What is the Sesame competition? Accessible schools, tests, preparation

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In the world of higher education, the grandes écoles are known to be very selective, and this for a very precise reason: these institutions offer quality and high level training . Thus, in order to gain access to these courses, candidates almost always have to pass a competitive examination. The Sesame competition is the reference in this field.

In summary:

  • The Sésame competitive entrance exam gives access to training in the major business and management schools
  • ESCE International Business School is accessible via the competitive entrance exam
  • The competition includes written tests, a file evaluation and oral tests
  • Registration for the competition is done on the Parcoursup website and costs 295 euros

What is the Sesame competition?

The Sésame competitive entrance exam is an entrance exam to a major international business and management school. This is common to 14 establishments, includingESCE, which is also a member of the OMNES Education group.

The history

The competition was created in 1992 and at the beginning it involved only 6 programs. At that time, ESCE’s programs were already among those accessible through the competitive examination.

Before the creation of the SESAME association in 1998, the competition was managed by one of the 6 institutions involved.

The year 2015 was the year of major reforms for the Sesame exam. In addition to the integration of new programs, the duration of the competition and its logo have been modified.

Key figures

More than thirty years after its creation, the Sesame competition currently represents :

  • 14 grandes écoles, 8 baccalaureate programs and 9 bac+5 programs ;
  • approximately 900 partner higher education institutions abroad;
  • nearly 6,000 places offered to candidates who pass the tests.

Since its creation, the competition has seen nearly 150,000 candidates, both French and foreign.

Which schools can be accessed through the Sésame competition?

Currently, 14 establishments in France and abroad are accessible through the Sésame competition. These institutions offer a total of 17 study programs at the baccalaureate and bac+5 levels.

Among the grandes écoles accessible through the Sésame competitive examination , which are the most popular is ESCE. It is a Business School specialized in international trade.

The institution is present on different campuses in France and abroad and offers a dozen specializations as well as the famous “grande école” program, accessible in the first year after passing the Sésame exam.

Registration for the Sesame exam costs 295 euros with the possibility of a 50% discount and a refund for scholarship holders. This registration fee is the same regardless of the number of schools/trainings selected.

How does the Sesame exam work?

The principles

The Sesame competition is common to the institutions and programs concerned. In other words, the candidates go through this unique competition , whatever the chosen training .

The tests are held on a single date and without make-up sessions, regardless of the reason.

The written tests

The competition begins with written tests that consist of 4 types of multiple choice questions:

  • 45*2 language questions: duration 2 hours*2 ;
  • 45 reasoning and skills questions: duration 1 hour ;
  • 20 questions of document analysis: duration 2 hours ;
  • 45 questions on contemporary issues: duration 1 hour.

The remote written tests are done through the TestWe software installed on a computer with an Internet connection.

File review

In addition to the written tests, the candidates’ academic record is also studied. The objective is to give a ” file score ” to the to each candidate based on the :

  • 1st and 12th grade grades;
  • grades of the French baccalaureate or the baccalaureate for baccalaureate holders;
  • Assessments of the candidates by their homeroom teacher or the head of their school.

The oral tests

Only candidates who pass the written tests and the file review can access the oral tests. These candidates receive an invitation indicating the date and place of the tests.

In contrast to the written tests, the oral tests vary according to each institution. These last on average about 30 minutes and include:

  • between 0 and 2 interviews in LV1 or LV2;
  • 1 individual interview before a jury.

How to register for the Sésame exam?

Registration for the Sésame competition is compulsory via the Parcoursup website between mid-January and mid-March. Once on the platform, applicants must:

  • create a folder ;
  • find and select schools/training courses accessible through the competition;
  • confirm their wishes (list of schools/training courses ).

A wish corresponds to a Sesame competition.

Preparing for the Sesame exam, tips and tricks

Consult the annals

The Sésame exam annals are easy to find, especially on the Internet, and are accessible free of charge. In particular, they allow candidates to get an idea of the type of questions that may be asked.

Train online

Many sites offer simulators that use more or less the same exam conditions as the Sesame exam. Their goal is to help candidates learn how to better manage their time and approach the questions.

Follow preparation courses

There are several professionals who offer candidates preparation courses for the Sesame exam. In these internships, the candidates learn to manage their time, stress and receive a lot of advice.

Updated 21 April 2023