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University entrance exams to be reformed in 2025 – application to several fields of study made easier

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From 2025, universities will have nine national entrance exams, which will allow applicants to apply for a wide range of different subjects and universities. At the same time, the timetable for the entrance exams will be relaxed so that those selected by certificate-based admissions will no longer have to prepare for and take the entrance exams. 

Vice-rectors for education of the Rectors’ Council of Finnish Universities (UNIFI) have submitted a proposal to the universities to decide on a set of entrance exams to be used in university student admissions from 2025 onwards, which would reduce the number of exams from around 120 to nine. University fields of education will decide in their selection criteria whether to use the national entrance exams in their student selection. The selection criteria will be published on Opintopolku.fi by the end of October.

“Many fields of education already have long experience of selecting students through joint entrance exams. Cooperation in selection has been proven to increase educational equality, the accessibility of higher education and regional mobility” says Marja Sutela, Chair of the network of vice-rectors for education at UNIFI.

Reform will allow applicants to apply to more fields of study

The aim of the reform is to reduce the burden on applicants and to give them a genuine opportunity to apply to more different fields of study and universities.

“In the second joint application period in the spring, it will be possible to select six different choices on the application form. In practice, however, it will be impossible for an applicant to prepare for and take up to six different entrance exams. Universities have wanted to address this shortcoming with the reform,” says Tanja Juurus Project Manager of the student admission development project.

With combined entrance exams, more and more applicants can apply for all the courses they want to study in the same exam. In the future, entrance exams will also be organised so that several do not happen at the same time. So far, it has not been possible to avoid the overlapping of exams due to their large number.

The reform applies to the written entrance exams of the degree programmes participating in the second joint application period for higher education institutions in 2025.

Amount of material to be read in advance significantly reduced

The new entrance exams emphasise applicants’ ability to understand and apply the material given in the exam. The amount of separate advance materials will be significantly reduced and will only be published a few days before the exams. This means that applicants will not have to start preparing for the entrance exams before the results of the certificate-based admissions have been published. Knowledge equivalent to the upper secondary school syllabus in certain subjects will continue to be required in entrance exams for those fields of study where this basic knowledge is essential for study.

Each of the nine entrance exams will assess skills and abilities crucial for all educational fields covered in the exam. In addition, some of the exams will include sections intended solely for applicants in particular fields, assessing in particular their proficiency in subjects relevant to their chosen field of study.

Background

In early 2022, Finnish universities launched a student admission development project at the initiative of the UNIFI’s meetings of vice-rectors for education.

The draft of the new set of entrance exams was open for comments from 21 March until 25 April 2024 on Otakantaa.fi. Based on the comments received, the universities considered the draft set of entrance exams to be largely workable. On the basis of the comments and discussions with the fields of education, the necessary changes were made to the entrance exams.

More information about the new national entrance exams will be published on the website yliopistovalinnat.fi and on Opintopolku.fi by the end of October 2024.

Inquiries:

The proposal for the entrance exams model presented by the network of vice-rectors for education at UNIFI can be viewed in the blog discussing the development of student admission (in Finnish)

Tanja Juurus
Project Manager
University student admission development project 2022–2025
tanja.juurus@helsinki.fi
Tel. +358 50 311 2583

Marja Sutela
Vice Rector of Tampere University
Chair of the network of vice rectors for education at UNIFI
Tel. +358 40 721 5204

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