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Passer un exam vs to pass an exam

Look at these sentences:

Elle passe le bac, mais elle n'est pas sûre de l'avoir.
She's taking her A-levels, but she's not certain to pass them.

Et l'exam que tu as passé le mois dernier? - Hélas, je ne l'ai pas eu / je ne l'ai pas réussi!
What about the exam you took last month? - Unfortunately, I didn't pass. (it)

J'ai passé le concours d'entrée, j'espère que je l'obtiendrai!
I took the entrance examination , I hope I'll get it!

Passer un examen in French never means 'to pass an exam': it actually means 'to take an exam', with no implication of its outcome.

Note that you will never use "prendre" to say "to take an exam" !

To say that you passed an exam, you would use "réussir (à) un exam/ obtenir un exam / avoir un exam"

See also Avoir un exam = To pass an exam

Learn more about these related French grammar topics

Examples and resources

Hier, mon fils a passé son examen.
Yesterday, my son took his exam.


J'ai passé le concours d'entrée, j'espère que je l'obtiendrai!
I took the entrance examination , I hope I'll get it!


Et l'exam que tu as passé le mois dernier? - Hélas, je ne l'ai pas eu / je ne l'ai pas réussi!
What about the exam you took last month? - Unfortunately, I didn't pass. (it)


Elle passe le bac, mais elle n'est pas sûre de l'avoir.
She's taking her A-levels, but she's not certain to pass them.


Je passe mon permis de conduire demain.
I´m taking my driving license test tomorrow.


Q&A

Kari

Kwiziq community member

24 December 2017

2 replies

How would you simply say "I have my BA?"

In English I would say "I received my BA in 1995" when referring to a specific point in time but in general conversation with someone I would simply say "I have my BA" to indicate that I had that degree so how would I make the distinction in French or do you simply not have that meaning in French?

Ron

Kwiziq community member

25 December 2017

25/12/17

Bonsoir Kari,
Here is the lesson example that addresses your question:
Youpi! J'ai eu ma licence! ---> Yippee! I got my B.A.!
It is in the following lesson:
https://french.kwiziq.com/my-languages/french/view/3174

Aurélie

Kwiziq language super star

29 December 2017

29/12/17

Bonsoir Kari !

You would simply use the verb avoir in Le Présent:

J'ai une licence d'Histoire / d'Anglais.
I have a B.A. in History / in English Studies.

Bonne journée !

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