These are two to three (exceptionally four) very selective and intensive years of preparatory studies (sometimes described as one of the most difficult in the world) for the selective entrance exams of the Grandes écoles . The classes préparatoires take place after the baccalauréat (corresponds to the Abitur or Matura ) and are usually offered directly at grammar schools ( Lycées ) or sometimes by certain grandes écoles as the so-called 1 er cycle ("basic studies") or prépa intégrée ( Integrated preparatory classes). However, the latter usually only entitle you to transfer to the same university - provided you have the appropriate performance. Even in the preparatory classes there are unofficial gradations, the most renowned are those of the high schools Lycée Louis-le-Grand , Lycée Henri IV , Lycée Saint-Louis , Lycée Fénelon and Lycée Stanislas in Paris, Lycée privé Sainte-Geneviève , Lycée La Bruyère, Lycée Hoche , and Lycée Notre Dame du Grandchamp in Versailles, Lycée Lakanal in Sceaux, Lycée du Parc , and Sainte-Marie Lyon in Lyon, Lycée Thiers in Marseille and Lycée Pierre de Fermat in Toulouse and Center Madeleine Daniélou in Rueil.
The classes prépa are only comparable to a limited extent with the German pre-diploma , because in France these first two years of study are much less subject-oriented, but offer a more general basic education. The Classes préparatoires are mainly used for admission to the Grandes écoles, but the equivalence with the first two years of a university course is also recognized. If you do not get a place at the desired university or at least a university category in the Concours , you can enroll at a university and then usually start in the third year of study.
These preparatory classes can be divided into three types:
- The classes préparatoires scientifiques either prepare (with a major in mathematics or physics) at engineering schools ( École Polytechnique , Écoles Centrales , Écoles des Mines , etc.), the Écoles normales supérieures , military universities ( St Cyr , École Navale ) or (with a major in biology) for the Veterinary schools (Écoles vétérinaires). At 63%, the vast majority of students who have chosen a prépa are enrolled in these science classes.
- The economics classes préparatoires économiques et commerciales prepare students for business schools ( HEC , ESSEC , etc.) and the École normal supérieure Cachan (ENS Cachan). (22%)
- The humanities-based classes préparatoires littéraires prepare students for the Écoles normales supérieures , the Instituts d'études politiques (IEP) and the École nationale des chartes , among others . (15%)
- France's educational elite. Retrieved August 31, 2016 .
- Gesche Wüpper: This is how France drills the leadership elite of tomorrow . In: Welt Online . August 3, 2016 ( welt.de [accessed August 31, 2016]).
- http://www.letudiant.fr/etudes/classes-prepa/classement-le-palmares-des-prepas-de-l-etudiant-11637.html Ranking list of the best preparatory classes in the magazine L'Étudiant , 2013 (French )