Note culturelle (p. 53) Unlike the American educational system, the grade levels in the French system are numbered in descending order:
Educational Systems AMERICAN Middle School –6th grade –7th grade –8th grade High School –9th grade –10th grade –11th grade –12th grade FRENCH Le collège (10-11 yrs. old) –sixième (6 e ) –cinquième (5 e ) –quatrième (4 e ) Le lycée –troisième (3 e ) –seconde (2 e ) –première (1 ère ) –terminale
le baccalauréat Nicknamed le bac National exam taken at the end of study at a lycée Not all students take le bac. If a French student plans to go on to a university, (s)he must take and pass le bac.
le baccalauréat An extremely difficult oral and written test that covers all major subjects Students spend the final year of le lycée, la terminale, preparing for this exam.
le baccalauréat Three major categories of this exam: – le bac général – le bac technologique – le bac professionnel
le baccalauréat Each category is divided into a more specialized series of exams, depending on a student’s chosen field of study. For example, a student specializing in literature would take le bac général littéraire, or simply le bac L.
le baccalauréat If a student is majoring in literature, (s)he needs to score higher in literature, philosophy, and languages than in math in order to pass. Students who don’t score high enough must try to get a better grade by taking oral exams.
le baccalauréat If students fail, they must repeat their last year at the lycée ( terminale ) before retaking le bac. Students who don’t have their bac need to pass a college entrance exam called l’ESEU ( Examen spécial d’entrée à l’université ) in order to be admitted to college.
le baccalauréat vs. ACT / SAT How do you think le bac compares with our ACT or SAT?
FYI passer un examen = to take a test To say, “I passed the bac.” you would say, “ J’ai réussi au bac. ”