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French Phrases: Talking about school and education in French

On this page, we'll look at some phrases for talking about school and education in French. This page assumes that you're also familiar with vocabulary for school subjects in French.

j'étudie...-I'm studying...
... le français-... French
... cinq matières-... five subjects
je prépare...-I'm studying for...
... mes examens-... my exams
... mes examens 'GCSE'-... my GCSEs
... mon brevet-... my secondary school diploma (French exam roughly equivalent to GCSEs)
... mon bac-... my baccalaureate (roughly equivalent to American SAT or British A-Levels)
je fais...-I'm doing...
j'ai cours là-I've got a lesson now
j'ai cours de géo à quinze heures-I've got geography at 3
j'ai deux cours de ... par jour/semaine-I have two lessons of ... a day/week
je suis en...-I'm in...
... sixième-... first year of secondary/high school
... cinquième-... second year of high school
... première-... sixth year of high school (=UK "lower sixth")
... terminale-... seventh year of high school (=UK "upper sixth")
j'ai un devoir de français à faire-I've got some French homework to do
j'ai trop de devoirs-I've got too much homework
les (étudiants de) cinquième-=Year 8s, seventh-graders
au programme-on the curriculum
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Names of school years

In the French educational system, names of school years "count down", whereas in the British and US systems, they generally "count up". This gives the following rough equivalents. Note that formally, the full name of French school years is classe de sixième (année) etc, but class de and année is usually omitted in everyday speech.

French yearUK equivalentUS equivalent
sixièmeYear 7 ("first form")sixth grade
cinquièmeYear 8 ("second form")seventh grade
quatrièmeYear 9 ("third form")eighth grade
troisièmeYear 10 ("fourth form")ninth grade
secondeYear 11 ("fifth form")tenth grade, sophomore
premièreYear 12 ("lower sixth")eleventh grade
terminaleYear 13 ("upper sixth")twelfth grade

Classroom activities and instructions

lever la main-to put one's hand up
poser une question-to ask a question
écrivez ...-write down ...
écoutez ...-listen to ...
regardez ...-look at ..., watch ...
regardez attentivement ...-look at ... closely
lisez ...-read ...
lisez attentivement ...-read ... carefully
...le texte-the text
...l'enregistrement-the recording
...la conversation-the conversation
...la vidéo-the video
...l'écran-the screen
ouvrez ...-open ...
...votre cahier-... your workbooks
...votre livre-... your text)books
...le manuel-... the textbook
cochez la bonne réponse-tick the right answer
je vais vous donner un devoir-I'm going to give you some homework
c'est pour...-it's for...
il faut le rendre...-you've to hand it in...
...demain-...tomorrow
...la semaine prochaine-...next week
...après les vacances-...after the holidays
allez, c'est parti!-come on, let's start!
faites moins de bruit, s'il vous plaît!-quieten down, please!
taisez-vous!-quiet!
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Page written by Neil Coffey. Copyright (c) Javamex UK 2014. All rights reserved.