Entrance examinations

  • entrance exams are mainly required for Bachelor's level admission
  • polytechnic/UAS Master's may also have entrance exams
  • please check all the entrance exam -related details with the institution you're applying to

An important feature of student selection

It is common practice in Finnish higher education to have entrance examinations, especially on undergraduate entry level. Entrance examinations are as a rule also required of international applicants. Most commonly they are required for Bachelor’s level entry.

Those applying for Master’s programmes offered by the universities are usually selected on the strength of their earlier academic merits and may not need to take actual entrance examinations.

Some exceptions are however possible e.g. in visual arts, drama, or performing arts Master’s degree programmes, and polytechnic/UAS Master's programmes.

In some Master's you may be expected to take the GMAT exam. you can find information on the Master's level entry requirements on the institutions' own Admissions pages.

What are the Finnish entrance exams like?

The entrance exams test your skills in the subjects required for the field of study you're applying to - so for example applicants for Engineering and Nursing will have different entrance exams.

The most common form for an entrance exam is a written test, but when applying to subjects like visual arts, drama, or music, you may need to prepare a portfolio of your work, or you may be invited to an audition.

I need to ask about the entrance exam. What should I do?

Detailed information on the entrance examinations is only available directly from the higher education institutions - so please visit the web pages and contact their Admissions Offices if necessary.

Please prepare well for the entrance examination, following the instructions provided by the Admissions Office of the institution you're applying to. Remember that even if your school certificates are up to the required standards, you may not be granted a study placement if you score less than adequately in your entrance examination. The final student selections can be quite competitive and entrance exams play major role in the selection process.

You should also carefully read the section on visas and FAQ on admissions and exams.

When applying to Polytechnics / UAS:

  • in all questions relating to entrance examinations, please contact the UAS you are applying to.
  • in most cases, the polytechnic/UAS entrance examinations are held in Finland, and those who are invited to the exams must personally travel to Finland to take the test
  • some UAS's may also offer an option of taking the entrance examination abroad. On the FINNIPS network website you can find a list of the countries where the network arranges Bachelor's level entrance examinations. The FINNIPS test locations may vary from one application round to another. Additionally, some individual UAS's may arrange their own entrance exams abroad, 'outside' the FINNIPS network exam locations. Remember however that the UAS's decide independently on whether they offer this option, and where; so if you're uncertain about your entrance exam options, you should contact the Admissions Office of the UAS you're applying to.
  • if the UAS in question offers an option for taking the entrance test on-line (this is not a common option, but some individual programmes *may* offer it as an alternative), then the UAS in question will advise you further.

When applying to Universities:

  • in all questions relating to possible entrance examinations or other required tests (GMAT etc.), please contact the university you are applying to.
  • the Finnish universities -as opposed to polytechnics/UAS's- mainly only offer English-language study programme options on Master's level and beyond. This means you may not need to partake in any entrance exam in Finland; however depending on the Master's programme you may need to do a GMAT exam for example.
  • there are only a few Bachelor's level options available in English at university level, however, and in those programmes entry may be based on other criteria than entrance exams (SAT test scores etc.) You need to check the requirements directly with the admissions office of the Finnish university in question.
  • in case you are required to take an entrance examination, you need to contact the Finnish university you are applying to.

Very important

Succesful completion of the entrance exam, whenever it is required, is an essential part of the student selection process - especially when applying to Bachelor's level programmes at Finnish polytechnics (universities of applied sciences, UAS). However, the following also concerns applicants to other such degree courses that might include entrance examinations.

  • we recommend that, if you require a temporary visa to enter Finland for entrance examination purposes, you check well in advance with the Finnish Embassy in your country whether they award visas to Finland for the purpose of attending entrance exams, and what the requirements and conditions are.
  • if the Finnish embassy in your country informs you that they do not award entrance exam visas to Finland, then you should contact the Finnish higher education institution you're applying to and find out whether they can offer you possible locations for taking the entrance exam abroad - for UAS Bachelor's entry, see also the FINNIPS website at www.finnips.fi.
  • if, after you have carefully checked the above options, the situation is such that the Finnish institution you're applying to requires you to travel to Finland to take the examination BUT the policy of the Finnish Embassy in your home country is that you cannot be awarded a visa to Finland for entrance examination purposes, then please note the following. You might need to reconsider your options, since although prospective students of all nationalities can apply to Finnish higher education institutions (they do not have any "nationality quotas" as such), in practice the "entrance exam visa dilemma" may hinder you from becoming accepted into such programmes that include an entrance exam, since it's not usually possible to become admitted without passing the entrance examination successfully. Remember though that this potential "entrance exam visa" issue mainly only concerns the UAS Bachelor's level programmes. As stated above, the universities' Bachelor's and Master's programmes do not as a rule have the entrance examination requirement. Please refer to the Study programmes database for possible alternatives.
  • NB: in all questions concerning the entrance exam visa policies mentioned above, please contact the Finnish immigration authorities - either the Finnish embassy in your home country or the Ministry for Foreign Affairs for Finland.
  • Please also see the 'FAQ on admissions and exams' section for information on this issue.

Are there any sample exams available?

You should turn to the Admissions Office of the institution you are interested in for detailed information on the entrance exams, possible sample tests, pre-reading material etc. Please note that CIMO/Study in Finland does not have any detailed entrance examination info or sample test material available - you need to turn directly to the institutions for this kind of information.

You'll find the institutions' Admissions pages listed at the section 'Where to study?'.

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