Totally Frenched Out

From the blogger formerly known as Samdebretagne

Monday, December 2, 2013


This past weekend, I realized something that will likely negatively affect my final grade for my masters....Duh duh duh.....

You see, we only have one week of class left (unbelievable, right??), and that last week includes our final exam.  I was thinking I was sitting pretty good because my average grades for the first two weren't too bad, so I haven't exactly been studying like I had for the first two.  However in talking to my classmates on Saturday, I realized two things:  1) some of our classes were more heavily weighted than others, and that 2) the grades our director had given us had not yet taken this into account.  

So I start looking back at the classes that were deemed most important (finance, accounting, etc) and saw those were the areas where I had the lowest scores.  Doh!  Suddenly I realized that I had gone about studying for my tests all wrong.  We had six subjects per exam, and I had been studying for them all equally, whereas I should have been focusing most of my time on the heavily-weighted subjects.

Cue mega panic about the third exam.

So my classmates start trying to explain how to go about calculating the minimum grade I needed to have on the third exam, and after a few minutes, my head was absolutely spinning with numbers and advice.  I finally asked my tablemate to help me figure out exactly, and the formula he wrote down was something like this:

M= (Axy + Bxy + Cxy)/Z

And I was like "WTF is that??".   He then went through this complicated (to me anyways) system of calculate M, A, x, y, B and Z, so that we could figure out C, ie the minimum score I needed for the third exam. I guess it's probably easy if it's something you've been doing it since grade school, but I'm still not sure I could do it on my own...

Luckily it turned out to be a fairly low number, so I should be alright (though it was not as low as my tablemate, who could get a -2 on the exam and still average more than 10).  As a disclaimer, I realize that I may just be slow, and that the idea of "pondération" is completely obvious to those of you who have grown up with this method and/or have done schooling in France, but figured I would put it out there just in case I can help someone prevent making the same studying mistakes I made.



Blogger Gwan said...

Oops, I'm sure you'll still do great though! The only weighting we ever had was a system in the first year of uni where you could discard some of your coursework marks and just take the mark off your final exam if that worked out higher. This was called "plussage" but at least the name must be pretty unique to my old uni, because it comes up as an auto-suggestion if you Google it!

December 2, 2013 at 3:11 PM  
Blogger L said...

And there are always "points du jury" in case you do really poorly but the professors think you worked hard.

December 3, 2013 at 7:45 PM  
Blogger shannon said...

The French system makes no sense to me. I just don't get it. Luckily, most of my classes are weighted somewhat the same with my memoire holding the most weight. I think the classes are then in groups that we have to get a certain grade in each... or something...

December 3, 2013 at 9:52 PM  
Blogger Megan said...

Ugh. My course was like that too. I had it figured out down to the decimal point too how much i needed on each exam, but we didn't actually know our scores until the very end, even for the ones during the course of the year. Good luck! Or, as they say in. France, Merde!

December 4, 2013 at 6:43 AM  
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December 4, 2013 at 5:52 PM  
Blogger The Paris Chronicles said...

My kids are always going on and on about les coefs and are quick to figure out how many points they need for the ultimate exam based on their current point overage/underage.

It's so foreign to those of us who came up through the American system!

December 5, 2013 at 12:51 PM  
Blogger Julie said...

I couldn't for the life of me figure out why they bothered with COEFs for the CAPES exam. In the English exam everything was COEF 3, which means ultimately everything is 1.

December 9, 2013 at 8:57 AM  
Blogger Julie said...

Oh and being a University professor, I can tell you that you shouldn't count on the points jury someone else mentioned. Generally they're only given to those where they only need a tenth or so. The most we've ever made up for a student was 0.3 of a point.

December 9, 2013 at 8:59 AM  
Blogger Teh Tarik or St Emilion? said...

Hi Ksam,

Could you please share with me which university are you currently doing your Masters and if it's a weekend course for working professionals? I am looking at doing a Masters without having to resign from my CDI.
Many thanks in advance!

December 31, 2013 at 3:56 AM  
Blogger Ksam said...

Hi! I'm doing my masters at the Univerisité Paris-Dauphine. They have several masters designed for people who work full-time. It is a lot of work, but it goes by fast and is definitely worth it.

My program has classes every other Friday and Saturday, so two work days and two weekend days a month. Some of my classmates negotiated with their employer to not have to take those two days off, others take them as vacation days, and still others as unpaid work days. Hope that helps!

December 31, 2013 at 11:39 AM  
Blogger Teh Tarik or St Emilion? said...

Thank you Ksam for the reference! Definitely a cheaper option compared to the other business schools I've seen, just not sure if they'll accept my dossier for the executive masters programme... At least I'll have end of Feb to prepare my dossier!

January 9, 2014 at 11:23 AM  

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