Entrance examination

This was in the 2024 entrance examination of one of the high(est) french school (Ecole Centrale-Supelec)

(Source: french go list)

In short, make a go bot in 4 hours… Including the time to read the subject :joy:


Very interesting. Is there an English/German version?

Sorry i don’t have but I won’t mind if someone post one using google translate or similar.

Translated document by a machine. I didn’t check the accuracy of the translation.

14 pages


Wow! that was so impressive! And only 4 hours for a 14-page assignment? :saluting_face:

It’s a competitive exam. The goal is not to solve everything but to solve more than x people, where x is the number of candidates who will be admitted.


Maybe you win if you understand what are 2 eyes :joy:


oh, I see! That makes much more sense now. :slight_smile: Still, very impressive for an entrance exam, even with the provisions of the various functions.


It’s one of best most famous engineer school, one prepare during 1 to 3 years to pass the examination very very low chance to succeed (but you can apply to lower competition in other schools)


I can definitely see why.

In that case though, maybe it is worth getting an engineering degree elsewhere and then apply to that university. If you are going to prepare for it, why not get the benefits of an organised education (and almost getting a degree) from elsewhere. And if you fail, hey, you can keep up with your original degree.

You can do that, however

  • Entrance exams require some specific training. If you are busy studying something else you can actually become less efficient on that kind of material.
  • The normal age to pass the entrance exam is after 2 years of “classes préparatoires” (the equivalent of the first 2 years of university). People who try the next year get a penalty.

My (hastily concocted) plan was foiled! :slight_smile:
It does seem like quite a gamble though to invest two years on something that is so unlikely. Since the students are getting a very high quality education while getting prepared, wouldn’t it be nicer if there was a process like this:

  • If you pass the exams, you get into Ecole Centrale-Supelec
  • If you fail the exam, but you did well, you can apply to get admitted to the fifth semester of other universities.
  • If you fail the exam, but you did average, you can apply to get admitted to the third semester of other universities.

That would offset the risk a bit and it would make more smart young students to take the plunge and try for it … this way it might attract more brilliant people that might otherwise shy away from such a risk for non-academic reasons (e.g. monetary)

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That’s the way it is since decades. If you want to be in one of these schools you follow a specific way with specific (and said quite boring too) things to study to succeed in one of the entrance competitive examinations. From memory there are a bit of equivalence in case of complete failure, given for normal university year(s) although it’s not that granted because preparing these exams is very specific (so uni don’t think it’s appropriate)

The foiled plan you thought exist in crafts/art with first ecole Boule and then ENSAD (ecole art decoratif - Paris).

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In France, there are many engineering schools: Polytechnique (+ENS), Centrale-Supelec, Mines-Ponts, etc. At the end of second year “university”, students apply for most of those schools. There is a week of written exams for Polytechnique+ENS, another exam week for a group of schools including Centrale-Supelec, another exam week for a group of schools including Mines-Ponts and another exam week for another group of less renowned schools (CCINP).
Those who succeed are allow to proceed to the next stage: oral examinations. Again one week for a group of schools, another for another group, etc.
So students pass at most 4 sets of exams, but may get a rank for dozens of different schools. And then during the summer they make their choice. Roughly speaking they indicate on a website that they prefer school A, but if they don’t get A they prefer B, etc.
So in general the best students get the best schools, but almost everyone is admitted somewhere. A few of them choose to decline and try again the next year because they hope they can enter a better school. For instance those who only get a school in the group CCINP may want to try again in order to get Centrale-Supelec.


Just to make things clear, those 2 years are called math sup/math spe and take place in high schools, not in the uni.

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You don’t prepare for it by yourself, you join a preparation school (classes préparatoires) after high school, which is a very organized and intensive education. Although you’re right it does not deliver a degree.

There is a number of engineering schools, some of them sharing the same exam. If you’re good, chances are you’ll get into one or another after the preparation school ; it may not be the one you wanted, but you’ll not be empty-handed.

Alternatively there’s also an equivalence with university (as if you spent two years there).


I didn’t say that in order not to spread confusion. These “classes préparatoires” are physically located inside the buidings of a high school, but they are for 18-21 year old students who have finished high school and the curriculum is roughly the same as the first 2 years of university. The only difference is that teachers are full-time teachers, they normally don’t do research.

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Sure, I didn’t mean that. I just point that uni and “big” schools system are quite separated in France.

I may disagree on this, mostly because the aim is not the same at all.
In this aspect I think that this is not true:

Full equivalence for same lap of time isn’t that automatic as i wrote before (what you get and if you get may vary with each uni) for the same reason.

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Yes, equivalence is not automatic. After 2 years of classes préparatoires you can apply to enter 2nd or 3rd year university, and you get accepted according to your academic results. See here for instance: Réorientation des cumulatifs - CPGE | Sorbonne Université| Sciences & Ingénierie


I’d like explanation on Question 2. The point is to show there is always a winner and never a draw on a 19x19 goban, but in the absence of komi I don’t think that’s true?