To be accepted for the International Section, a student must pass a written and oral test, designed to determine whether s/he is capable of following grade-level instruction in English.
As the International Section programme is demanding, and most pupils must travel some distance to school every day, teachers also review a child’s school reports to determine whether s/he is likely to be capable of managing the additional workload of the International Section. Not all of the students who apply to the programme have either the level of English or overall academic qualifications that the teachers look for when assessing which pupils they believe will be successful — and happy — in the programme.
For collège, the written test typically includes an extract from a work of children’s literature, followed by reading comprehension questions and a short essay. The oral component is an examination based on a text (given on the spot), such as a poem, a passage from a novel, or an article, followed by a ten-minute interview with the English teachers. Of course, each test is adapted accordingly to each age and year group.
Duration : 60 minutes for 6ème
Passage 30-35 lines of fiction or non-fiction
Reading and answering questions : from global comprehension and more detailed understanding
Creative writing 15-20 lines
Duration: 10 minutes
Read a passage aloud
The oral interview is not just a conversation. It is a test to judge the pupil’s comprehension of a written text and their ability to react and analyse it.
The school is not permitted to publish previous papers.
The child’s record from their current school will also be assessed: their file is analysed in depth to assess if they are serious and motivated pupils.
The individual schools follow closely those students who have taken the test at their establishment but ultimately, the Rectorate controls the final selection.
The best way to prepare children for the entrance tests: ensure that they regularly read a variety of English-language texts; speak to them consistently in English; and give them opportunities to write in English whenever possible. Many children in the section have followed a more structured programme, via weekly courses or even language exchanges during the summer months. Some have previously attended school in an English-speaking country, or have been enrolled in a bilingual programme in Paris.
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