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Student in Paris

Taking the French Exam

The Comprehensive Exam is required of all graduating French majors, who are also required to register for French 485--Senior Comprehensive (1 credit)--during the Fall semester of their graduating year. This course is team-taught by faculty of the French section of the Department of Foreign Languages, and usually given on every other Thursday for two hours from 11 a.m. - 1 p.m.

Graduating seniors with a major in French who are studying abroad during Fall semester are still required to register for French 485, but will have to consult with the professors who have conducted the Fall tutorials when they return to Spelman. The coordinators have a list of the professors' names.

A reading list of 10 major works is prepared for graduating majors in French, and sent to their home addresses over the summer before their senior year.

The Comprehensive Exam consists of two parts, given on separate days.

  • Part One is a two-hour written exam, where students choose from various topics and write five essays in French on works from the reading list. The written exam is worth 60% of the final grade.
  • Part Two is an oral exam where students prepare a five minute presentation in French on any aspect of French or Francophone culture, and subsequently field questions from a panel of two professors.
  • The oral section of the Comprehensive Exam is taped and a formal report filed for review, if necessary. The oral exam is worth 40% of the final grade. 

Reading List: French Comprehensive Exam

  • Montaigne: Les Essais
  • Molière: Le médecin malgré lui
  • L'Abbé Prévost: Manon Lescaut
  • Balzac: Le Père Goriot
  • 19th century Poetry: 
  • "Le lac" (Lamartine) 
  • "Saison des semailles: le soir" (Hugo) 
  • "Tristesse" (Musset) 
  • "L'invitation au voyage" (Baudelaire) 
  • "Le Ciel es par dessus le toit" (Verlaine) 
  • "Le bateaux ivre" (Rimbaud) 
  • "L'Après-midi d'une faune" (Mallarmé)
  • Camus: L'étranger
  • Césaire: Discours sur le Colonialisme
  • Fanon: Les Damnés de la terre
  • Roumain: Gouverneurs de la rosée