In one of the A2 tests, I see « Il faut toujours regarder devant soi. » and « Il faut toujours essayer soi-même avant de juger. » When do you use soi vs soi-même? I keep getting docked for choosing soi-même in the first sentence.
Soi-même is very similar to soi but it stresses the fact that one did something alone, to the exclusion of others. This distinguishes it from a simple soi:
Il faut toujours regarder devant soi. -- One must always look ahead of oneself.There is no stress on the fact that this has to be done all by oneself. It is self evident and therefore doesn't need the soi-même, even though it would be grammatically correct.
Il faut toujours essayer soi-même. -- One always has to try by oneself.Here, the speaker stresses the fact that it has to be tried alone, not with the help of others.
"Il faut toujours regarder devant soi" --> "always look ahead" (the stressed equivalent of third-person "on")
"Il faut toujours essayer soi-même avant de juger" --> "always try yourself (ones-self) before judging"
I'm not aware of the particular context of the questions that you have been attempting but the point, as I see it; "Don't criticise others (efforts) before trying yourself". In other words, keep your judgments to yourself until you have experience.
Hope this helps?
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