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Sunday, January 23, 2011

La réforme des classes préparatoires - After Lycée

Dear Readers,

If you’re thinking of going onto further education after the BAC, you may be considering doing journalism, being an interpreter or translator, or even being a librarian. If any of those careers interest you, you may want to know about the changes in the system of the “Classes préparatoires littéraires”. Although these specialised courses aren’t the only way to access a university of journalism, for example, they do give you a head-start and also priority to a place there. However, only a select few make it through to these every year. Normally around 100 students from all of France. It’s a lot of work but it would pay off if you were willing to go for it. These schools don’t just look for good results, they want to be able to see that you were a good student who worked hard and paid attention in Lycée.

First of all, let’s take a look at the system and steps to take to get to where you want to be. After your BAC, providing you have done L, ES or S, you can go on to do what’s called a “Classe préparatoire littéraire”, also called “classe prépa” for short. In these classes, you do your first year of “Hypokhâgne indifférenciée”. The students of this year are called the “hypokhâgneux”. All “hypokhâgneux” must attend 5 hours of French literature, 5 hours of history, 4 hours of philosophy, 4 hours of the first modern language, 3 hours of ancient language and cultures (2 hours of Latin or Ancient Greek and 2 hours of antique culture), 2 hours of geography and 2 hours of a second modern language a week. Then comes a chosen subject which can be art, ancient languages, geography or another modern language. In khâgne, which is the second year which comes after “hypokhâgne indifférenciée”, the compulsory subjects and their respective tuition hours depend on the kind of speciality chosen:

  • in literature, in philosophy, in history/geography or in geography (explicit curriculum)
  • in classical literature (Latin and ancient Greek, ancient history)
  • in modern languages (two modern languages are to be studied)
  • in musicology, in art history, in cinematography or in theatre studies

Here is a diagram to resume the system:

How the system works

Line Carpentier of Lycée Guez de Balzac talks about their classe prépa options
  • Here is this years programme for the concours A/L de l’Ecole Normale Supérieure (ENS) for 2011. Click here to download. (In French).
  • Here is the site for the ENS:
  • The inscriptions open for the ENS in April.

Article by The Editor

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