The International Option of the Baccalaureate

The International Option of the Baccalaureate is one of the French ‘general’ baccalaureates with an additional international option.

The American Option was introduced to the Lycee Jules Verne in 2012 for the Grade 11 and 12 students for Scientific and Economic sections. It is the first American Option to be instituted in the entire continent of Africa and further enables candidates to obtain a level of English similar to that of AP (Advanced Placement) programs in Language and Literature and in History-Geography.

In France and abroad there are 24 other options implemented in high schools to offer the same opportunities.

Preparation

Students taking part in the American Option are required to take 6 to 7 extra hours of English per week, over and above their normal class programs. The Option’s syllabus is the same for all schools worldwide.

The final examination is taken at the same time as the French Baccalaureate in Grade 12, giving students two years to prepare. All tests are assessed by outside examiners who come from schools with the same option.

Most of the candidates who opt in to the Option are students who have a mastery of the English language and who wish to pursue higher education in French or foreign institutions that require a level of C1 in the European Framework of Languages.

The Lycee Jules Verne’s first seven candidates took their French Baccalaureate with the International American Option in June 2014.

An International Section has also been implemented for students in grades 6, 7 and 10 to provide preparation from an earlier age. Students in these grades also increase their weekly workload in Language and Literature and History with 5 – 7 hours.

Candidates wanting to subscribe to the International Option are evaluated in reading comprehension and writing skills in Grade 5 in primary school and in Grade 9 in the middle school. They are required to write two essays as part of the evaluation and are interviewed by a teacher to ascertain their levels of motivation and dedication for this Option.

For further details, Please see below the Frequently Asked Questions.

In order to succeed in the section, good working skills and a sense of autonomy are fundamental. Students are asked to develop skills of critical thinking and intellectual independence. The OIB students are asked to establish links between several texts or documents through their themes or literary style.
No, not at all. Even though it is easier for a native speaker to join the section, a fondness for the English language and literature as well as motivation to work hard is much more important. A good level of written and oral comprehension is essential, but having a “foreign accent” is not at all a handicap.
According to the pedagogical information we have at our disposal, the students in the International Section are easily able to transpose their knowledge from one subject to another, whatever the language may be. In fact, studies show that mastery in a foreign language enhances learning in the mother tongue.
For the Scientific section: Language and Literature (written 5, oral 4) History-Geography (written 4, oral 3) ? 16
For the Economic section: Language and Literature (written 5, oral 4) History-Geography (written 5, oral 4) ? 18
No, it is free of charge. As for all the other options, we wish to allow students to find their ideal educational path without forcing them to make the choice according to their financial means.
According to our first two years of evaluations, 50% of the students at the French School Jules Verne have the necessary skills to succeed in the section. Our main goal is to ensure that all our students do well on the French Baccalaureate, whatever the option.
There is a substantial difference between speaking fluent English and mastering English literature. Reading at a high level is essential. A limited vocabulary during the oral evaluations is often reflected in a limited comprehension of written English. That is why we advise the students to read as much as possible while enjoying literary works. Books for all age levels are available at the school library.
Normally, a student preparing the OIB in grades 11 and 12 should not change sections because the program in history and geography is not the same. In addition, the students in the Scientific section pass their history and geography exam in grade 11, whereas the students in the OIB pass their exams in grade 12.
A student who did not begin the section in grades 6 or 10 can take the evaluations in March/April if he/she so chooses. In the event that a student in the section leaves Jules Verne at the end of the school year, we try to welcome another student who is motivated to join. At the present time, there are approximately 16 students per group. This enables us to work in favorable conditions.
Nothing prevents students from leaving the section in middle-school or in grade 10 if they do not enjoy preparing this option. Because they have a heavy workload, only a strong personal motivation can ensure their success.
Normally students study approximately six novels a year including a play by Shakespeare, poetry and a text of non-fiction. We try to offer a diverse and enriching program with a strong cultural content.
In grade 10 there is no difference with the other sections, meaning examples and case studies specific to the United States (and sometimes Great Britain and South Africa).
In grade 11, the geography is the same as in the Scientific section grade 11. However, “networks and exchanges in Europe and France” is not studied in the OIB section while the territory of the USA is part of the OIB program. The history program is the same as the Scientific section plus a study of the United States from the mid-nineteenth century to 1939.
In grade 12, the Geography is the same as in the Economic section in grade 12. In history, the OIB program is the same as in the Scientific section but includes the history of the United States from 1939 to the present date.
  • To collect and sort information from different sources
  • To place historical and geographical documents in their correct context
  • To separate the essential elements from those that are unnecessary
  • To recognize historical and geographical resemblances and differences in several periods and places
  • To summarize in a coherent manner historical and geographical documents either in written or spoken form
  • To develop written and oral arguments that are convincing
  • To use pertinent and precise examples to illustrate oral and written answers
The main objective of the Geography program is to study the relations between people and their environment and to explain the territorial occupation of the world.
In particular:

  • To show knowledge and understanding of contemporary problems on a regional, national and international level.
  • To show an understanding of the importance of time and space for the geographical aspects of the environment.
  • To show the knowledge and understanding of the different sociocultural groups, their territorial organization and the relations between them.

The written exam in History and Geography:

Written tests are four hours in which time candidates spend two hours on each of the two subjects. Candidates can write in French or in English, granted that both the exam papers are answered in the same language.
The structure of the written exam and the types of questions based on an essay and the document are the same for both subjects.

Answering of questions:
Two questions are asked, one on an essay and one on a document. They can contain extracts from speeches, statistics, maps, cartoons or other similar sources. The students must answer one of these questions.
The question based on the essay must cover an important part of the program and allow the candidates to expose their arguments with examples of their choice.
The question based on the document must include four or five sources that the students will normally be able to read and analyze in approximately 45 minutes. This part will also include more precise questions divided in two parts as follow:

In the first part, the candidates will be asked to answer a maximum of five specific questions on the document. These questions will require the students to:

  • Define the terms, concepts and other elements found in the document
  • Analyze the message that is conveyed by a particular document

  • Provide additional information that can be conveyed by a given document in the context studied
  • Compare and/or contrast the themes found in both documents
  • Evaluate the strong points and the limits of a given document as a source of information


In the second part,
Candidates will be asked to use their own knowledge and the documents studied to write an essay linked to the main subject of the group of documents.

So as to manage their time in the best way possible, candidates should know that the first part is graded out of eight points and the second out of twelve points. However, these grades will never appear on the exam paper itself.

Candidates must not forget that the examiners will judge the overall quality of an exam before writing their final grade out of twenty.

The oral exam in History and Geography

The oral exam lasts forty minutes – twenty minutes of preparation and twenty minutes for the discussion.

Candidates will choose a question in an envelope containing approximately 50 questions of both history and geography. After having received and copied their subject, the question is returned to the envelope to serve for another candidate.

Candidates have 20 minutes in a supervised room to prepare their presentation on the subject chosen.
Candidates can use the notes that they prepared, but they are not allowed to read a written text. The presentation of the document lasts 5 to 6 minutes while the examiner listens.
The 10 following minutes of the oral exam is spent asking the student questions on a subject of the examiner’s choice in relation to the complete program studied. There is no set rule about this part. The aim is to evaluate the candidate’s knowledge by seeing how quickly and precisely they answer these questions.

The candidates are invited to discuss their findings with the examiner.