The OIB Explained

    The OIB (option internationale du baccalauréat) was created in the early 1980s as the French answer to the IB (International Baccalaureate), which was a program taught entirely in English. It gives students the full benefits of preparing the French baccalauréat while simultaneously providing a high-level university entrance qualification exam in the language of their Section. The OIB is the only secondary school program in the world that offers a fully bilingual and bi-cultural diploma, and it currently does so in fifteen different national sections.

    OIB candidates complete the entire series of examinations for the French baccalauréat general, series in S (emphasizing math and science), ES (emphasizing economics and sociology) or L (emphasizing languages, literature and philosophy). In addition, they take oral and written exams in the language of their Section, in both language/literature and history/geography. These exams have particularly high “coefficients,” or value, accounting for approximately 40% of the final grade on the bac.

    The number of American option baccalaureate candidates worldwide has been increasing at an annual rate of 15%. A recent ministry directive has called for the opening of two new sections per Académie. New schools have joined annually in France and North America, while sections have also opened in Shanghai, Dublin, Johannesburg and Hong Kong. This year, there are over 600 candidates in France and almost 800 worldwide; that number is expected to be well over 1000 in the coming years.

    The American Option involves the cooperation of the Franco-American Commission and the College Board and is directly administered by the French Inspecteurs Généraux in English and History-Geography. These inspectors work with Inspecteurs Généraux Déléguées appointed by the College Board.  The OIB written examinations typically take place in early June, roughly a week before the French bac. OIB oral examinations follow the French bac, typically the last week of June.