The French Baccalaureate

Recognised by universities worldwide, this diploma allows students to choose between three different options according to their interests, abilities and ambitions. It is studied by students age 15 - 18 years old.

Recognised by universities worldwide, the French Baccalaureate (le Baccalaureate en France in French) is an extensive national examination taken at the end of high school (or lycée in French). It is the equivalent of A-Levels in the British Curriculum and is the required qualification in France for students who wish to attend university or college. The diploma allows students to choose between three different options according to their interests, abilities and ambitions. It is studied by students age 15 to 18-years-old and each chosen series covers a demanding syllabus and requires a mastery of written and spoken French. 

The French Baccalaureate is studied in 250 French accredited schools in more than 100 countries worldwide. It is currently offered at three Nord Anglia schools: College Alpin Beau Soleil, Collège Champittet, and Collège du Léman.

In this article, we will discuss the French Baccalaureate in more detail, looking at subjects, grade equivalents in the UK, and what we offer at Nord Anglia Education. 

French Baccalaureate Subjects

As mentioned, there are three options for children studying the French Baccalaureate:

1. Literary: Based on literature, philosophy and foreign languages, this is aimed at students who plan to follow university careers in Law, Literature or Languages. A modern language is usually chosen as a speciality. 

2. Economic and Social: This option offers a good balance between the Social Sciences, Languages and Mathematics. It is aimed at those interested in studying Economics and Law at university, and Mathematics is usually added as a speciality.

3. Science and Math: This option focuses on the study of Physical Science and Mathematics and is aimed at future scientists and medics. It is considered the most rigorous of the three series.

There is also an optional fourth French Baccalaureate subject. Bilingual students looking to study overseas can also take the Option Internationale du Baccalauréat (OIB). This includes the study of additional subjects taught in English, and the exams are offered in Literature, History and Geography. This also allows a higher grade to be achieved in students’ final French Baccalaureate mark. 

The French Ministry of National Education have also devised an Advanced Placement program called The French American Baccalauréat (FAB). This special diploma recognises excellent mastery of French language and culture, English language, and American culture. Students who study the FAB will take three subjects corresponding to their special track, not the three usually associated with the French Baccalaureate. 

French Baccalaureate Assessment

Starting in 2021, the French Baccalaureate will be a combination of ongoing assessment and final examinations.

Ongoing assessments include exams based on nationally designed exercises, focused on History, Geography, Foreign Languages A and B, Science Culture, Physical Education, and the specialist subject chosen by students. These exams are sat throughout 11th and 12th grade and contribute to 30% of the final grade. Throughout the two years, teachers also set different tests for each mandatory subject. These assessments contribute to 10% of the final grade.

In terms of final examinations, the French Baccalaureate includes final examinations at the end of grades 11 and 12. In 11th grade, students take a French Language and Literature final exam in June. This tests them on their written skills and on an oral presentation of a text. At the end of 12th grade, students must sit three written exams and one oral exam on Philosophy and their two specialist subjects. The final exams contribute to the remaining 60% of students’ final grades. 

French Baccalaureate Grading

All students studying the French Baccalaureate achieve an overall score out of 20, rounded to two decimal places. Students who pass each stage of their examinations the first time are eligible for honour grades, which are awarded based on the average points scored throughout the assessments. 

Mention Tres Bien (Very Good) – Average of 16 or more 
Mention Bien (Good) – Average of 14-15.99 
Mention Assez Bien (Good Enough) – Average of 12-13.99 

Exceptional marks of 18 or above can receive unofficial “félicitations du jury” (jury’s congratulations). There are no set criteria for this accolade, and it is awarded at the marking panel’s discretion. If a student passes the exam but does not score high enough for an honours grade, they receive a Sans mention. 

French Baccalaureate Grade Conversion

Understanding the French Baccalaureate grade conversions into UK A-Levels can help students meet the entry requirements for universities around the world. 

French Baccalaureate

UK A-Level

Mention Tres Bien – 16+


Mention Bien – 14-15.99


Mention Assez Bien – 12-13.99


The French Baccalaureate is a prestigious diploma recognised worldwide, with students who receive honour grades going on to study at leading universities. Nord Anglia Education’s personalised learning approach ensures all our students fulfil their potential and get the grades they need to pursue their interests and follow their dreams. You can find more information on our schools that teach the French Baccalaureate on our website.