The exam dates for lycée students sitting their baccalauréat in 2022 have been announced, with assessments beginning in March and lasting until July.
The French baccalauréat (often shortened to le bac) is the qualification obtained by most pupils at the end of their secondary education in their terminale year (aged 17-18).
It is split into three streams: the baccalauréat général, the baccalauréat technologique and the baccalauréat professionnel.
The ‘general baccalaureate’ is taken by students hoping to continue on to university, who can choose the subject areas that they would like to concentrate on.
This bac used to be separated into three streams or fields of study, but since this year, pupils have chosen three different specialisms for their penultimate school year, called première (aged 16-17), dropping one for terminale.
Their final scores are largely determined by continuous assessment, but they must also complete written and oral exams at the end of their studies.
The ‘technical baccalaureate’ is designed to enable access to the world of work or to further study in areas including hospitality, management, drama and art.
Finally, the ‘professional baccalaureate’ allows entry into work in a particular trade or field such as construction, catering, crafts or hair and beauty.
When will the 2022 exams take place?
For the baccalauréat général and technologique, 2022’s written exams will begin in March, while the baccalauréat professionnel assessments will start in May.
On Monday, March 14, baccalauréat général students in terminale will be examined in their specialism subjects. Options include:
History, geography, geopolitics and political sciences: 14:00-18:00
Humanities, literature and philosophy: 14:00- 18:00
Physics and chemistry: 14:00-17:30
Economic and social sciences: 14:00-18:00
Digital and computer sciences: 14:00-17:30
Engineering sciences: 14:00-18:00
Biological and earth sciences: 14:00-17:30
There will also be exams for these subjects – save arts – on Tuesday, March 15, when students will also be able to sit foreign and regional languages, literatures and cultures from 14:00 to - 17:30.
Wednesday, March 16 will see exams in literature, languages and cultures from antiquity, as well as biology and ecology.
Philosophy exams will take place on Wednesday, June 15 between 08:00 and 12:00, and French will follow on June 16 from 14:00 until 18:00.
Finally, oral exams will run between June 20 and July 1.
The baccalauréat professionnel follows a different timetable, with assessments taking place between May 23 and June 3 and then from June 14-24.
Baccalauréat results will be published on July 5, 2022
Students who cannot sit their exams over the spring and summer will have another opportunity in September.
Further details on the times and dates of the baccalauréat exams can be found on the French government website.
What happens after the bac?
Those who have obtained a baccalauréat général will normally move onto their first year of licence, a three-year degree covering several subjects in one field which is comparable to a bachelor’s degree in the UK or the US.
After completing their licence most students continue onto a two-year master’s degree in one specialism, which opens up the possibility of pursuing a doctorate qualification.
However, for many the end of the master’s course marks entry into the world of work.
Universities often have integrated IUT (Instituts universitaires de technologie) schools where students can complete a Diplôme Universitaire de Technologie (DUT), a professional diploma lasting two years and including lectures, practical work and internship opportunities.
Those wishing to pursue a career in medicine, pharmacy, dentistry or other healthcare professions can enter a Parcours spécifique accès santé straight after they finish their bac.
How does the university application process work?
Terminale students apply for university or other tertiary education pathways through the national Parcoursup platform.
There are 17,000 courses available, including 4,000 apprenticeships.
Through Parcoursup, students can research the different options available, along with their entry requirements, and then submit their applications for the courses which suit them best.
They will then receive their offers through the platform and confirm their final choice.
For 2022/23 entry, students will be able to explore the courses on offer from December 21. From January, they will be able to begin their applications, which must be completed by April 7.
They will receive a response between June 2 and July 15, although there will be a second wave of admissions between June 23 and September 16.