Description of Tests

Here are basic descripitions of the tests in the Finnish Matriciulation Examination. You can find more precise information on test-specific regulations and guidelines in Finnish here (under Koekohtaiset määräykset ja ohjeet): Määräykset ja ohjeet

Mother tongue

The exam in mother tongue and literature is organized in Finnish, Swedish, and in three Sami languages. A candidate whose mother tongue is not Finnish, Swedish or Sami, or who uses sign language as first language, can replace the mother tongue and literature test with the test of Finnish or Swedish as a second language.

The exam for Finnish and Swedish languages and literature is divided into two parts: a reading comprehension test and a writing skills test. The Sami language exams only include the writing skills test.

The evaluation of the reading comprehension test of Finnish or Swedish exam emphasizes skills such as understanding of texts, analysis and interpretation, as well as critical and cultural literacy, i.e. the ability to dissect, interpret, evaluate, and utilize complex texts while being aware of their purposes, expressions, and contexts. Tasks may include analyzing the meanings, structures, expressions, themes, reception, context, and relationships of texts provided as sources.

The exam has two parts. Part I focuses on informational and media texts, while Part II focuses on literary and other fictional texts. Each part has two tasks available, and the student must choose one task from each part, resulting in a total of two tasks for the reading comprehension test. Part I emphasizes analytical and critical reading skills. Part II tasks for literary and other fictional texts may involve analyzing and interpreting texts and their expressions, comparing texts, interpreting them from a specific perspective, or considering them in relation to their time or genre context. Part II emphasizes skills in interpreting texts.

The writing skills test evaluates the student's ability to express themselves in writing, as well as their ability to articulate thoughts and manage complex topics. The task is to produce a reflective or opinionated text using the provided sources. The exam has a broad theme related to Finnish language and literature or to the comprehensive skills in the high school curriculum, along with 5–7 topics related to the theme. The student chooses one topic, specifies or narrows their perspective, and writes a text using related source materials.

The exam provides 6–8 source materials related to the theme, such as informational, media, and fictional texts in various forms. The student chooses the most suitable sources for their topic and perspective and must use at least two sources in their text. The recommended length for the text is approximately 6,000 characters without spaces, although this is not a strict requirement.


The tests in the second national language (Swedish or Finnish) are arranged at advanced syllabus level and intermediate syllabus level. The foreign language tests in English, French, German, Russian and Spanish are arranged at advanced syllabus level and basic syllabus level. In addition, tests at basic syllabus level are arranged in Italian, Inari Sami, North Sami, Skolt Sami, Latin and Portuguese. The test in Latin is also organised at extended basic syllabus level which is not equivalent to the advanced syllabus level of the other foreign languages. Starting in autumn 2025, only the test at basic level will be organised.

In most languages the test consists of two parts, the listening comprehension test and the test of written comprehension and production, in which candidates will answer on the same day, during the same test period.

The tests in Inari Sami, North Sami, Skolt Sami, Latin and Portuguese do not include a listening comprehension test.

The test of written comprehension and production consists of three parts. Test items can be, for example, multiple-choice questions, cloze tests, open questions, summaries, and translation or description assignments. In tests of advanced syllabus level candidates also write an assignment of 7001,100 characters (in the English and Finnish tests 7001,300 characters). In tests of intermediate and basic syllabus level candidates write one shorter assignment (160240 characters) and one longer assignment (300450 characters).

Humanities and natural sciences

Each subject in the field of humanities and natural sciences has its own test in the Matriculation Examination. Every examination period has two separate test days for the tests in humanities and natural sciences. On the first test day, candidates may take a test in psychology, philosophy, history, physics, or biology. On the second test day they may take a test in Evangelical Lutheran religion, Orthodox religion, ethics, social studies, chemistry, geography, or health education. The candidate can only sit one test a day, so they can take a maximum of two tests during one examination period. The maximum time for sitting a test is six hours.

The number of questions in a test depends on the subject. In physics, chemistry and biology, the candidate answers a maximum of seven questions out of eleven. In the rest of the subjects, the candidate answers a maximum of five questions out of nine.

In the digital tests in humanities and natural sciences, the maximum score is 120 points. The digital tests feature different modules that may include several questions and vary in type and complexity. Some questions may be compulsory. Test items may be traditional essay questions, multiple-choice questions, drawing assignments, data analyses, and combinations of these. Test items can also feature more diverse background material than in traditional paper tests. Questions may include text, pictures, videos, audio recordings, maps, animations and statistics. The maximum score for a test item will vary between 15 and 30 points.


The mathematics test is arranged at two different levels of difficulty; the advanced syllabus and the basic syllabus. The candidate may choose which level test to take, regardless of their studies at the upper secondary school.

The tests have 813 questions of which the candidate must complete 610 depending on the total amount of questions. Each question scores a maximum of twelve points. From autumn 2024 onwards, the test at basic syllabus level will also have some questions that score a maximum of 18 points. 

The tests have two parts: Part A and Part B. Part B is furthermore divided into two parts: Part B1 and Part B2. Both tests feature separate task booklets for Part A and Part B. Calculator may be used as aid in Part B but not in Part A.

At the beginning of the test, the candidate is given task booklets for both Part A and Part B. When the candidate returns the Part A booklet at the latest three hours after the start of the test, they are given a calculator. In Part B, the candidate is allowed to use any scientific calculator, graphing calculator or symbolic calculator that does not have a data transfer feature. The candidate may also consult a digital book of tables in both parts of the test.