Avoir un exam = To pass an exam

Look at these examples:

Youpi! J'ai eu ma licence!
Yippee! I got my B.A.!

Et toi? - Non, je ne l'ai pas eu.
And you? No, I didn't pass [it].

Mon frère a eu son bac.
My brother passed his A-levels.

-> N.B.  the bac or Baccalauréat is the compulsory exam that French students take at the end of high school, when they're 18, before going on to university for example. This exam, unlike the British A-Levels, includes all the subjects studied up to then. 

In French, to say that you passed an exam (meaning succeeded in it), or that you received/got a degree, you can use the verb avoir and the name of the exam or degree.

See also Passer un exam vs to pass an exam

Learn more about these related French grammar topics

Examples and resources

Youpi! J'ai eu ma licence!
Yippee! I got my B.A.!


Et toi? - Non, je ne l'ai pas eu.
And you? No, I didn't pass [it].


Mon frère a eu son bac.
My brother passed his A-levels.


Q&A Forum 6 questions, 13 answers

JamesC1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

I answered the quiz in accordance with the tutorial, but my answer was incorrect.

"The wording of the tutorial: Youpi! J'ai eu ma licence! Yippee! I got my B.A.! My answer to the question in the quiz: "Annie a eu sa licence." means: Annie's got her licence. (my answer) Annie sat her B.A. (exam) Annie received her B.A. Annie has her B.A. The correct answer is: Annie received her B.A. Please explain my error.
Asked 11 months ago
GruffKwiziq team member
Hi James - sorry you're right, that's not a very well-worded set of answers as 'got' in English is ambiguous. I think the point there was to distinguish between merely 'having' something and earning/winning/passing a test. We'll take a look and improve the question. Thanks for point it out.
AlanC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor
Isn't the point that "licence" would be "permis" in French?
GruffKwiziq team member
Hi Alan - that did occur to me, but since the focus of the lesson is the role of avoir (not vocabulary) I'm still not sure that was a great question the way it was structured - but we'll look at it and decide what to do.
JamesC1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

Thanks . Any chance of getting my - 9,7% reversed?

GruffKwiziq team member

Sorry James, that's technically very hard to do - but it'll soon go (also if you add the lesson to your notebook you can kwiz it quickly)

I answered the quiz in accordance with the tutorial, but my answer was incorrect.

"The wording of the tutorial: Youpi! J'ai eu ma licence! Yippee! I got my B.A.! My answer to the question in the quiz: "Annie a eu sa licence." means: Annie's got her licence. (my answer) Annie sat her B.A. (exam) Annie received her B.A. Annie has her B.A. The correct answer is: Annie received her B.A. Please explain my error.

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DavidC1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

J'ai eu mon exam

In the quiz it was expected that you choose this form as well as the expected J'ai reussi mon exam or J'ai obtenu mon exam. In the lesson it states that you can use J'ai eu with the name of the exam (e.g. bac or licence).

So would a French speaker really use the J'ai eu or J'ai obtenu form with "mon exam"?

It seems unlikely. Rather like in English we would not say "I got my exam" or "I obtained my exam" where, of course, we have no problem with "I got my degree" or "I obtained my dregree"

Asked 1 year ago

J'ai eu mon exam

In the quiz it was expected that you choose this form as well as the expected J'ai reussi mon exam or J'ai obtenu mon exam. In the lesson it states that you can use J'ai eu with the name of the exam (e.g. bac or licence).

So would a French speaker really use the J'ai eu or J'ai obtenu form with "mon exam"?

It seems unlikely. Rather like in English we would not say "I got my exam" or "I obtained my exam" where, of course, we have no problem with "I got my degree" or "I obtained my dregree"

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RichardB2Kwiziq community member

"A levels"?

Asked 2 years ago
RichardB2Kwiziq community member
Simply noting that for many American subscribers, exam questions referring to 'A levels' are confusing as the term has no meaning for US schools. I've lived in worked in the UK, so I do understand the questions - but I do suspect that quiziq's use of British-specific terms makes this wonderful tool a bit more difficult for the many folks to whom I intend to recommend it....
RonC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor
Bonjour Richard, I am an American subscriber and have only heard of «A levels». While this is not the proper forum for an explanation, I would appreciate a useful link to learn more detail of what that entails. I do, at times, find myself doing a double-take when I run across the British-specific terms. Merci en avance.
MichaelC1Kwiziq community member
Non British but as I understand it when you finish school you can do your O-levels (basic education level) and finish or you can do an extra level (A level) which is higher education but still run by the government. In the US there is no equivalent. You finish school and go to college for higher education. France seemingly follows the UK model (or probably vice versa). In my country (South Africa) we follow the US system except for certain schools which for various reasons specifically elect to follow the UK way.

"A levels"?

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MichaelC1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

Si vous échouez, essayez-vous de «passer le buck»?

Asked 2 years ago
GruffKwiziq team member
On peut dire "faire porter le chapeau à [qqn]" (to pass the buck / blame someone) :)

Si vous échouez, essayez-vous de «passer le buck»?

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JenniferC1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

I got my ba vs i received my ba

In the lesson il,a eu so ba is translated as he got his ba but in the quiz as he received his ba. Are they the same. Received seems like an award ceremony but got more like passed?
Asked 2 years ago
AurélieKwiziq team member
Bonjour Jennifer ! Yes, here we mean the same thing, as often passing an exam is equivalent to receiving the corresponding degree in English. "In French, to say that you passed an exam (meaning succeeded in it), or that you received/got a degree, you can use the verb 'avoir' and the name of the exam or degree." I hope that's helpful! Bonne Année !
JenniferC1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor
Bonne Année à vous aussi, and thank you for your reply. Yes it makes sense now
JenniferC1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor
Bonne Année à vous aussi, and thank you for your reply. Yes it makes sense now

I got my ba vs i received my ba

In the lesson il,a eu so ba is translated as he got his ba but in the quiz as he received his ba. Are they the same. Received seems like an award ceremony but got more like passed?

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DoraidaC1Kwiziq community member

In this case: No, I did not pass it is a right answer too?

Et toi? - Non, je ne l'ai pas eu. And you? No, I haven't passed it

Asked 3 years ago
SherilynB2Kwiziq community member
Why when using the verb avoir,  is eu used for it

In this case: No, I did not pass it is a right answer too?

Et toi? - Non, je ne l'ai pas eu. And you? No, I haven't passed it

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