France: Option Internationale du Baccalauréat (OIB) (assessed from 2021)

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The Option Internationale du Baccalauréat (OIB) is a special version of the French Baccalauréat Général (see France: Baccalauréat Général) taken by students enrolled in an ‘international section’ and is thus acceptable as a group certificate satisfying general university entrance requirements. 

A fully bilingual as well as bicultural qualification, the OIB evaluates candidates’ performance in a dual curriculum taught and assessed in two languages (French and one of 16 ‘section’ languages), both at first language level. 

  • France

The Option Internationale du Baccalauréat (OIB) 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. Increased subject specialisation in three Special Subjects (Spécialités) in Premiere (Year 12) and two Special Subjects (Spécialités) in Terminale (Year 13) offers additional depth and enhances progression opportunities. The addition of Language and Literature and History-Geography taught in the section language is an important facilitator of international mobility. For example, the British version of the OIB 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 and above.

Education context

The Option Internationale du Baccalauréat (OIB) was 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 OIB is based upon partnerships between the French government and foreign governments/partner authorities.

The OIB qualification is offered in 16 languages. National assessment criteria appropriate to university-entrance level education in each partner country is applied. 

The partner authority for the British OIB is Cambridge Assessment International Education. In the British version of the OIB, 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 Option Internationale du Baccalauréat (OIB) must be enrolled in an officially recognised 'international section' which they can join at various points in the French education system: primary, collège (middle school), or lycée (upper secondary school). Here, they study a bilingual curriculum.

In 2019, there were 4,059 candidates for the Option Internationale du Baccalauréat (all 16 language versions) with just over 1,400 sitting the British version of the Option Internationale du Baccalauréat, the largest cohort.

Awarding organisation
  • International

The OIB is structured in the same way as the new French Baccalauréat; that is, around a compulsory core curriculum and Special Subjects (Spécialités) which allow a higher degree of subject specialisation - see 'France: Baccalauréat Général'. 

In addition, students following the OIB programme study Language & Literature and History-Geography in the section language.

Subject areas supplementary


Students select three Special Subjects (Spécialités) in Première / Year 12 (each taught for 4 hours per week) and reduce to two in Terminale / Year 13 (each taught for 6 hours per week).


Special Subjects students can choose from include:


  • Art
  • Engineering Sciences
  • Foreign Language and Literature
  • History, Geography & Political Sciences
  • Humanities, Literature & Philosophy
  • Information Technology
  • Life and Earth Sciences (Biology)
  • Mathematics
  • Physics/Chemistry
  • Social and Economic Sciences


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

Candidates for the British version of the OIB study two additional A-Level-standard subjects: English Language & Literature and History-Geography. The two subjects are produced in partnership between the French Ministry of Education and Cambridge Assessment International Education. They are taught and examined in English at first-language level. Cambridge Assessment International Education provides quality assurance to align the examinations to the UK A Level.

Finally, further options in languages, art, music and mathematics may also be taken but are not examined. They are, however, assessed in the termly marks (teacher assessments) which are given for all subjects and which collectively form 10% of the final overall mark for the Baccalauréat.


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 NARIC, which is the UK body responsible for providing comparability of overseas qualifications.

The British version of the OIB 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 and above.


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:

  • Tres 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 2019, for example, 11.7% of all Baccalauréat Général candidates in France achieved a mention très bien (an overall average mark of 16/20 or better), while 12.3% of A level candidates in England achieved 3 A*/A grades or better.


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.


OIB students take compulsory, externally assessed examinations in six subjects which count for 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 OIB subjects, English Language and Literature and History-Geography, at the end of Terminale (Year 13).


The remainder of the curriculum is assessed through continuous assessment: a combination of results in nationally set and anonymously marked tests (15%), and marks awarded by teachers during the two years of study (10%).

Contribution of assessment components to overall grade

Subjects are weighted slightly differently in the OIB compared to the standard French Baccalauréat Général:




Baccalauréat Général


OIB (*British version)

Special Subject 1



Special Subject 2



Special Subject Oral



French Literature







Language A



(*English Language & Literature examined at

A Level standard)

Language B






(*examined at

A Level standard)




Physical Education



Special Subject dropped at the end of première



Teacher Assessment – average of all subjects



(*including two subjects examined at

A Level standard)





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

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

For UK HE admissions purposes, the OIB 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. It is important to note that assessment in the Baccalauréat Général is not subject to the same moderation processes as the UK: individual assessors are free to apply their own marks after an initial period of ‘harmonisation’. Equally, unlike with A Levels, examination results for Special Subjects are the product of one examination rather than a number of components and therefore may not always reflect be a reliable reflection of a candidate’s  ability in the subject.

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 2019 (source Note d'information - N°19.28 - juillet 2019 can be found here:…


It is generally expected that the success rate will fall as a result of the reform. 



Progression information/access to HE within home country

In theory 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 Option Internationale du Baccalauréat (OIB), please consult the Cambridge Associate, ASIBA: