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Sunday, June 5, 2011

The Bac de Français (French Bac)

Dear Readers,

The Bac de Français is fast approaching with under two weeks left until the written exam on 20th June 2011. Revision has started for many students and others are soon to join them. But what is the Bac de Français and what does it consist in?

The Bac de Français is an exam that’s split into two parts. The first part is the written exam, which is on Monday 20th June this year. The written exam papers are assembled and printed around January and stored in a secret location, ready to be distributed in June. These papers are based around one of the “Thèmes” (or chapters) that you covered in class through the year. For example, poetry. To get the predictions on what the “Thème” the papers will be based around this year, click here. The written exam itself is also in two parts. You are given a group of four to six texts called a “corpus de textes” or “corpus”. The first part of the exam is the “Question Corpus” noted out of 4 points. This question sometimes consists in comparing the texts of the “corpus”, finding similarities and differences. This question needs to have an introduction where you’ll present the texts of the “corpus”, the main body of your question in two parts and finally, a short conclusion. The second part of the written exam is the “Travail d’Ecriture”. This part is marked out of 16 points and you have to choose one of the three questions given; either the “Commentaire”, the “Dissertation” or the “Ecriture d’invention”. For the “Commentaire”, you have to analyse the text referred to in the “Commentaire” question while answering a question that you will have to formulate yourself. The “Dissertation” requires a good knowledge of literature and you need to have a few good examples in order to get the maximum of points. For the “Dissertation” you have to make a question out of the phrase given to you on the paper and then answer it through an introduction, main body of two parts and a conclusion. The “Ecriture d’invention” is creative writing. Some correctors don’t like to correct the creative writing question and some even think it shows that the student hasn’t worked throughout the year. Nevertheless, some people get really good marks for this one, going up to 18 or even 20 out of 20.

The oral is the next part of the exam. These aren’t held on the same day as the written exam and normally you will have already received your “convocation” (the paper which tells you the date and time at which you will be summoned to the oral exam). The oral is noted out of 20 also, and when combined with the written exam, gives you your overall French exam note out of 40. You can be questioned on any text you’ve done throughout the year in the oral and there is no set “Thème”. Just because you might have had poetry for the written, it doesn’t mean you’ll have it for the oral! Revise everything for this.

Normally you’ll have been told all of the above by your teacher, but I know that not all teachers are very switched on when it comes to preparing students for the Bac!

Article by The Editor

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