High school studies end with the school leaving exam ("baccalaureate") giving access to higher studies. At the end of the class of 1ere of classical secondary education (ESC) and of general secondary education (ESG), students take an exam in order to receive the General Certificate of Secondary Education. This certificate grants access to higher studies or to a professional career.
Modalities of the exam
The school leaving exam covers six subjects, assessed by six written and two oral tests.
In classical secondary education, the six exam subjects at the choice of the student are:
- two subjects in the fields « languages and mathematics »;
- three subjects in the field « specialisation »;
- one subject in the field « general education ».
In general secondary education the six exam subjects are chosen by the student based on the focus of the stream.
Modalities by subject area and stream are described in the brochures handed out to the candidates at the exam.
At both educational levels, to calculate the final marks in each exam the marks obtained during the year are counted for one third and marks obtained at the exam are counted for two third. The oral test counts for one fourth in the calculation of the exam marks in the given subject.
For subjects that are not included in the exam, an annual average mark corresponds to the final mark. These subjects are taken into account for the student’s certification and the ranking (mention) added to the diploma.
A detailed certificate is issued to the students having passed the exam to document their educational background, emphasise the efforts they made and grant them better chances to be admitted in the university of their choice or start their professional life.
With their diploma, graduates will receive several supplements. This will allow them to produce up to five documents:
- The secondary school leaving diploma (baccalaureate) issued in three languages (French, German and English) with the type of education (classic or general), the division and section and the overall ranking awarded to the student
- The transcript with the final marks of the various subjects of the last school year (1re) and the subjects completed in the penultimate year (2e) however without the marks obtained in these subjects;
- The description of the school curriculum with the objectives of the section and the subjects followed by the student, the duration of the studies for languages and mathematics, the target skill levels for languages;
- The certificate of extracurricular activities issued by the school, mentioning the student’s participation in optional courses, projects or activities as well as any personal involvement of the student;
- A personalised portfolio of activities outside school to be prepared by the student, showing his/her participation in associations, additional language training abroad, student jobs, etc.
Two exam sessions are organised, one in June and one in September. Candidates must show up for the first session. To be admitted to the exam, students have to follow classes on a regular and continuous base and take tests in all the subjects included in the curriculum.
Candidates who fail at the first session are entitled to take the second exam session of the same year provided they obtained a weighted average in the marks of the year that is higher or equal to 36 points and filed their application.