I help students to pass mainly the DELF B2 or the DALF C1 and if with practice they improve their writing skills, manage to differentiate between opinion, argument and example, succeed in writing and understand the purpose of finding a problématique for a text, they often waste a lot of energy trying to grasp the meaning of some press articles in the textbooks I use to prepare them. Here, I don’t talk about the meaning of the words, because sometimes they can understand almost all the words of a given text, but do not grasp why French people act or think as it is described.
The point is: how to have a better understanding of the texts and, at the same time, be better prepared for the conversation with the examiner.
Before deciding to prepare yourself for this kind of examination, it seems to me that you should read, listen, watch everything you can about France and French. First, do it in your mother language, then in French. I won’t make a list of newspapers or radio programs because you can find these things on the web to get information in French about France, but I will give you one tip: you should read articles from www.theconversation.com in French. Why? Because scientists or university professors write the articles, not only journalists. It’s an essential component.
I hear your next question: we already do that! How do we do it more efficiently?
Find the list of topics included in your examination (DELF B2: https://communfrancais.com/2017/01/13/les-themes-du-delf-b2/). When you have this list, look for press and science articles, podcasts, TV programs or whatever about the method that French institutions use to solve problems. It’s always a matter of solving problems. How do they manage it? Why do they fail? Where do they find inspiration or models for improving French society? Conduct your own investigation.
Sometimes, you can find a key article which allows you to understand the origin of a problem and the limit of the solution applied, like this one about the current crisis with Les gilets jaunes in The Conversation: Gilets jaunes : le bleu Macron rentre dans la zone rouge (https://theconversation.com/gilets-jaunes-le-bleu-macron-rentre-dans-la-zone-rouge-107153).
Anyway, don’t worry. If your level in French is good or very good, and with an experienced teacher to guide you, coach you and help you to save your time, you’ll be able to succeed. But the time you’ll spend preparing for this examination should give you the opportunity to develop your own method or discover something about a different way of thinking because, ultimately, unfortunately or fortunately, nobody thinks like the French!