Preparation and admission to Sciences Po : Motivation, application, campus, Big Picture and Century of Excesses

A series of questions about preparing for the Sciences Po exam and admission.



I am currently in my final year of high school and am preparing to take the Sciences Po exam. Paris. I would like to know if you recommend a specific method for writing the cover letter.

Also, what are the chances of being eligible on the basis of the application (good grades, extracurricular activities…)?

Then, is it possible to have a chance to be accepted at the Reims campus without having any diploma, nor having spent two months in an Anglo-Saxon country, for example?

In addition, apart from reading the news in English (the language I want to take the exam in), do you recommend a particular book (I already have a “Big picture” by Jean-Max Thomson)?

And finally, what do you think of the history book “Le siècle des excès” by Touchard?

Thank you in advance for your attention to my request


1. For the cover letter, there is no specific or automatic method. Simply, it is advisable to write the letter according to typographical standards. As far as the content is concerned, we can indicate two fundamental points to develop and work on in the cover letter. On the one hand, your professional project; this is particularly important, and it is an opportunity to show that you already have a career path that interests you, a real goal. On the other hand, your investment; this is not only your investment in past activities, but especially your future investment in the school. Community life is particularly developed at the school, and it is a question of saying how you will be able to take part in the life of the school, what assets you will be able to bring to it, for example, by your person and your commitment.

2. To be eligible on the basis of your application file, you need good grades and academic results, but your cover letter is also very important. The important points of the cover letter were mentioned in point 1, and as for the academic results, it is up to you.

3. This is a more specific procedure; you have every chance of being admitted, as long as you show qualities and motivation. Indeed, stays abroad would enhance your application, but you still have a chance. For more information, it is best to consult the Sciences Po Paris website directly.

4. The Big Picture is one of the most used books for revising English at Sciences Po. You can supplement it with a book dealing specifically with the political organization of Anglo-Saxon countries, but that is good enough. The most important thing is to read English newspapers. All English-language newspapers have websites that are ideal for studying for the exam, which is where you will make the most progress. You can also write down the vocabulary words that you have often encountered and that have blocked you in order to improve each time.

5. Le siècle des excess, edited by Touchard, is an excellent book. It has the advantage of formulating problems, of giving reusable outlines for the competition, and of tackling the entire program. It is particularly well adapted to the Sciences Po exam, and is also well supplied. It is a very good choice. There are other books that have other qualities, like the often quoted Histoire du XXe siècle by Berstein & Milza, but Touchard gives all the keys for the exam. You can also use the free files available on the website of Academics in Politics.

We hope to have answered all your questions,

Have a good day,

The Academics in Politics team

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