Assessment of the Examination

The Matriculation Examination Board assesses the tests of all candidates. Teachers in upper secondary schools perform a preliminary assessment before the tests are sent to the Board. The Board’s censors then make the final assessment by reviewing each candidate’s test and scoring it according to criteria that have been decided on by subject sections. After the assessment is done, the Board decides on which scores equal which grade. The relation may differ in every examination period.

Grades and score limits

Starting from spring 2014, the Matriculation Examination Board gradually adopted a new technique for defining score limits. The comparability of grades was improved by using the average of standardised total scores. More information about the method is available in Finnish here (under Suhteellinen arvosanojen määrittäminen ja SYK-menetelmä): Pisterajat.

Before 2014, each examination was first assessed on the basis of several criteria. After this, the candidate-specific total score was placed inside a relative grade framework based on a normal distribution. The primary objective of the relative assessment system was to have properly comparable examinations, but the system also offered a degree of comparability between different subjects because candidates had only little impact on choosing the tests included in the examination.

In the current Matriculation Examination system, only the mother tongue test is compulsory for all. The increased level of options in the examination means that there are tests that are taken by a highly selected group of candidates. If a normal distribution were used as the basis for assessing these tests, the candidates would obtain too low a grade considering their skills. As a result, grades in different subjects, or even in different tests of the same subject, would not be comparable. However, comparability of grades is a prerequisite for being able to use Matriculation Examination grades reliably and fairly in selecting candidates for universities and other institutions of higher education.

In the average of standardised total scores, a distribution is formed of all the participants of two successive examination periods. The participant profile of each test can then be compared to that distribution before deciding on score limits.

In the table below are the grades used in the assessment of tests. The grades are, from highest to lowest, laudatur, eximia cum laude approbatur, magna cum laude approbatur, cum laude approbatur, lubenter approbatur, approbatur and improbatur (failed test).

The table also includes an approximate distribution of grades. However, distribution may vary significantly depending on the test, as score limits are based on the average of standardised total scores.

AbbreviationGradeShare of all grades
LLaudatur5 %
EEximia cum laude approbatur15 %
MMagna cum laude approbatur20 %
CCum laude approbatur24 %
BLubenter approbatur20 %
AApprobatur11 %

In the early stages of the examination, only grades laudatur, cum laude approbatur, approbatur and improbatur were in use. Lubenter approbatur and magna cum laude approbatur were taken into use in 1970, and eximia cum laude approbatur in 1996.


A failed grade in a required test will chiefly prevent the candidate from passing the examination. However, in certain situations it is possible to receive compensation points from other tests and thus pass the Matriculation Examination. The candidate receives compensation points for each passed required test as follows:

laudatur7 points
eximia cum laude approbatur6 points
magna cum laude approbatur5 points
cum laude approbatur4 points
lubenter approbatur3 points
approbatur2 points

Re-assessment by means of a recheck

A candidate who is dissatisfied with their test assessment may request the Matriculation Examination Board to recheck the assessment. If the Board discovers that an error was made in the assessment, the error will be rectified. Rechecking an assessment is subject to charge. If the assessment is discovered erroneous, the charge will be refunded.