Bac History: preparation and advice for the essay

It would be illusory to believe that one and only one method allows obtaining a good mark in the History-Geography test of the bac. However, a few things can easily make a note go up, just as others can make it drop. A few tips on the expectations of the proofreaders, the mistakes to avoid, and the tips that will make your copy unique.


The correctors, all History-Geography teachers, have very specific expectations that all high school students must meet and which are as follows:

- Organizing ideas: To do this, it is recommended, although it is not necessarily mandatory, to carry out a plan in three parts and three sub-parts, a plan which must respond to a problematic, which must be identified from a subject. To take just one example with this deliberately vague subject: "The bipolarization of the world (1947-1991)". The problem could be this - although many can be identified - "In what way can the post-war world to the disappearance of the USSR be defined as bipolar? What were the causes and how Did this division manifest itself in the political, economic and cultural fields? ".

- Good use of the French language: Some are annoyed by spelling mistakes. Therefore, failing to be able to influence the corrector's behavior, the high school student has some interest in using a clear language, not too crowded with poorly mastered words (which sometimes happens with high school students awkwardly wishing to surprise the corrector), and which must remain rigid . Indeed, it is in no way expected of the high school student to show literary talent but much more that he knows how to master the fundamentals of the French language (conjugation, punctuation, grammar, etc.).

- Knowledge of the main characters: It is essential to know the main characters of the period studied. Thus it is necessary to have knowledge, certainly not encyclopedic but basic, on a De Gaulle, a Stalin or even an Eisenhower. It can also be useful to know how to place them in time, and obviously in space: when does de Gaulle leave the presidency of the Republic and when does he die? How old is Brezhnev when he comes to power (this will be an opportunity to talk about gerontacracy)?

Mistakes to avoid at all costs

- Erudition: Some copies are "Prévert-style" enumerations, and that's all the teachers hate. All are careful not to favor scholarship to the detriment of culture. In this case, this means that it is hardly useful to list ten or so successive dates if they do not usefully supplement knowledge.

- A problem modeled on the subject: It should not repeat the subject's terms word for word. The teachers insist on the fact that the student must reformulate the problem himself, which, according to them, is a guarantee of understanding of the subject.

- Subjectivity: Even if the candidates are not asked to be potential "Marc Bloch" or "François Furet" (these two men were great historians, respectively specialists in feudal France and the French Revolution), it would be very frowned upon to take sides in a copy. Thus an evocation of the creation of the State of Israel in May 1948 should not be accompanied by praise or censure of the new State. You have to be objective. Example never to be written: "De Gaulle, the greatest president of the Fifth Republic". Not only would the proofreader not necessarily agree with you and you would be breaking this very important rule of impartiality.

Tips and advice for success

Quotes: Teachers are very sensitive to clever quotes used to support your point. A copy starting with a quote (in the introduction) will be immediately valued.

Example on a subject relating to European construction and showing that France is participating in it without however renouncing its independence: "Dante, Goethe, Chateaubriand belong to all of Europe inasmuch as they were respectively and eminently Italian, German and French. They would not have served Europe much if they had been stateless and had thought, written in some integrated Esperanto or volapük ". With these words, expressed in 1962 during a press conference, General de Gaulle, in power for four years, was ironic about a possible confederal Europe.

Historiography: This term designates (students who have studied Greek can easily know the meaning = "writing of history"), in short, the history of history. When referring to a history book, written by a historian, we are referring to historiography. Here too, by citing major works, you show that you are not only interested in the courses given by your teacher but that you will seek information elsewhere. An evocation to Vichy can thus be illustrated by the fundamental work of the American Robert O. Paxton (La France de Vichy).

But you can also cite literature, like the Mémoires du Général de Gaulle (in three volumes, published by Plon from 1953-1954 and which mainly relate his life between 1940 and 1946, that is, say between the departure for London and the beginning of the crossing of the desert in January 1946) or the writings of Herta Müller, a writer who received the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2009 and who has denounced on several occasions, often in a subtle way, the dictatorial regime of Nicolas Ceausescu in Romania.

A truly general culture: The historical discipline is certainly interested in history, but not only in political and economic history, as it is mainly studied in secondary school. It is therefore appreciated to evoke the cultural traits of a country, a period, a movement (for example the cultural production of the American and Soviet blocs during the Cold War). By culture, we must understand both the history of the arts (music, painting, sculpture), the history of literature and science, and the history of representations.

For further

- Revise your baccalaureate with Le Monde: Histoire. Edition 2019.

- Annales Bac 2019 Histoire-Géo Tles L / ES / S

Video: How to Write an Essay for a History Exam: The Basics Explained (May 2021).