History or law school before Sciences Po?

What is the best university before entering Sciences Po? Law school or history school?

Is law school a better preparation for the competitive exam than history school? For Sciences Po studies?

Which preparatory program should I follow to succeed in the competitive entrance exam? Which preparatory program best prepares you for the competitive exam?

These are the questions asked by a visitor to the website Academics in Politics, which we propose to answer today.

Question: Law or history before Sciences Po? Online prep school?


I am currently in PACES but I would like to take the Sciences Po exams in 2015.

As APB is already closed in May and therefore integrating a pre-prep is no longer possible (unfortunately), I am thinking of doing a degree at the university “while waiting” for the exams.

I wonder which one would prepare me better, a law degree or a history degree.

Knowing that whatever I do, I will take an online preparatory program like Tremplin… (Do you have an opinion on this?)

Thanks in advance for your answer!

Answer from Academics in Politics:


This is a very good question!

What is the best college to study at Sciences Po? The choice is not so easy, and it depends on you. However, we can easily help you decide by presenting you the advantages and disadvantages of each.

Law school:

  • Advantages: This is the school that is closest to the Sciences Po courses you will have, because law school often integrates history courses, especially contemporary history, with law courses. For example, the history of the Fifth Republic, which you will necessarily study at Sciences Po and which could be useful for the competitive exam. Moreover, a law school is perhaps more valued (even if this is less important for the competition, since it is a competition), because it is more difficult, requires a better level, and more work.
  • Disadvantages: Law School requires more work, so maybe less time to study for the concourse, even if it is reasonable. And above all, law school will not help you directly for the concourse, since no test (at least for the 1st year entry, for the 2nd year entry there are specific tests) is about law.

Faculty of History:

  • Advantages: It will help you directly for the concourse, since one test is on history. That said, some history faculties do not study history since 1945 in the 1st year, which is the program of the concourse: the program of the faculties depends on the cities. In any case, you will have acquired a lot of methodological knowledge that will be invaluable no matter what happens at the concourse, and that will only be beneficial to your paper. (The history professors who correct the history paper for the exam are often professors who also teach at the university.) The other advantage is that history school is a little less demanding, you have more time to devote to your revisions, even if once again it is not really the time, of course, that you will miss in the first year of university, rather the time that you decide to devote to working on the courses.
  • Disadvantages: History is a little less valued in general, because it offers fewer opportunities, and is a little less difficult. Strictly for the Sciences Po exam, it does not matter once again, it is in a more general and longer-term vision that it can have an influence for you.

So it depends on your desires: do you want a less demanding university that prepares you better for the exam? Or a college that is a little more demanding, which will certainly help you in your studies at Sciences Po, but which will not help you directly for the entrance exam? It is also a question of feeling: the best college is also the one where you will like it the most! The one where you will invest yourself the most, because you will love your studies, it is important.

As for pre-preparations, the best one for the Sciences Po exam is clearly Tremplin IEP. Because it is made by the IEP, it contains exactly what they are looking for in their exams. After that, there are also “real” prep courses during the vacations, organized by the high schools, for example. They are also good help even if they are a bit more expensive, it is good to have a “real” interlocutor once again.

See also on the same question:

→ What studies to integrate Sciences Po?

→ Which pre-preparatory courses after Sciences Po?

Have a nice day,

The Academics in Politics team


2 thoughts on “History or law school before Sciences Po?

  1. @igban: Hello, here is the answer in the Common Competition Frequently Asked Questions: “I have a 2017 baccalaureate, can I also register for the 2019 common entrance examination? No, the 2019 entrance examination is reserved for baccalaureate holders of the year or the previous year. I have a 2018 baccalaureate but I did not study this year. I have therefore not validated any credits. Can I still register for the Concours Commun? YES, only the year of the baccalaureate is taken into account (bachelors of the year or previous year). No validation of credits is required.”

  2. hello, I am currently in law school (L1) and I would like to know if it is necessary to validate one’s year to attempt the entrance examination for the first year. THANKS

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