French pupils rebel over 'impossible' English test

Oliver Gee
Oliver Gee - [email protected]
French pupils rebel over 'impossible' English test
Pupils sit the 2015 baccalaureate in Paris. Photo: AFP

Over ten thousand French school pupils have signed a petition calling for the education minister to strike out an "impossible" question from the English exam in this year's French high school baccalaureate.


It's true - English can be a complicated language. 
So complicated, in fact, that over 10,000 French people have signed a petition demanding examiners not mark them on a particularly tough question that appeared in their English baccalaureate exam last week.
It all started when 17-year-old Arthur was talking with a friend after his English exam and discovered they had both got stuck on what has now become known as the notorious "Question M". 
It asked pupils to read a passage from Ian McEwan's novel Atonement, then to respond to the following two questions:
"What are three of his concerns about the situation?" 
"How is Turner coping with the situation?"
It appears the word "coping" (gérait in French) was the most difficult part of the question, and Arthur admitted that both he and his friends lost time trying to figure out what it meant.
Many took to social media to share their thoughts about the question under the hashtag #bacanglais, with the tweeter below comparing it to the devil himself.
So he took matters into his own hands, launching a petition for the attention of the education minister, calling for the question to be removed or for bonus points to be given to anyone who could answer it. 
"I launched a petition to know if other people had the same problem that I did, and it became viral," the pupil told French channel BFM TV.
"Loads of people didn't understand the word 'coping', it's not a very common word."
Indeed, thousands have signed the petition since it was launched on Saturday, with many taking to social media to share their irritation.
But not everyone thinks it's worth complaining about, with at least two counter-petitions launched to keep "Question M" as it is. 
One Twitter user, 18-year-old Hugo Travers, lamented that it was "totally wrong" to rally people to sign a petition just because a question was too hard. 


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