A new French baccalauréat, what does that mean?

By Lucy Neveux

What do you really know about the new French baccalauréat? This article will
explain what the reform entails, how the new grading system will work as from next year and what motivated Jean-Michel Blanquer, the Minister of Education, to initiate this change.
Next year, the Premières will have mandatory subjects and will be able to choose
from a selection of other called specialities. Obligatory topics will include French; Philosophy; History; Geography; Civil education; two languages; sports and scientific and digital humanities. Premières will have 16 hours of mandatory subjects, whereas Terminales will have 15 and a half hours (30 minutes less of languages). Three specialities will be chosen in Première, one of which will be dropped in Terminale. These specialities, which you will study for 12 hours a week, include arts; history, geography, geopolitics and political sciences; humanities, literature and philosophy; languages and foreign literature; mathematics; technology; science; engineering; economics and physics and chemistry. Finally, in Première, you will choose another subject, which you will study for three hours a week. This could either be arts, sports or ancient literature and culture. In Terminale you can study an additional subject. You can choose from law and global challenges, advanced maths (if you have already chosen to study six hours of maths as a speciality, you will study nine hours) or complementary maths (if you do not already study maths, you will have three hours of maths per week with this option).


The final baccalauréat grade will depend on your performance throughout the year (40 per cent) and your final exams (60 per cent). Tests will take place regularly throughout the year, in addition to other evaluations. This will give you an average showing how much you have worked throughout Première and Terminale. You will sit a final exam in French at the end of Première, and four in Terminale, two of which will depend on what specialities you have chosen. The other two will be a philosophy exam and oral test on a project you have worked on throughout Première and Terminale.
The main idea behind this reform is to give students a chance to choose their path. The new baccalauréat enables you to study what you love, increasing your chances in succeeding. As Jean-Michel Blanquer announced, this baccalauréat is a “baccalauréat success” as the students can study what they excel in, and it is a “baccalauréat equality” since they are many mandatory subjects giving students common knowledge.
This reform offers students the opportunity to personalize their studies, to choose subjects that they thoroughly enjoy and prepare their future with confidence.

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