The Baccalaureate Diploma or “BAC”
The French Baccalaureate, (the Bac) is an internationally recognised diploma which is often considered a reference when evaluating general cultural knowledge, critical thinking and academic progress. The Baccalauréat is a Y12 final exam, approved by the French Ministry of National Education and recognised internationally. Created in 1808, this diploma possesses two special features: it marks the successful conclusion of secondary studies and opens access to higher education. It prepares students for higher education anywhere in the world, and for any subject, including Universities, preparatory classes, Business or Engineering schools etc.
In June 2020, more than 750 000 students graduated with the French Bac, in France and in the 535 French schools abroad.
The Baccalauréat is an all-encompassing, adaptable and demanding pre-university programme:
• All-encompassing because it includes humanities studies (literature, philosophy, foreign languages), science, sport, and a wide choice of elective subjects in the fields of science and mathematics, social
sciences or language and literature.
• Adaptable as it offers students the possibility to choose their own elective subjects as of year 11. For example, a student in year 11 could decide to discontinue studying mathematics while another, through his or her electives and options, could choose to study up to 9 hours of mathematics per week.
• Demanding as students are expected to be able to acquire, organise and express in-depth knowledge in order to develop their critical thinking skills which is necessary as they become informed and active citizens of society.
The curricula are designed and issued by the French Ministry of National Education. Most subjects are taught in French. The new Baccalauréat (examined from 2021) is structured around a compulsory core curriculum and Elective Subjects allowing a higher degree of subject specialisation. Therefore, it remains a ‘grouped’ award requiring competence in a range of subjects whilst also allowing a degree of specialisation in certain (chosen) subjects.
The compulsory core curriculum includes: French literature (Première / Year 11), philosophy (Terminale / Year 12), English, a foreign language, civics, history-geography (taught as one subject in France), physical education, and science.
In addition to studying the core curriculum, students choose three Elective Subjects in Première / Year 11 (each being taught for 4 hours per week) and retain two of these in Terminale / Year 12 (both being taught for 6 hours per week).
Students can also choose to study up to 3 optional subjects, E.g. Latin, Mandarin, mathematics extension 2... Each subject is taught 3 hours per week and allows students to broaden their skills and knowledge.
Selective pathways are also available for students who demonstrate outstanding academic or physical skills. Students are granted access to these selective pathways through entry tests and have to study a more in-depth academic programme or join an elite sport squad for up to 4 extra hours a week.
All our students are, by default, in the European English section. On selection, they can join the British International Section.
Mathematics Extension 1
The Mathematics elective allows students to explore and use mathematics as a tool in a number of areas, such as: algebra, geometry, analysis, statistics, algorithms and programming. The elective also includes the history of mathematics, which helps to identify the evolution of fundamental mathematical theories and broadens students' understanding of the subject.
Physics and chemistry
The physics and chemistry elective offers students the opportunity to explore the real world, from microscopic to macroscopic elements, by studying the organisation and transformations of matter, movement, energy, waves and signals. Students will use the two founding aspects of the discipline, experimentation and modelling, to arrive at the mathematical formulation of validated laws of physics. The many fields of application, both in everyday life and linked to major societal issues (energy, environment), enable students to gain a concrete, dynamic and up-to-date perception of physics and chemistry.
Biology, earth and environmental sciences
The earth and life sciences elective explores the elements of planet earth and its environment, the human body and health, and natural evolution. The programme helps students to develop skills in observation, experimentation, model building, analysis and debate, all of which are essential for pursuing higher education or a career in these fields of study. This elective explores the following scientific subjects: life on Earth, biodiversity, evolution, ecosystems, ecology and history. It also allows students to gain a better understanding of how their own bodies function, combining scientific concepts with reflection on personal health, as well as ethics seen from a global point of view, studying both public health and the environment. This elective builds on the knowledge already acquired in physics, chemistry and mathematics.
Digital and computer zciences
The digital and computer sciences elective aims to prepare students for tertiary studies by consolidating their basic computer science skills and knowledge. Students will be trained in scientific approaches and research activities, vital skills for those commencing university studies.
Economics and social sciences
The ESS elective aims to contribute to forming citizens of tomorrow who are interested in understanding the major economic, sociological and political issues of our society. The elective is aimed at all students who seek to acquire specific ESS knowledge and reasoning methods in order to better understand the debates taking place across the globe. It is particularly useful for high school students who intend to study degrees in which economic, sociological and political skills will be highly valued.
International relation studies - history & geography, geopolitics and political science
This elective is adapted to high school students who are seeking to acquire knowledge and analytic methods specifically adapted to the following subjects: history, geography, geopolitics and political science. Students get the chance to develop their to deal with major issues of historical importance at national and international levels. This is particularly useful for high school students who are preparing for higher education studies in fields such as law, business, management or international relations, or for careers in fields such as civil and foreign service, international non-governmental organisations, journalism and business.
Humanities, literature and philosophy
In Humanities, Literature and Philosophy, pupils study literature and philosophy, from all eras, through a variety of texts in order to train them in thinking, culture and knowledge. The elective is based on several major philosophical themes that have accompanied humanity from Ancient Greece to the modern world. This subject develops students' ability to analyse different points of view, to formulate well thought out personal reflections and to participate in debates concerning issues related to the major challenges facing humanity.
Literature, language and culture in English
This elective specifically aims to increase students' exposure to English, to allow them to gradually achieve a confident command of the language and to understand the associated culture. The focus is placed on studying and using the language in different situations and through integration. It is envisaged in its articulation with the study of the literary and cultural objects concerned. The written and oral language is worked on in all its aspects (phonology, lexicon, grammar) and in all language activities (reception, production and interaction), so that pupils are trained to communicate and can deepen and nuance their knowledge and skills.
Mathematics extension 2
The mathematics extension 2 option is intended for students who have a strong interest in mathematics and who aim to apply for tertiary studies in fields where maths is predominant (scientific studies, engineering studies, computer science studies). It allows an in-depth approach to other areas than those studied in the mathematics elective.
- Mathematics advanced
The mathematics advanced option is intended primarily for pupils who studied the mathematics extsnion 1 in year 11 and wish to continue studying extra maths in year 12 but not the mathematics extension 2 option. This could concern students who need to place extra focus on mathematics as they intend to pursue tertiary studies in for example medicine, economics or social sciences. The mathematics programme builds on the year 11 elective mathematics programme, which it consolidates and enriches with new mathematical knowledge and skills. This knowledge is also reinforced through putting concepts into practice in different situations and applied in various different fields.
Law and major contemporary issues
The law and major contemporary Issues option aims to broaden senior students’ knowledge and perspectives. Students will be introduced to the instruments of law - norms, institutions, professions -, its social role, and the methodology of legal reasoning. Starting with positive law and the way in which it helps to structure the major contemporary political, economic and social issues, students will address major themes of the contemporary world through a legal perspective. This option opens a pathway to law studies, political science institutes, but also to journalism and/or business schools
The Ancient Language and Culture option presents ancient culture and literature as a reciprocal horizon to medieval, modern and contemporary culture and literature, with an aim to allow today’s children to understand their place in time and history. The curriculum has been designed so as to answer legitimate questions that students may ask today about themselves, about society, politics, the choices made by society, the world and other major contemporary issues.
Learning Mandarin gives the opportunity to students to better participate in today's economic, social and cultural development. It is essential that students succeed in sufficient fluency in modern languages, in particular in the field of oral communication with trust and without apprehen- sion. At the same time as the student consolidates its language and communication skills, they deepen their knowledge of geographic, cultural and historical China and areas where Mandarin is spoken devoid of stereotypes and prejudices.
Assessing the new Baccalauréat:
Over the course and at the end of Y11 (Première) and Y12 (Terminale), students sit for a series of extensive national exams, covering all areas of study, which make up “The Baccalauréat.” Starting in 2021, in order to better prepare students for their higher educational pursuits, the French Baccalaurate includes ongoing assessments as well as final examinations.
• Continuous formal assessments (“contrôle continu”):
During Y11 and Y12, students take different exams based on nationally designed exercises, focusing on history and geography, foreign languages A and B, scientific culture, PE and 1 elective. These ongoing assessments count for 30% of the final grade.
Other assessments, in the form of tests, are given by the subject teachers for each mandatory course. These tests will count for 10% of the final grade.
• Final examinations (nationally designed exams):
At the end of Y11, students take a French language and literature final exam in June, as the first part of the Baccalaureate. They are tested on their written skills and on an oral presentation of a text.
At the end of Y12, students take 3 written exams (philosophy and two electives they will have studied during Y11 and Y12) as well as one oral examination about a personal project related to a elective. Final exams count for 60% of the final grade.
“Le Grand Oral”
The “Grand Oral” is a 20 minutes oral exam designed to enable students to demonstrate their ability to speak in public in a clear and convincing manner.
Students prepare two separate topics related to both of their Y12 electives from which a jury of 2 teachers selects one.
The jury values the solidity of the candidate's knowledge, his/her ability to argue and connect knowledge, his/her critical spirit, the precision of his/her expression, the clarity of his/her speech, his/her commitment to his/her words, and his/her strength of conviction.
While the Grand Oral is demanding, students prepare for this type of examination throughout their education, as oral presentations and public speaking in general are encouraged and emphasised in the French curriculum.
The BAC is a two-year program and the written and oral exam results account for 60% of the final grade. Continuous, in-class evaluation accounts for the remaining 40%.
Results at LCS
For many years, our students have been achieving 100% success rate and excellent results, enabling them to access the higher education of their choice, all over the world.
Details of the results can be found here.
The world at your fingertips
The French Baccalaureate is recognised by universities across the globe, and students who obtain the BAC diploma can continue their studies almost anywhere in the world. While many of our students choose to pursue tertiary studies in France, others go on to study in Australia, Canada, Switzerland, the United States and the United Kingdom.
Please see the destinations of our 2016-2020 graduates below.