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The French High School exam: a lot of stress? 25 January 2007

Posted by Lycée Alexis de Tocqueville in English, school life.

      In life, a lot of events can cause stress: moving, getting a new job, and for us, pupils of ‘Terminale’ (the senior year in a French high school), taking the ‘bac’!

 First, it is a lot of stress BEFORE taking it because there’s a lot of homework to do, and the teachers, and the parents… Even if the teachers are here to help us, sometimes they discourage us when they give us a bad mark. So, we work harder but they don’t always see it! There are also our parents who put a lot of pressure on us, ‘If you don’t work harder, you’ll fail!’. They say that to ‘motivate’ us, to make us do better, to urge us to surpass ourselves, but I must say that in my case, it doesn’t work! (…) Then, there is a lot of stress DURING  the exam: we are afraid not to remember everything, so we stress more… it is a vicious circle. Finally, there is stress AFTER the exam because we have to wait about two weeks for the results. Of course, there are pupils who have a lot of self-confidence, who are sure to pass, but there  are few of them, I’m sure.

                                                                              Sabine, Terminale L

We are always afraid to panic on the day of the exam, or to forget all we have learnt, or not to understand an assignment, or to be sick…We have so many things to learn. We stress because it is important for our future. The diploma is the key to the door to our future and if we don’t get this key, we can’t open the door! Then there’s the pressure of our parents who want the best for their kids. When we have a good mark, they want us to get a better one on the next test. They always want more, and more, and still more… When we have a bad mark, they say, ‘If you do this on the day of the exam, you’ll never pass!’ We don’t want to disappoint them but it’s hard! And there’s also us: we don’t want to disappoint ourselves, do we?

                                                                           Erika, Terminale L

Stress is common to almost all the pupils who are taking the exam. However, some have great trust in themselves,in their capacities. For them, the exam is only one step on their way to success. Not for me: I probably don’t realize all there is at stake and it is fortunate because if I did, my level of stress would be even more unbearable! My desire to succeed is really very strong. I really want to reach my goal. So I work very hard. And I know that I need to channel this stress to do  better. But it is more easily said than done!

                                                                  Priscilla, Terminale L.

 Learn from your mistakes! Keep at it! Never give up! You can do it! When there is a will, there is a way!

                                                                               The teacher.

P.S  We’d like you to react: is taking the final exam stressful in  Germany, Italy, Spain and Poland ?

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