Wednesday, June 3, 2009

It’s in the bag(rut)

Back in this post, I provided a list of some bagruyot (Israeli high school matriculation exams) basics.

As promised, here’s a glossary of those terms:

  • Matkonet – מתכונת – Literally, standard or measure. This refers to the pretest given by the teacher in advance of the actual bagrut.

  • Ezrachut – אזרחות – Civics. One of the basic, required subjects. (And also one of the least popular…)

  • Hagashah – הגשה – Literally, submission. The term refers to the grade given by the teacher. In theory, the hagashah is based on the aforementioned matkonet, but most teachers take other factors into consideration. Note that the final bagrut grade is the average of the hagashah and the score the student receives on the bagrut. (Therefore, this is sometimes referred to as the tziyun magen – ציון מגן – literally, “protective mark”. However, there are times when the hagashah can actually hurt the student.)

  • Megamah – מגמה – Course of study or “major”. Depending on the school, students must choose a megamah by the end of 9th or 10th grade.

  • Feezikah – פיזיקה - Physics. This is generally considered to be one of the hardest megamot.

  • On-seenאנסין – Literally, “unseen”. On both the English and Gemara bagruyot, the students are required to analyze text which they’ve never seen before. (Heblish speakers may be surprised to learn that this is NOT an English term…)

  • Mikud – מיקוד – Literally, concentration. A few weeks (months?) before each bagrut, the Education Ministry announces which specific topics will appear on the exam.

  • Lashon – לשון – Language arts or grammar. Another one of the required subjects.

  • Yechidot – Literally, units. Most Heblish speakers call them “points”, but those of us who attended college in the States tend to think of them as “credits”. Students take a different number of yechidot in different subjects. For example, in general, one takes five yechidot in one’s megamah.

  • Machshevetמחשבת – Jewish thought. For students attending yeshiva high schools and ulpanot (girls’ religious high schools), this is a required subject.

  • Machsheivim – מחשבים – Computers. Like feezikah above, this is considered to be a ri’ali (ריאלי – literally, realistic – i.e. practical, technological or science-based) megamah.

  • ‘G’ – The English bagrut is divided into several individual tests. “G” refers to one of the harder tests.

  • Eretz – ארץ – The official name of this (non-ri’ali) megamah is Limudei Eretz Yisrael – לימודי ארץ ישראל – Land of Israel Studies.

  • Mo’ed bet – ‘מועד ב – A makeup exam date. This is offered for English and math.

  • Efess-chamesh05 – The math bagrut is also divided into different tests. “05” is one of them.


    Now excuse me while I sit back and wait for some of my younger readers to pounce on all the mistakes, errors, and omissions…



    !בהצלחה לכל הנבחנים


    1. You can add "Toshba" as well, though I would think it should really be "ToshbaP"

      (Onseen is still my favorite :-)

    2. That's a lesson for me. Fascinating!

    3. Jameel -
      Toshba - תושב"ע - an acronym for Torah Sh'Be'al Peh (literally, the Oral Torah) is a good one.

      But I agree with you. Nothing beats "on-seen"! The craziest part is that even our kids' Dovrei Anglit teachers call it an "unseen"...

    4. Ilana-Davita - The entire system is very different from the one I experienced growing up in the States.

    5. Thanks for tutorial. . . I am not looking forward to the whole bagrut experience, and I'm the mommy, not the student!

    6. Rachel - I hope these definitions help you somewhat. And on a related note, are you aware that new olim get "hakalot" - certain benefits, such as more time to take the tests and extra points added to their scores? I'm not sure how one goes about getting these benefits, however. Maybe the school's yo'etzet (guidance counselor) would know?
      (Hat tip to Jameel, who reminded me about hakalot.)

    7. I think my neighbor must have done "Feezikah." She's now a prof at Princeton U., teaching privileged kids physics. What a smart women she is (and a really nice person, too!).

      I find it interesting that they use the term "ri’ali." I remember in college trying to be convinced that my liberal arts major was actually useful in the job market. Ha! Then again, all the computer science courses I took weren't all that useful, either. I learned much more on the job. Or now, via the web.

    8. Leora - I learned much more on the job./
      I imagine this is true for most people. In fact, in my current career, I really don't use either my undergraduate or my graduate degree...

      Shabbat Shalom!


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