A competitive examination is an examination where candidates are ranked according to their grades. If the examination is open for n positions, then the first n candidates in ranks pass, the others are rejected.
They are used as entrance examinations for university and college admissions or to secondary schools. Another types are civil service examinations, required for positions in the public sector; the U.S. Foreign Service Exam, and the United Nations Competitive Examination.
France is the country that surely uses the most competitive examinations. Some education professionals[according to whom?] tend to say that the "Concours Général" (not mandatory, as the Baccalauréat is) in the last year of High School (Lycée) is the most difficult to take worldwide with only 250 places in all subjects for 15,000 applicants (there is a failure rate of 98,3%). There are also an entrance competitive examination in order to enter medicine studies: (1 preparation year, 10 mandatory years after competitive exam, failure rate of 85%); "grandes écoles" of engineering (2 preparation years, 4 mandatory years after competitive exam, failure rate of approx. 50%), and "grandes écoles" of business (2 preparation years, 3 mandatory years after competitive exam, failure rate of approx. 25%). In France, the fact of having succeeded in one competitive exam is highly recognized by the society, and shows you are part of the national elite.
- http://eduscol.education.fr/cid49775/organisation-du-concours-general-des-lycees.html#lien0. Missing or empty