French Curriculum

French Baccalaureate ▾
The French Baccalaureate

The French Baccalaureate or “le Bac”, is an extensive, national examination taken at the end of the “Lycée” (High School), upon completion of 11th and 12th grade.  It marks the successful conclusion of secondary studies and it is the required qualification in France for students wishing to carry on their studies in Higher Education.

Worldwide, more than 800.000 students sit the Baccalaureate each year The French Baccalaureate is prepared by more than 12000 students in 250 French accredited schools abroad in more than 100 countries. 13 French International high schools are in the United States where the success rate on the French Baccalaureate is an average of 98% to 100%. More than 83% of US students graduate with honors, of whom 35% earn “summa cum laude”.

A diploma from a French International high school reflects success in a demanding, comprehensive, integrated, internationally-based college preparatory program unique in the US. Most students in French high schools simultaneously earn a US high school diploma by meeting any extra state or local requirement, such as US History. Most of the students in the French high schools in the US have followed a bilingual curriculum form K to 12, and, besides, they also master a third language. The French high schools in the US offer more than one level of English in the standard Baccalaureate program.

Courses that prepare students for the French Baccalaureate are taught at the college level. As a result, most of both Canadian and US colleges and universities grant college credit  or scholarship to French secondary graduates on the basis of their performance on the Baccalaureate.

Students can follow one of three tracks: literature (L), Economics and Social Studies (ES) and Sciences and Math (S).

Bilingual students wishing to study at overseas universities may also opt to take:

  • the « Option Internationale du Baccalauréat » (OIB)

This is an additional option to the general baccalaureate which offers more subjects taught and taken in English, and which is totally different from the International Baccalaureate (IB). These additional exams are offered in literature, history and geography allowing a higher grade to be achieved towards the final baccalaureate mark.

  • The French American Baccalaureate (FAB / BFA)

This is the synthesis of the Advanced Placement program and the French Baccalaureate. In close partnership with the College Board, the French Ministry of National Education has agreed to devise a special diploma recognizing an excellent mastery of the French language and culture as well as of the English language and American culture. For the FAB, the students take 3 APs corresponding to their special track, instead of three corresponding courses for the Baccalaureate.


Starting in 2021, the French Baccalaureate will combine ongoing assessments and final examinations.

  • Ongoing assessments (“contrôle continu”) :

During 11th and 12th grade, students take different exams based on nationally designed exercises, focused on History and Geography, Foreign languages A and B, Science culture, PE and 1 specialty subject they have chosen. These ongoing assessments contribute for 30% of the final grade.

Throughout the two years, students also take different tests givenby their teachers for each mandatory subject. These assessments (“livret scolaire”) contribute for 10% of the final grade.

  • Final examinations (nationally designed written test) :

At the end of 11th grade, 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 12th grade, students take 3 written exams (Philosophy and two specialty subjects they have chosen and studied during 11 and 12th grade) and one oral exam about a personal project linked to a specialty subject. These exams contribute for 60% of the final grade.

Bilingual students wishing to study at overseas universities may also opt to take:

  • the « Option Internationale du Baccalauréat » (OIB)
  • The French American Baccalaureate (FAB / BFA)