants for the Dossier FIDE.  Thank you so much for your time today.

If you are a parent who is preparing your child for the Dossier FIDE and you're wondering, "Where do I start? I need extra help." Please feel free to contact us. You can send us an email at info@pretaparler.ch. You can send a comment under the video, as well. We'll be really happy to help.

If you have any questions, you can contact us via a phone call, as well. We're really here to make sure that we can accompany your child to successfully pass the FIDE Dossier.

What would be the last thing you would like to tell the French learners or young French learners that you're accompanying to successfully pass the exam? Is there a little tip? Is there something that you always repeat to make sure that... You can do this, don't doubt yourself, right? What would you tell them?

Sandra: Yes, I would say try to find your passion within the language. Because I know even myself as a teenager, I was not very interested in language classes because they were not tailor-made for me. So try to find your passion in the language.

If you love Fortnite, then just great. Try to play Fortnite in French if you can, or join a French server. So, try to find your passion.

Isabelle: That's a great advice. That's such a great advice. Find your passions. So you'll have fun
while you're learning French, while you're improving your French. And my advice would be, don't be afraid to make mistakes. It's not the end of the world. No one's going to punish you or anything. Just dare to talk, dare to speak.

And the teacher is there. Like, Sandra, you can see how lovely and how nurturing and positive and encouraging she is. This is how it is at Pret a Parler when you take lessons with our Super Profs like Sandra. You will have a great experience.

Thank you aso much, merci beacoup Sandra!

Sandra: Mais de rien!

Isabelle: Je te souhaite une très belle journée et une bonne continuation avec tes étudiants chez Prêt à Parler!

Sandra: Merci Isabelle. Au revoir

Isabelle: Au revoir, à bientôt!

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