The Option Internationale du Baccalauréat (OIB)
The British version of the OIB is an integrated Franco-British school-leaving qualification based upon a long-standing partnership between the French Ministry of Education and Cambridge International Examinations. The unique feature of the OIB is that A-Level standard examinations in English Literature, History and Geography are added to the full syllabus of the traditional French Baccalaureate. All pupils are required to write and speak in an extended analytical mode at university entrance level in English as well as French. The demands of this dual curriculum mean that pupils learn to manage a heavy workload, and acquire different approaches to thinking and methodology through the two languages. This cultural and intellectual flexibility generally enables them to become highly successful undergraduates.
How are OIB entrance requirements expressed?
British universities generally make ‘conditional offers’ that require:
- an overall mark out of 20 (e.g.13/20)
- one or more specified marks in individual subjects (e.g. 13/20 with 13/20 in Mathematics for an Engineering applicant).
The OIB as proof of English Language competence
The British version of the OIB is widely taken by British universities as proof of English language competence, without the need for further proficiency tests. The linguistic demands of the English and History-Geography exams concern the use of English in an academic context through essay-based analytical responses; this makes them an excellent preparation for university study in any subject. The levels of linguistic achievement for successful candidates are C1 or C2 on the CEFR (Common European Framework of Reference for Languages), or ‘educated native speaker/writer.’
Click here for a guide outlining the linguistic demands of the OIB for university admissions tutors.
OIB and A Level admissions requirements
The main published sources of comparison with UK A Levels are the OIB Handbook and tables created by individual universities such as the University of Bristol (below).
N.B. This table is included purely as an example: universities are free to set whatever admissions requirements they consider appropriate. In general, a course requiring AAA at A level will require 14 or 15 overall in the OIB
For individual required subjects, we will specify point scores which will range from 13 to 17/20.
British universities make no qualitative distinction between different séries of the Baccalaureate: they see the three séries of the Bacclauéat Général as representing different but equal challenge. Naturally they will expect that an applicant for a science course will have taken the ‘S’ stream – but applicants for non-scientific and non-mathematical subjects are treated with absolute equality regardless of the stream they have taken.
Some universities require applicants to take special tests in specific subjects as part of the admissions process. Applicants for Medicine, Dentistry or Veterinary Science are routinely required to take tests. Oxford University has its own series of tests in a wide range of subjects. Other universities such as Cambridge, Imperial or UCL require students to complete a short task or to sit a test as part of their selection process
Guide for University Admissions Tutors