At the end of general upper secondary education, students take a school-leaving examination known as the matriculation examination. The matriculation examination serves two purposes. It is a final certificate for students in general upper secondary education that is used to assess whether they have achieved the knowledge and skills specified in the curriculum and attained a level of maturity consistent with the objectives. Completing the matriculation examination also makes it possible to apply for studies in higher education institutions. Institutions of higher education use the results of the matriculation examinations for student admissions.
In the matriculation examination, candidates sit a minimum of five tests, with a mother tongue and literature test being the compulsory test for all candidates.
At the end of general upper secondary education, students take a school-leaving examination known as the matriculation examination. Students who complete the examination have acquired the knowledge and skills specified in the curriculum for general upper secondary education and attained a level of maturity consistent with the objectives of general upper secondary education.
The matriculation examination is organised twice a year and it is completed in Finnish or Swedish based on the language of instruction of the educational institution. Candidates can sit the matriculation examination over the course of a maximum of three successive examination rounds. The examination is organised in educational institutions that provide general upper secondary education.
The tasks in the matriculation examination tests are drawn up so that they comply with the government decree on compulsory and national optional studies in each subject included in the general upper secondary education syllabus intended for young people.
The matriculation examination comprises tests in language and literature in the mother tongue, the second national language, foreign languages, mathematics, natural sciences, and
humanities and sciences.
The examination is in digital form and is taken using a computer.
Successful completion of the matriculation examination provides general eligibility for further studies in institutions of higher education as laid down in the legislation on higher education institutions. Institutions of higher education use the results of the matriculation examinations for student admissions.
Structure of the matriculation examination
Candidates taking the matriculation examination must sit at least five tests in different subjects, including a test in the mother tongue and literature, and at least four tests in the following three subject groups depending on the candidate’s choice:
- a test in mathematics,
- a test in the second national language,
- a foreign language test and
- a test in humanities and science.
The examination must include at least one advanced syllabus test. Besides the five tests, candidates may also take other tests.
Candidates pass the matriculation examination when they have successfully completed the tests referred to in the law as well as the syllabus for general upper secondary education or some other legally regulated qualification or education.
During the course of the examination, candidates have the right to resit three times any tests that were a fail. There are no limitations to the number of times successfully completed tests can be retaken.
Candidates entitled to education free of charge under the Act on Compulsory Education may not be charged fees for participating in the first five tests or for retaking any tests listed above if they failed them. However, a fee for resitting a failed test may be charged if the candidate does not turn up for the test or does not hand in the test or discontinues the test or is guilty of a breach of public order or is caught cheating.
In all other respects, the examinations are subject to a fee.
Matriculation Examination Board
The Matriculation Examination Board, an independent expert body appointed by the Ministry of Education and Culture for a period of three years at a time, is responsible for managing, organising and implementing the matriculation examination.
The members of the Board must be ones who are well informed on general upper secondary education and the subjects referred to in the Act on the Matriculation Examination. The Board may appoint expert members to draw up and grade the tests.
Act on the Matriculation Examination (502/2019)
Government Decree on the Matriculation Examination (612/2019) (in Finnish and Swedish)