La grammaire essentielle pour les épreuves d’anglais au concours : what you really need to know
What grammar do you actually need for the épreuves d’anglais in the concours? The good news is that there’s not very much to learn: 10 or so simple structures plus knowledge of the classic errors will be enough. It’s really not that hard! However, most prépa students that we meet spend their time learning the wrong type of English. How can you avoid this?
First some don’ts
Don’t hope that the grammar you learnt for the bac will be enough. The language that you need in prépa tasks such as questions de compréhension, questions d’expression, colles, and synthèses is completely different from what you had to do in the bac.
Don’t rely on grammar books. These will teach you lots and lots of structures that you don’t need, but at the same time they won’t teach you what you do need.
Don’t try to fool the examiners by learning lots of “exotic” words and idiomatic expressions in the hope that they will be so dazzled by those words that they won’t notice any grammar mistakes. The examiners complain that these “buzzwords” and expressions are usually out of date, almost always used incorrectly, and accompanied by numerous basic errors. Richesse linguistique, one of the examiners’ criteria, is about being clear and precise in your language, not about using awkward idioms.
Now the dos
To work out what words and structures are useful, we need to think about the type of things that the various exercises in the concours require you to do, and then think about the language you need to do them. Here is a list of the things you will need to do most often in prépa:
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