200 (3)Surprise, surprise. Pat on the back Descartes, you’ve done it again. #bestschoolever #notreally

MCQ. For those of you that do not know, “MCQ” stands for “Multiple choice questions”.

That means that there will be several questions.

And underneath each question, there will be a choice of answers, of which you must select one or more of, depending on which you think of as correct.

In French, you say QCM. “Questionnaire à choix multiples”.

Which, for the record, is THE SAME EXACT THING.

You get it right? The dumb Erasmus student (me) understood. The exam hall full of 80+ students understood. The teacher clearly understood, as she explained it to us in the very last lecture.

So why was it, that on the 4th of May, the date of the Institutions Communautaires MCQ/QCM paper, were we given an (wait for it)….. ESSAY SUJET????!????!?!???! 

And it wasn’t even like the lecturer tricked us or anything. She wasn’t always planning on doing this. It wasn’t your everyday, “throw your students under the bus” situation.

Instead, it was just your usual “this would NEVER happen in England” situation. They lost the damn paper. The QCM paper, mysteriously ended up missing (aka someone didn’t copy them on time aka classic France aka I hate you aka LET ME GO HOME ALREADY).

So of course, everyone was outraged. The exam hall ERUPTS into complaints, students echoing “LA SEMAINE PROCHAINE, ON PEUT LE FAIRE LA SEMAINE PROCHAINE” (sorry not sure how you know how exam timetables work hunnies but it’s definitely not like that). Of course, everybody is only freaking out because they were relying on the “educated guess” approach to this exam, rather than actually learning her cours and being prepared to know every detail, down to the T.

In fairness, it wasn’t just them. Even though I had crammed like crazy, I still didn’t think I could write an essay on one of her obscure titres.

And then, comes the silence. Waiting for the dreaded sujet. “Le sujet, c’est……….” We aren’t sure. Is she going to give us “Brexit”? Something on the PAC? The evolution of Treaties? The history of the development of the EU? All of us were shitting ourselves, only for her to say:

“La Commission Européenne”. 

I don’t think God had ever been more on our side than in that moment.

Even if you didn’t read her lecture notes, everyone knows something about the Commission! Well, it turns out that isn’t strictly true. As 20 minutes later, as soon is it announced that people can leave, about 75% of the students walk out, admitting defeat.


That was my 3rd EU paper in the space of 2 days, so I don’t think there could’ve been a more perfect topic, as the Commission overlapped on all of my revision notes! So whilst I was only 60% ready for this paper, I was 80%+ ready for my first two, which meant I had more than enough to write on this topic (thank you again LORD).

So a word of warning to future Erasmus in Paris: just revise every paper as if you are taking an oral exam and need to know every topic inside out- you never know, the QCM may vanish into thin air right before your eyes.

We were just really surprised by how many people left the exam hall. I was beyond gobsmacked that all the girl next to me wrote was “La Commission est une institution”.

With that being said, if I still do not get the coveted (crappy) 10 because of the whole “je ne donne jamais la moyenne aux Erasmus” attitude, I will, 100%, do nothing. Because nothing can be done. Nothing will change. The girl who intelligently pointed out that the Commission is an institution (when the title of the module is INSTITUTIONS) will probably still get a higher mark than me. Vive la France. VIVE ERASMUS! PROFITEZ!

I think this was just the cherry on top of a very frustrating year. In fairness, she told us that the “good news” was that her original paper was missing, which just goes to show we were probably all gonna screw up the MCQ no matter how simple it should have been in theory. At least she gave us a nice sujet. I suppose. If you have to say one nice thing- even though I don’t want to.

In other news, I have 2 more exams left.

I wish I could say that after that. I’m done with Paris and can leave. But unfortunately, I didn’t “impérativement améliorer ma maîtrise de la langue” like my contract teacher so kindly pointed out, so I’m retaking that.

As well as some other stuff…



  1. Pingback: EXAMS ARE OVER! | Patel in Paris

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