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 Forum 2 questions, 4 answers

SamA1Kwiziq community member

How to say: I took and passed my exams?

Hello ,

How do you say: "I took and my passed my exams"


Asked 1 week ago
CécileKwiziq team memberCorrect answer

Hi Sam, 

It would be:

J'ai passé et réussi mes examens.

ChrisC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor

The corresponding lesson harbors on the difference between avoir un examen and passer un examen. The latter means to take an exam and the former means to pass an exam.

In practice, I have found that very few French native speakers make that distinction. Is that lesson really necessary? It is so much clearer, as Cécile writes, to use réussir un examen to mean to pass it.

How to say: I took and passed my exams?

Hello ,

How do you say: "I took and my passed my exams"


Sign in to submit your answer

Don't have an account yet? Join today

KariB2Kwiziq community member

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?
Asked 2 years ago
AurélieKwiziq team memberCorrect answer
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 !
RonC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor
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: Avoir un exam = To pass an exam

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?

Sign in to submit your answer

Don't have an account yet? Join today

Getting that for you now.