Hello, I’m back! I apologise for not writing as much in November, this was due to exams. The exam system is different here in France and I’d like to take the time now to explain the assessment method and how to go about revising.
Okay, so first of all the first semester in France runs from September through to January, with one half term at the end of October which lasts a week and then the 2 week Christmas break. You are assessed twice, once before the October half term and then again before the Christmas break.
For me the exams in October happened rather quickly because I only had a fixed timetable mid September. However, the exams are not too difficult and are sat in the classroom at the usual class time. I would advise when choosing your classes to not have more than 3 in a row because this will most likely result in 3 exams one after the other.
Most classes are taught as a lecture therefore it is important to attend every class and to take notes because they don’t seem to like to use PowerPoint, making it harder to catch up.
What appears in the test is what has been taught! If you get given sheets, read them, even if the teacher never talks about them because it will come up in the test. For example, I studied Latin American Literature and we got given a booklet full of short stories in Spanish. We’d gone through most of them in class apart from the last 4 or 5 and then one of those appeared in the exam to analyse. I was really happy as I’d read it at home and already looked up the words I didn’t know but some people in the class hadn’t and therefore struggled.
As a foreign student you are entitled to a dictionary. Ask the teacher about using one, they won’t mention it unless you ask. Check the University library, they should have many that you can take out.
Each exam is out of 20, so 20=100% (if we compare this to the Leicester system). However, to pass you need to obtain 10 or more, and then the two marks from both tests are combined and you get an overall mark which is still out of 20.
UEO modules are credit modules. You can study a variety of subjects and gain 3 credits (as long as you have no more than 3 absences). You still have to take an exam but the grade doesn’t count unless you speak to the teacher and get them to send your grade to your University (if needed). I did French language for foreigners and Italian beginners as my two UEOs.
Overall, I am happy with my grades from the first exams but the ones I just did before Christmas (we broke up late on the 22nd December) I don’t know yet. The results will be announced in January and since all of my exams were completed before Christmas, I will not be going back to Avignon.
I will post another blog soon, summing up my time and experiences in France as an Erasmus student 🙂