French Baccalaureate (terminale - grade 12) – the “BAC”
The French Baccalauréat, or “le Bac”, is as much a part of French culture as bread, wine and cheese. First introduced by Napoleon I in 1808, the French Baccalauréat is a comprehensive national examination that marks the end of the Lycée (High School). It is the required diploma in France and around the world for students wishing to continue their studies in higher education.
Obtaining the Baccalauréat is based on two pillars: terminal exams which count for 60% of the final mark and continuous assessment which counts for 40% of the final mark.
At the end of Première, students take the early French exams. Candidates are tested on their written skills and on the oral presentation of a text.
In Terminale (Matric), students take:
Two written tests linked to the two specialities chosen in March
The written test in Philosophy in June
The “grand oral” in June, corresponding to at least one speciality subject
Continuous assessment is also applied as follows:
All core subjects not covered by final exams (languages, History, Geography and sciences)
Physical Education and sports are assessed in Terminale
Specialised teaching finalised at the end of Première is credited
Moral and civic education is also assessed
To obtain the Baccalauréat, students must achieve a mark of at least 10 out of 20. After that, scoring is as follows: between 12 and 13.99 (Assez Bien); between 14 and 15.99 (Bien); between 16 and 20 – (Très Bien).
Students who obtain a final mark of between 8 and 10 out of 20 can take the “rattrapage” tests. These are oral tests on two subjects chosen by the student. Thus, a student who had narrowly missed the minimum pass mark has another opportunity to raise his or her overall mark to 10. If they pass, they obtain their Baccalauréat without having to repeat a year of Terminale.
Students at the High School are able to customize their curriculum through the speciality courses that the French School offers:
History, Geography, Geopolitics and Political Science
Physics and Chemistry
Life and Earth Sciences
Economic and social sciences
Humanities, literature and philosophy
Language, literature and foreign culture
Digital and computer sciences
It is possible to take other specialities via the CNED.
To find out more about the Baccalauréat, click [here] or visit [this website]
The International Section (BFI)
The French School of Cape Town has made it even easier for matriculation students to gain admission to both English and French Universities.
The School has been awarded the “British International Section” for both the middle school and high school. This means students can now choose to sit both the Baccalaureat and the Baccalauréat Français International (BFI) starting from June 2025. This accreditation validates full bilingualism for matric.
While students already sit the Cambridge English exam to substantiate mastery of English, with the new BFI, students will be considered bilingual not only in one subject, or a few subjects. The whole qualification is bilingual, and could also be trilingual or quadrilingual in the future. The French School already offers Spanish and German, and in the future, some subjects may be taught in these languages too.
Practically, students will now have some subjects taught either partly or entirely in English:
English (completely in English)
World Knowledge (connaissance du monde, completely in English)
Culture and language (Approfondissement Linguistique et Culturel, completely in English)
History and Geography (50% in English)
Other subjects can be taught in English (for example Arts and Music in the middle school currently), as long as 50% of the teaching remains in French
The “ordinary” baccalauréat is already fully recognised in all EU countries and most countries in the world (including England, the USA, Canada, and other English speaking countries). However, French students who apply need to prove their efficiency in English, which is why the French School offers the Cambridge tests for its students.
With the International Section now in place, students will no longer be required to take the Cambridge test, although students at the French School will be encouraged to continue taking them. Their entry requirements to some universities will even be lowered.
This in turn means fewer entrance exams, priorities given to enter English speaking universities, and extra credit given when entering a university.
The BFI provides students with a deep knowledge of English culture and language. Students find easier entry to Ivy League universities in the US, and other world class universities such as Concordia (Canada), Imperial College in London, Trinity College, Cambridge, and Oxford. Some students decide to study in France and the BFI gives them an advantage when considering prestigious schools and universities such as Louis le Grand, Henry IV, Jeanson de Sailly, la Sorbonne, and Sciences Politiques.
The University of Cambridge English Language Assessment offers the world’s widest range of examinations and certifications for students of English from schools worldwide.
A strong command of English, certified by a diploma, opens doors to educational and professional opportunities, both at home and abroad. This aligns perfectly with the aspirations of the Cape Town French School for its students.
Cambridge English examinations for schools are designed for primary and secondary education, providing comprehensive support for learning, teaching, and assessing English proficiency.
The Cape Town French School believes that taking Cambridge exams offers a twofold advantage: it provides internationally recognised certification in English for non-native English speakers among our learners and allows our English-speaking learners to assess their official English level as early as Grade 5.
Why did we choose Cambridge English Language Assessment for our school?
It enjoys international recognition from over 20,000 universities, employers, and governments worldwide.
The exams are widely acknowledged for their high standards.
They offer tangible proof of language proficiency.
Its standards meet those of the Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR)
They offer a progressive series of exams, starting at the school level and extending into tertiary education.