Cyril (mention TB) tells us about the "baccalauréat"

Publié le par Marielle Bianchi


Just a word to thank one of the most friendly student I've ever had for the following article.

Cyril is a bright student ; he passed the baccalaureat with highest honours (mention TB).

Please read Cyril's subtle and personal analysis of this - once renowned - French exam and its evolution. It's very interesting and I'm glad it's been written by a student !


Hello everyone !


After Mme Bianchi asked me to, I decided to talk about the exam I passed this year, the famous Baccalauréat.


First let me introduce myself. My name is Cyril, this year I was in Terminale S, at Ozenne high school, thus I had to take the baccalauréat. I am going to tell you my experience at this final exam and give you my opinion on the work we had to make all the year along to achieve our year.


I know this blog is (at the beginning) destined to school students, this is why I will also make a quick presentation of high school in general. There are lots of differences between the Brevet and the Bac, but finally, those exams still stay the same in the main ideas. Indeed, do not be fooled, the Brevet is as hard to pass for a student in 3ème than the Bac is for a student in Terminale ! Sure there is more work to give, but we were prepared, and the tests themselves were not very different than what I had to do three years ago.

Because of the reform, we had this year some new tests, such as oral presentations in English and Spanish, around fours notions called “places and forms of power”, “idea of progress”, “spaces and exchanges” and “myths and heroes”... needless to say that those themes were very large, for a 10 minutes oral presentation...

Moreover, there were six written tests which were Mathematics, Physics/Chemistry, SVT, Philosophy, English and Spanish, in addition of what we had already done in 1ère (French and History/Geography).


I got some good results at the exam, but I think there are some issues I would like to discuss about here. Indeed, I must be critical one some aberrant things.

First, I will talk about the level needed to pass the exam. I guess the ones who made the tests did not really realised what they were doing. I mean, there is a problem of balance : a mathematics test very easy, a physics test with only four calculations and only composition for the rest of it, but a philosophy test much more difficult, mixing more than two different themes in each subjects.

Concerning the English and Spanish tests, it was kind of complete “bullshit” ! Not just for students, it discredited also most of the teachers' during all the year : I agree, the texts were a bit difficult, let's say they were not easy. But what is the use of a difficult text if the questions on it consist in picking up some words or expressions in the text without justifying ?

I am not saying that it is easy to pass the exam. I just say that this was not such a matter of work, but a matter of adaptation during the test... for instance, in the physics exam, someone who worked hard to calculate the wavelength of some luminous flow, well would have better learned how to write an explanation for some situation according to some documents... Is not that the work you have to do in literature tests such as Geography ? They do not ask us to know how to find the results of some equation to answer a problem, they want us to read a text and pick up the answers... I mean, why would we learn our formulas and work on some exercises, if we only need to read and know the head lines of our lessons ?



To conclude, I think that the Baccalauréat has something really different from all the work you have to do during high school, it is not significant of your level or of your skills. Fate has also a huge role in it. I hope it will change for the future promotions, because we already could not do anything with only a Bac, now I think it will not even be used for Post-Bac admissions (for example for the INSA).

Publié dans ALORS - CE BAC

Commenter cet article

write my essay 09/03/2015 12:29

That was a nice article on baccalaureat and the students who got good marks. It's nice to read all the experiences in your education i just remember my school days and the way i use to write my essay. Good share, keep doing more.

jessy 09/03/2015 12:25

hi there

profvadez 10/07/2013 11:39

Food for thought, Cyril,and too many questions to address just here. Let's hope next year's tests will be more balanced. As to the Bac helping get into Grandes Ecoles, IEPs, classes prépas,
Dauphine, architecture schools, etc, the rule has long been to have selective entrance tests to go to the most "prestigious" and selective schools. Some places will demand to examine the work of
the previous  2 or even 3  years to allow even the possibilities to take the entrance tests. Is it really very different from the British or American systems? Gendarmerie and Army will
contact collège teachers to know a bit more about future recruits, sometimes years and years later! I know, I teach in a collège. I also have 2 sons aged 28 and 25. Introducing a bit more
continuous assessment might be an option, but not too much, as your own teachers will be more biased, either way, than someone who marks an anonymous test or discover a fresh face. Chance and
fate are part of life, taming them the same. Keeping the Bac an all-round test with a wide choice of subjects is costly to the French state, but it makes well-rounded young people. It is also the
strenghth of our post-grads who are so desirable abroad; a financial investor, a scientist, a game designer etc with absolutely no notions of novels, philosophy, geo politics, culture! are
limited. Look at the proportion of French expats in finance in London, 60% in some places. What I find more worrying is the lack of perspective for those who failed the Bac, if they do not feel
they fit any longer in a run of the mill lycée. They are left to fend for themselves as candidats libres, very hard if they wish to re-sit. Here in my town, if they wish to go for the DAEU or
capacité en droit, they need to have 2 years of "carence" before they can follow the courses. How many will drop out completely over the next two years or become stuck in badly-paid insecure
part-time jobs with no motivation or just energy left to go back to classes in 2015? I follow a few, I'll root for them as well as I can. Now, the world is your oyster (ever studied tha tone with
Mrs Bianchi? :-)- please contribute again next year, and for starters, have a great summer!!

Cyril 10/07/2013 10:52

Ididn't really want to tell my whole grades, though I can tell my English one =) I got 19 in total =D (but excepted for the oral tests, I think it was kinda easy, and as I already said, a bit not

Marielle Bianchi 10/07/2013 11:45

And he got 18/20 in DNL...He's modest.

LaurenceB 10/07/2013 03:40

Thanks Cyril for this great contribution. It has not been easy for language teachers either this year, indeed.  Congratulations for your "mention TB". What grade did you get in Englsih? you
didn't tell us!