Matriculation and school-leaving exams
The matriculation examination is an upper secondary degree that aims to strengthen transversal general competence. To obtain this degree, upper secondary schools organise matriculation examinations twice a year.
Matriculation is a national final exam and passing it provides general eligibility for further studies.
Starting from spring 2022, matriculation includes a minimum of five (5) exams. This applies to examinees who start their exams during spring 2022. Examinees who take part of their exams in autumn 2021 (or spring 2021 and autumn 2021) and the remaining exams in spring 2022, will complete their matriculation in accordance with the current model.
Taking the native language and literature exam will continue to be compulsory for all examinees, and the required other four exams must be chosen from these:
second national language
humanities and natural sciences
As before, at least one exam must be an advanced syllabus exam. Examinees will choose exams from a minimum of three different groups.
In the second national language and foreign language, advanced syllabus means an exam based on a so-called A-level language that is common to everyone and starts in primary school.
Examinees are free to take one or several exams in humanities and natural sciences. You can take a maximum of two different exams in humanities and natural sciences per examination period. The order of the exam days in humanities and natural sciences may vary between examination periods. On the first exam day in humanities and natural sciences, you can take one of the following exams: religion, ethics, social studies, chemistry, geography, or health education. On the second exam day in humanities and natural sciences, you can take one of the following exams: psychology, philosophy, history, physics, or biology.
Studies completed in other educational institutions and ones that are not offered in your own school, can also be added as extra subjects in the matriculation examination.
Matriculations started in autumn 2021 or earlier
Matriculation includes a minimum of four exams, of which native language - or optionally Finnish as a second language - is compulsory to everyone. Students choose three other exams compulsory to their matriculation from the following four exams:
second national language
one foreign language exam
exam in humanities and natural sciences
In addition to the four compulsory exams, students can add one or several additional exams to their matriculation as they see fit.
In the second national language, foreign languages, and mathematics, exams of two different degrees of difficulty are organised. Regardless of their studies in upper secondary school, examinees are free to choose the exam level for themselves. However, examinees must take the more demanding, A-level (advanced syllabus) exam in at least one of the following compulsory exams:
second national language
foreign language, or
Enrolment for the Matriculation Examination
Registration for the matriculation examination is based on Upper Secondary School guidelines. Instructions and schedules can be found on the high schools' own pages.
When taking their matriculation, students must pay qualification fees to the Matriculation Examination Board (MEB). The Ministry of Education and Culture decides the amount of matriculation qualification fees and other fixed fees related to matriculation.
Student-specific matriculation qualification fees comprise the basic fee and separate fees collected for each exam. The school collects the fees that are set for matriculation participation and related exams and accounts the fees to the Matriculation Examination Board.
Students who take a periodicised matriculation examination must pay the basic fee for each examination period during which they take exams. Students who register for matriculation or individual exams are obliged to pay all matriculation-related fees. This payment is not refunded even if the student will not take the exam(s). The basic fee must also be paid when, prior to the start of the examination period, it is discovered that the student does not fulfil the set requirements for participation even if they registered for matriculation.
Expanding compulsory education affects the fees for matriculation examination. Gratuitousness applies mainly to those students who start their upper secondary studies in autumn 2021 or later.
In matriculation examinations, special circumstances comprise, for example, difficulty with reading and writing, foreign origin, illness, injury, or challenging life situations. In these cases, special arrangements can be made for the student’s matriculation examination. The MEB has separate regulations for these. Special arrangements can include, for example, additional time provided for exams, larger font size or display, or a separate smaller space. The matriculation examination certificate does not include notes for difficulty with reading and writing or special arrangements.
It is in the student’s best interest that special arrangements are suggested at the earliest possible stage, well in advance of the student registering for the first exam(s). Before a student or their guardian starts applying for special arrangements from the MEB, it is a good idea to discuss the required arrangements and their implementation with the upper secondary school’s special needs teacher, guidance counsellor, or head teacher.
The MEB decides on the use of special arrangements based on the application submitted by the student or guardian. All applications and statements are created in an electronic service, and the head teacher sends them to the MEB via the electronic service.
The exams are scored by using verbal grades (from highest to lowest):
- laudatur (L)
- eximia cum laude approbatur (E)
- magna cum laude approbatur (M)
- cum laude approbatur (C)
- lubenter approbatur (B)
- approbatur (A)
- improbatur (I)
The school’s teachers conduct preliminary scoring for all matriculation exams. The MEB censors re-evaluate all exams and decide on the scores in compliance with the mutually agreed evaluation criteria in each subject-specific specialist group. The MEB decides on grade distribution after the scoring is completed, and this is done separately for each examination period.
Once all compulsory matriculation exams and upper secondary school courses have been completed and passed, the MEB grants the matriculation certificate. Students also receive a general upper secondary education certificate in addition to the matriculation certificate. The matriculation certificate includes the levels and grades for passed exams - but not additional exams’ failed grades or a mention of any special arrangements. If a student has already received their matriculation certificate and later raises their grade(s) or takes additional exams, the MEB sends a separate certificate for these to be appended to the original certificate.