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Saturday, March 27, 2010

Brevet des Collèges - What's it actually for?

Dear Readers,

I have been asked this question so many times, having been through the process myself, everyone asks the one same question: "Is it important?". Well the answer is, not really! The Brevet is an exam you do when you are in 3ème. It's the French equivalent of GCSE's but it doesn't even need to be on your CV when you're looking for a job after school! Some people believe that this exam decides whether you get through to Lycée after 3ème. A woman who has a son in 3ème asked me earlier this week, "does the Brevet decide to let you though to Lycée?". After having been through the mangle of the Brevet and having spoken with my principal on the matter last year, our school principal claimed that your moyenne generale in 3ème decides whether you go through and not your result in the Brevet. In fact, this decision is already made a month before you even enter the exam hall. Our principal continued in saying that "the brevet is irrelevant". Your conseil de classe decides whether your moyenne generale is good enough to let you through in May. The Brevet is held normally during the second last week of school before the summer holidays in July. So don't get nervous going into your Brevet. The decision is already made and has been discussed between you, your parents and your teachers before you even pick up your pen in that exam hall.

It is, however a good idea to get a good a result as you can get just to prove to your teachers that a foreign student can pass the exam. It's also to allow you to have bragging rights for the next year... if you get a good note.

The Brevet Blancs are held throughout the year. Usually in January and another at some other point before the real thing. These are mock exams and usually much, much harder than the actual Brevet itself. Bear this in mind when talking to your principal if he brings up the matter in a meeting. It will prove to him that you aren't a fool and you're making a sensible decision after having done research.

I hope this has cleared up the brevet issue for all of you.

Article by The Editor


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