Thursday, 23 October 2014

Preparing the second half of your “BAC section européenne” exam...

The second half of the section européenne BAC oral exam is an “informal” 10-minute "intellectual" conversation with the jury on one of four topics you have prepared.

The topics are inspired by the “activités culturelles et d’ouverture à l’international” that you have taken part in at school since your “seconde”.

The aim is to have a conversation; it is NOT a “question and answer” session! Choose your topics with this in mind (i.e. avoid just talking about yourself or giving a report on a school trip; give the jury something to say!).

The jury has to assess how knowledgeable, coherent and persuasive you are in your arguments. It also has to assess how well you use English in a “spontaneous” way (do you hesitate, do you understand, do you use the language appropriately?).

You MUST prepare all four topics really well (avoid “reciting” information during the conversation however).

YOU must lead the conversation! Ask the members of the jury what they think or know, interrupt (politely), make pertinent comments, etc.

A conversation is easier if you are positive and constructive about things. Avoid being self-deprecatory (about your views).

Be convinced about what you say and be convincing (don’t be vague).

It is not negative in a conversation to admit ignorance or doubt.

Smile at appropriate moments, look at the members of the jury, stay calm, and use (positive) body language!

Do not speak too fast or too slow and never mumble!

Show your in-depth knowledge (without being pretentious). Use appropriate quotes and useful figures and facts.

Show you have really thought about an issue, that you have a real opinion but that you are open to new ways of looking at an issue.

Some useful vocabulary:
  • Really?
  • Yes, indeed!
  • Yes, isn’t it?!
  • That’s interesting, I had not thought of that!
  • That’s a fair point!
  • Don’t you think…?
  • Perhaps, but…
  • I’m not sure about that, perhaps…
  • It’s a complex issue!
  • Sure, but does it not also depend on your experience/values/beliefs?
  • That’s an interesting idea/point of view, but I think you have omitted an essential fact/factor/aspect…
  • I’m not sure I agree…
  • I beg to differ!
  • I don’t really agree because…


To help the jury choose a conversation topic, you should give the jury a ring binder containing details of your four conversation topics:
  • The jury has very little time to choose, so the information has to be very clear and succinct.
  • The A4 ring binder (15mm rings) is plastic and cherry red.
  • There are five white pages (put them in plastic covers); Use one as a “cover page”, then one page per topic (you choose the order): pages 1, 2, 3, 4.
  • Use Word.
  • Choose an elegant but easy to read police.
  • Keep the same format for each page.
  • Titles: about 26 (same size on each page) at the top, centred.
  • Make the titles "catchy".
  • Add an appropriate picture (labelled) between the title and the text.
  • Text: 14 (do not change size)
  • The text is a sentence or very short paragraph which says “a lot” with as few words as possible.
  • Use bullet points if necessary.
  • For details of the cover page, click on "Read more" below!

First name FAMILY NAME

Term ES/L/S


Oral de section européenne, BAC Juin 2015

(second half of the oral exam)

CONTENTS (nota bene: these are examples, only "the news" is obligatory!)

Page 1Our Citizen Project: learning to help others... 

Page 2Rome wasn't built in a day... A great study trip!

Page 3Europe Day: learning what being a European citizen means.

Page 4My views on the news.

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