Preparatory engineering course: the complete guide

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What is a pre-preparatory engineering course?

The aim of a pre-preparatory engineering course is to prepare students for engineering competitions, in order to begin the realization of a professional project. While the emphasis is on a complete scientific education, the preparatory program helps develop methods and work skills.

Most of them are offered in high school, private or public, while others are integrated directly into engineering schools. The pre-prep lasts two years and is more usually called “scientific and technological pre-prep”.

What are the different types of preparatory engineering courses?

When you want to enter an engineering school, the preparatory class is a very interesting option after the BAC. There are eight types of preparatory courses, all of which are oriented towards scientific subjects. Holders of a baccalaureate have a choice of these pre-preparatory courses:

  • PCSI – Physics, technology, engineering science
  • MPSI – Mathematics, physics and engineering sciences
  • PTSI – Physics, Technology and Engineering Sciences
  • BCPST – Biology, chemistry, physics and earth sciences

Technological baccalaureates have this choice:

  • TB – Technology and Biology
  • TPC – Technology, Physics and Chemistry
  • TSI – Technology and Industrial Sciences

Finally, BTS, DUT or BTSA holders have the possibility to specialize via preparatory courses called ATS (Adaptation Technicien Supérieur)

Once the first term is completed, students may choose several options (with reinforced instruction in the major) that will lead them into the second year in one of four classes:

  • MP – Mathematics and Physics
  • PC – Physics and Chemistry
  • PT – Physics and Technology
  • PSI – Physics and Engineering Science

What does the program of a pre-preparatory engineering course consist of?

In the first year of preparatory school, the industrial engineering science program aims to prepare students to exploit and understand technological innovations so that they serve the progress and evolution of society in the long term. The preparatory program trains the engineers of tomorrow, and gives them the flexibility they need for their future careers. The disciplines taught and the methods used aim to strengthen their creativity, their ability to communicate, their versatility as well as to highlight the notion of entrepreneurship.

The objectives of the program can be distinguished in 5 points:

  • Modeling
  • Communicate
  • Experiment
  • Solve
  • Analyze

Is it worth it to do a pre-preparatory engineering course?

Even if they are criticized for their high selectivity of candidates, the engineering preparatory classes are still very attractive because of the many benefits they offer to candidates. The teaching is multidisciplinary and maintains a level of excellence. It teaches the basic scientific fundamentals necessary to develop a solid project in engineering. In addition to the theoretical lessons, we learn to work quickly and efficiently, to synthesize and analyze data.

Even though there are many training courses on offer compared to the pre-preparatory courses, they still represent a very effective way of being accepted into an engineering school.

How much does an engineering prep school cost?

  • For preparatory courses in public high schools, there are no tuition fees and schooling is free.
  • For private high schools under contract, things are different. The price is freely fixed. It is necessary to count approximately 2000 euros per year, but the rates can vary according to the establishments.
  • In a private school without a contract, the prep school can cost between 6000 and 8000 euros per year.

There are, however, scholarship opportunities to help less fortunate students complete their projects.

What are the opportunities after a pre-preparatory engineering course?

Once the two-year preparatory engineering course has been completed, students have the choice of several orientations via competitive examination banks, which themselves group together several engineering schools. Here are some of them:

  • ECE – Concours commun Avenir
  • E3A – Polytech
  • CCINP – National Institutes Common Competition
  • G2E – Geology Water Environment

All scientific specialties are possible, as there are so many subjects taught. Thus, once the preparation is completed, the candidate is faced with four options:

  • Passing the entrance exams to the major engineering schools
  • Take the entrance exam to the Ecoles normales supérieures
  • Take the University entrance exam
  • Passing the entrance exam to the national veterinary schools

If you fail your preparatory program, you can apply for parallel admissions to post-baccalaureate engineering schools. The choice is made via the file and not via an entrance exam.

Does the ECE offer an integrated engineering preparatory program?

By choosing an engineering preparatory program at the ECE, the student is assured of a total immersion in the professional world. Rather than stagnating in an academic and theoretical environment, ECE proposes to carry out projects from the first year via an integrated preparatory class. This is the best way to prepare for your professional project in engineering by assimilating all the fundamental scientific knowledge.

The evaluation of the integrated preparatory program takes place in the form of continuous assessment in order to measure the level of progress of the students throughout the year. This course takes a less traditional methodological approach than a standard preparatory course by offering much more practical work. This course is recommended for the most regular students as the rhythm requires a great deal of involvement.

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Updated 2 January 2024