The Baccalauréat, known as the Bac, is taken by most 18-year olds at the end of their time at high school. For a large number, philosophy is a compulsory part of their studies.
Questions this year included "is freedom threatened by equality", "is it possible to prove a scientific theory?" and "does culture spoil people?"
The 328,467 candidates sitting the traditional first day philosophy exam had four hours to answer one question. Of this year's candidates the youngest is 12 and the oldest is 71.
Deprived of computers and phones throughout, many jumped onto Twitter and Facebook afterwards to share their pain.
"It's over. No more philosophy in my life ever again" wrote Clementine. "At last, I can burn all my philosophy books" said CloLC. Some took a philosophical tone themselves. "Sénèque, I beg you to ask Jesus to give me the top mark" wrote Charlotte. For others, like Melolotte, it was straight onto thinking about the next stage, "philosophy is over, history tomorrow."