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Revision help for brevet and bac

There is plenty you can do to help children get ready for the Brevet and Baccalauréat.

WHILE aspects of French language and culture can sometimes pose problems for expat parents, there is plenty you can do to help children get ready for the Brevet and Baccalauréat this month.

Options include arranging extra home tuition, buying revision guides, or finding useful revision sites on the internet.

The Baccalauréat starts with the Philosophy exam on June 17 and finishes on June 23, while Brevet exams are, for most, on June 29 and 30. Results for both come out next month.

While the Bac, taken at the end of lycée, around age 18, is the passport to French higher education and the main French school diploma as far as job applications are concerned, the Brevet, taken at the end of collège around age 15, has less riding on it.

Officially called the Diplôme National du Brevet (DNB) it is a test of a pupil’s core skills and knowledge after finishing the lower school classes. The name just means "certificate".

Parts of the Brevet are done by continuous assessment, but the end of year exams are in French, maths, history-geography, civic education and a modern language.

Like the Bac, it can involve a simple pass or a mention assez bien, bien or très bien, for higher marks. While Brevet results have no effect on a pupils’ right to go on to lycée, getting a mention can allow for extra academic merit grants for children who already receive grants from the government because of low family income.

A private tutor is called cours particuliers (personal lessons) cours à domicile (lessons at home) or soutien scolaire (educational support).

An internet search by subject and your town should throw up names - or seek advice from other parents or the school. This is a common option for French parents. Do check the firms’ credentials.

While you can expect to pay around e30 an hour, lessons from firms registered with the prefecture for service à domicile enable you to deduct 50% of the cost from your income tax declaration. Ask if they have a numéro d’agrément (they may also use the "S!" logo on their sites). To apply for this you must attach a detailed receipt to your income tax declaration.

Other options for exam preparation include revision guides from bookshops or free revision websites.

The sites offer summaries of key subject information and quizzes to test yourself - we suggest a selection of them in the box above.

Sites to help
This is a large, official source of online curriculum content for all stages. It has mock Brevet tests which you can send in to be marked by teachers (see bottom right of homepage)

Useful revision of key topics and tests ranging from modern French history to the French novel
Revision sheets for history and geography
Revision sheets, from fractions to the setup of the European Union

Useful study guides, eg. to set literature texts
Quizzes on topics like geography or philosophy plus free revision sheets on topics like the periods covered in the history exams
Practice exercises, past papers and coaching videos

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