At the start of the 2021 school year, nearly 1,000 students inaugurated this new scientific preparatory class course focused on IT. And as the year draws to a close, they don’t seem to regret that choice.
In September 2021, a large number of high school students have seized the opportunity to apply for MP2I preparation (mathematics, physics, computer science and engineering). One year after the creation of this new scientific preparatory course, the students are delighted to follow exciting courses, but have had to adapt to a new pace of work.
A strong emphasis on mathematics
Three main subjects enliven the weeks of classes: IT, physics, and above all mathematics. The latter occupy a large place in the timetable of the students (12 hours per week), sometimes to their delight. “I loved most of the math classes this year. Especially group theory. It’s a fairly theoretical chapter that we don’t see at all in high school”, testifies Younes, a student at the Lycée du Parc in Lyon (69).
“The preparation offers us different points of view from those of secondary school on the concepts”, adds Kevin. This student from the Kléber high school in Strasbourg (67) says he “really flourished in mathematics this year”.
Beyond theory, students also follow practical work in physics and computer science to enable them to better assimilate knowledge. “For programming languages, we work on OCaml and C, which I hadn’t seen at all before prep. It takes a short period of adaptation, but everything will be fine if you have a little basics in computer science and that we follow the courses”, intervenes Younes.
Compulsory math specialization, NSI and physics-chemistry recommended
Following the NSI specialty (numerical and computer sciences) in high school is indeed recommended, without being compulsory. Ysée, a student at Lycée Thiers in Marseille (13) got by without: “I had never practiced before. It was quite fun, once the syntax of the two studied languages was learned.”
His memories of math and physics-chemistry specialties were, however, precious. “The expert maths option was very useful because we find all the themes in the first year of preparatory. For physics, the program is partially a continuation of senior year and I think it would have been more difficult to follow without having seen the senior year classes.
Justin, for his part, joined the MP2I preparation at the Janson de Sailly high school in Paris (75) with an NSI specialty in his luggage. “It served me a little, but not that much because, in the end, we start from scratch,” he notes with hindsight. An opinion shared by Younès, who still thinks that the NSI specialty allowed him to “better understand certain notions seen during the year like graph theory.
The Lyonnais had left physics and chemistry aside at the end of the first. “I expected to struggle at the start of the year but it went relatively well, because we take the basics of physics in preparation.“
For this training adapted to scientific profiles, a combination of maths and physics-chemistry or maths and NSI is particularly recommended by establishments.
Very accessible professors in scientific preparation
In addition to busy programs, a scientific preparatory class also requires rigor and hard work. But the teachers remain for the most part rather benevolent and attentive to the students. “They accompany us a lot. We can ask them questions outside of class,” confirms Younes.
“The teaching team is very present and available when we need them. If we have problems, we feel confident enough with them to talk to them about it and they are really very good advice”, adds Justin. “They are there to help us progress and prepare for competitions”continues Kevin.
A working atmosphere appreciated by students
The students interviewed also contest the received idea that competition reigns between students. “We work a lot together, and also in small groups. The atmosphere is great. We are really on a dynamic of mutual aid “, assures Younes. “Many students have formed working groups to practice together, and, on a personal level, contrary to what one might think, I had no problem fitting in as a girl in an almost exclusively male class“, testifies Ysée.
This mutual aid is all the more valuable since, after an adaptation phase, the pace begins to become steady around December. Justin, for example, “quickly felt the gap between high school and prep.” “You can quickly find yourself overwhelmed by classes and homework”confirms Younes, who advises: “With regular work, everyone can get by in MP2I. But you also have to know how to impose a rest period during the week.”
Do not panic, therefore, if you are heading for an MP2I preparation next year. “The courses were sometimes difficult at the beginning of the year but you get used to the pace of work“, reassures Kevin.
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Maths, an intense rhythm and an exciting program: the results of the new MP2I preparation
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