No wonder there is a brisk business in folklore remedies. "A couple of glasses of champagne each week" is my favorite one; something in the bubbles encourages retention in certain areas of the brain. This tip is most likely popularized by Veuve Cliquot.
You'd think that France would have built up a huge ancillary industry around the Bac. I've watched what has happened to college admissions in the U.S.A. over the years and am astounded at the enormous amount of service providers ready to take your money, having replaced (more likely supplanted) college guidance counselors and good, old parental support. From "Educational Consultants" to "Application Coaches", these "experts" recognize a market that can be easily convinced to outsource what was, in my day, work traditionally undertaken by all college-bound high school students. Sure, it was tough to sort out where you wanted to spend your next four years, but reading over the (hard copy!) catalogues and typing up your personal statements contributed to the natural excitement inherent in playing a part in your own destiny. How sad for the family that thinks their child is not capable of doing this himself.
So for now, French parents continue to rely on the "sweat of your brow" approach to test preparation, with just a little help from Arctic Root and Gingko Biloba. As the parent of a child heading into her Baccalauréat exams next month, you can be sure I'm stocking up.