France: Baccalauréat Français International (BFI) (assessed from 2024)

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The Baccalauréat Français International (BFI) is the international version of the French Baccalauréat Général (see France: Baccalauréat Général) taken at the end of secondary education by students enrolled in the international track of the French baccalauréat and is thus acceptable as a group certificate satisfying general university entrance requirements. 

  • France

The international track of the French baccalauréat is offered in a variety of languages called section languages: three varieties of English (British, American and Australian) and 14 other languages (Arabic, Chinese, Danish, Dutch, German, Italian, Japanese, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese and Brazilian Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, Swedish).

The Baccalauréat Français International (BFI) aims to provide a broad, balanced, and academically challenging curriculum that equips students with the knowledge and skills they need for success in higher education and life beyond, combined with a strong competence in at least two languages.

Depending on the school’s academic organisation, students may be enrolled in a bilingual BFI (French + the section language) or trilingual BFI (French + the section language + an additional language taught at a high level of competence). Schools in particularly multicultural contexts may even offer a quadrilingual BFI, to allow their students to make the most of their linguistic skills.

Increased subject specialisation in three Special Subjects (Spécialités) in Première (Year 12) and two Special Subjects (Spécialités) in Terminale (Year 13) offers additional depth and enhances progression opportunities. The addition of further “BFI Subjects” (Literature, Language & Culture, History-Geography and Connaissance du Monde or Global Issues) taught in another language is an important facilitator of international mobility. For example, the British version of the BFI is widely accepted by British and other Anglophone universities as proof of English language competence without the need for further proficiency tests. Linguistic performance is assessed following expectations of first language usage of academic English, with an expected level of C1/C2.

Education context

The Baccalauréat Français International (BFI) is a recent iteration of the Option Internationale du Baccalauréat (OIB) established in 1981 by the French government in response to the growing demand for more widespread bilingual education and in recognition of a need to make additional provision for foreign nationals and bilingual families living in France. The BFI was devised to offer students with linguistic skills or an interest in multicultural education a wider range of subjects and of languages taught at a high level of academic and linguistic competence. The first cohort of BFI students will graduate in June 2024.

The BFI is based upon partnerships between the French government and foreign governments/partner authorities or awarding bodies. National assessment criteria appropriate to university-entrance level in each partner country is applied. 

The partner authority for the British BFI in 2024 is Cambridge Assessment International Education. In the British version of the BFI (bilingual or trilingual version), all pupils are required to write and speak in an extended analytical mode at university entrance level in English as well as French.

Candidates for the Baccalauréat Français International (BFI) must be enrolled in an officially recognised “international section” which they can join at various points in the French education system: école primaire (primary school), collège (middle school), or lycée (upper secondary school).

In 2022, there were 4,863 candidates for the Option Internationale du Baccalauréat in all the section languages, the forerunner of the Baccalauréat Français International (BFI), with just over 1,817, the largest cohort, sitting the British version of the Option Internationale du Baccalauréat.

Awarding organisation
  • International

In addition to the core curriculum and their Special Subjects (Spécialités) taught in French, students enrolled in the BFI study further subjects (“BFI Subjects”) in another language:

  • The compulsory core curriculum includes: French Literature (Première /Year 12), Philosophy (Terminale /Year 13), two foreign languages, History-Geography-Civics (taught as one subject in France), Physical Education and Science.
  • In addition to the core curriculum, students choose three Special Subjects (Spécialités) in Première /Year 12 (each subject being taught for 4 hours per week) and retain two of these in Terminale /Year 13 (both subjects being taught for 6 hours per week). The Spécialités are chosen from a range of subjects (see below the list of Spécialités to choose from).
  • The BFI subjects studied in at least one other language include: History-Geography; Literature, Language and Culture and a module called “Connaissance du monde” (similar to “Global Issues”) which combines the study of major contemporary issues with a personal research project developed with an international partner (an organisation or individual native to the other language).

Note: in the BFI’s trilingual pathway (Parcours Trilingue), students can opt to take Literature, Language & Culture in a third language instead of their section language, in which case the expected level of linguistic performance is C1. Students in this pathway reach a high level of linguistic skills in three languages: French, the section language and a third language.

Note: in the BFI’s trilingual pathway (Parcours Trilingue), students can opt to take Literature, Language & Culture in a third language instead of their section language, in which case the expected level of linguistic performance is C1. Students in this pathway reach a high level of linguistic skills in three languages: French, the section language and a third language.

Special Subjects (Spécialités) BFI students can choose from include:

  • Ancient language Literature and culture (Latin or Greek)
  • Art
  • Engineering Sciences
  • History, Geography & Political Sciences
  • Humanities, Literature & Philosophy
  • Information Technology
  • Life and Earth Sciences (Biology, Geology, Environment)
  • Mathematics
  • Physics/Chemistry
  • Social and Economic Sciences
  • Sports, sport practices and culture

Not all subjects or combinations of subjects will be available in each school.

Finally, further options in languages, art, music and mathematics may also be taken. They are assessed internally by continuous assessment.

  • Level 3

Level 3 of the RQF (Regulated Qualifications Framework) – acceptable as a group qualification satisfying general university entrance requirements.

For further information on the qualification level, you may wish to refer to UK-ENIC, which is the UK body responsible for providing comparability of overseas qualifications.

The British version of the BFI is widely accepted by British and other Anglophone universities as proof of English language competence without the need for further proficiency tests.

Linguistic performance is assessed following expectations of first language usage of academic English, with an expected level of C1/C2.

Students enrolled in a trilingual BFI pathway will present a multilingual linguistic profile, with a high level of linguistic competence in three languages (French, the section language and an additional foreign language). C1 or C2 are the targeted levels of achievement depending on the status of each language.


All students achieve an overall score out of 20 for their Baccalauréat – this includes fractions.

A Pass (Passable/Sans mention) requires an average of 10 points or more.

In addition, honours grades (mentions) are awarded on the basis of the average point score achieved:

  • Très bien (Distinction) = average of 16 or more points
  • Bien (Merit) = average of 14 points or more but fewer than 16
  • Assez bien = average of 12 points or more but fewer than 14

In practice, the top mark-band (16–20) is awarded to a small percentage of candidates. In 2022, for example, 14.2% of all Baccalauréat Général candidates in France achieved a mention très bien (an overall average mark of 16/20 or better)[1]; 24.5% achieved a mention bien (between 14/20 and below 16/20).

Note that for OIB candidates in 2022 the percentage for mention très bien was 35% and the percentage for mention bien was 37%; note also that 16/20 in an individual subject within the Baccalauréat is given the same UCAS tariff as a grade ‘A*’ at A Level and that 15/20 is rated as equivalent to a grade ‘A’ at A Level.


[1] DEPP, NI-23-09-resultats-definitifs-session2022-baccalaureat-pdfa.pdf


There are two rounds of external examinations within the Baccalauréat programme: the first at the end of Première (Year 12), followed by final examinations towards the end of Terminale (Year 13). The examinations are either written or oral, or both. These are centrally organised and administered by the French Ministry of Education.

BFI students take compulsory, externally assessed examinations in seven subjects which count for over three-quarters of the final overall mark: in addition to the four examinations taken as part of the standard French Baccalauréat Général (French Literature, Philosophy and two Special Subjects), they also take written and oral examinations in the two BFI subjects, English Literature, Language & Culture and History-Geography, together with an oral examination in Connaissance du Monde (Global Issues), at the end of Terminale (Year 13). The BFI subject examinations account for more than 40% of the final overall mark.

The remainder of the curriculum is internally assessed through continuous assessment.

Contribution of assessment components to overall grade

Subjects are weighted slightly differently in the BFI (BFI Subjects being given extra value) compared to the standard French Baccalauréat Général:



Coefficient (weighting)

Coefficient (weighting)

Coefficient (weighting)



Baccalauréat Général

bilingual BFI (*British version)

trilingual BFI (*non British version with English literature, language and culture as a second language)

Special Subject 1





Special Subject 2





Special Subject Oral





French Literature










Language A


20 (*A Level style English Literature, Language & Culture, First Language English)





Language B



20 (*A Level style English  Literature, Language & Culture,)






20 (*A Level style, First Language English )

20 (section language)




General Science (incl a compulsory module in Mathematics where the student is not taking Spécialité Mathematics)





Physical Education





Special Subject dropped at the end of première










Connaissance du Monde (Global Issues)


20 (*First Language English)

20 (section language


(Optional Special Subject in section language)







148 (168)

148 (168)

Resit arrangements

A candidate who narrowly misses the overall pass mark of 10/20 can take supplementary oral examinations in up to two subjects shortly after results have been published in July. The marks gained in these oral examinations (called rattrapage) replace the original written marks in these subjects and may allow the candidate to achieve an overall pass.

Candidates wishing to improve their overall score in the Baccalauréat or individual subjects must re-sit the whole diploma the following year; this is rare.

Guided/notional learning hours
2240 hours
Guided/notional learning hours notes

A BFI course represents an average of 1,120 hours per year, making a total of 2,240 hours for the two examined years of the BFI (32 weeks, with between 32 - 38 hours a week), compared to a yearly average of 1,920 hours for the standard Baccalauréat Général.

For UK HE admissions purposes, the BFI is regarded as comparable in programme size with four A levels hence given a combined multiplier of 16.

Key issues for UK HE admissions

Some HEPs may wish to set subject-specific requirements in addition to an overall Diploma result. As far as assessment in the Baccalauréat Général is concerned, candidates are assessed on national examinations relying on national curricula published by the French ministry of education. Individual assessors apply marks according to a national grading scale under supervision of inspectors from the French ministry of education who ensure an objective ‘harmonisation’ of the assessment and equality between candidates. Equally, results in the BFI Subjects (English Literature, Language & Culture and History-Geography) are the product of different examinations under supervision of the French inspectorate working with Cambridge inspectors.

Timing of assessments/results for learners

Baccalauréat examinations take place at the end of Première / Year 12 and towards the end of Terminale / Year 13. Results are published in early July.

Students receive official results in mid-July, when they are made available online and on school notice boards. Official transcripts (Relevés de notes) are available from school offices.

Qualification dates notes

The Baccalauréat was created in 1808. The most recent far-reaching reform, which changed the structure of the qualification and abolished the three subject-based streams (ES, L and S), came into effect in 2021.

Reporting and certification information

Results of Baccalauréat 2022 (source Note d'information - N°23.09 - mars 2023[1])



Très bien


Assez bien

% Awards


Overall outcome


379 188








145 882








208 034








733 104









[1] DEPP, NI-23-09-resultats-definitifs-session2022-baccalaureat

Progression information/access to HE within home country

The Baccalauréat admits to all faculties in French universities, but universities may redirect students to appropriate courses depending on their results.

Further information

For more information about the international variant of the French Baccalauréat Général, the Baccalauréat Français International (BFI), please consult or the Cambridge Associate, ASIBA: