Average state exam scores not enough to qualify for University of Tartu ({{commentsTotal}})

Students from three high schools taking the Estonian language state exam. May 2018.
Students from three high schools taking the Estonian language state exam. May 2018. Source: Siim Lõvi/ERR

This year, the nationwide average Estonian language exam score was 62.2 points, while the national average for the narrow mathematics exam was 37.4 points and the average for extensive mathematics was 55.6 points. These scores, however, are not high enough to qualify an applicant for acceptance at the University of Tartu.

Admissions opened just ahead of the Midsummer holidays in many higher education institutions in Estonia, but admissions criteria differ from school to school. For example, Tuuli Kaldma, head of admissions at the University of Tartu (TÜ), explained that depending on the major, admissions may require an academic exam, an entrance exam and/or state exam results. And exam scores, she added, have to be good.

According to Kaldma, students applying for med school should have Estonian language and extensive mathemetics state exam scores of at least around 85 points in order to be accepted to the program. "The University of Tartu has generally established an application threshold of 66 points, and so that is the minimum exceeding which we will even allow to apply," she explained, noting that anyone with an aggregate score falling below this would be disqualified.

Tallinn University of Technology (TTÜ) likewise employs an admissions threshold. Particularly significant are extensive mathematics exam scores, the minimum threshold for which is 50 points for most majors, but 55 points for IT programs and 65 for informatics.

TTÜ Vice-Rector for Academic AffairsHendrik Voll said that anyone who failed to do well enough on the needed state exams has the opportunity to retake the exam at TTÜ.

"We offer this opportunity both for mathematics as well as the Estonian language," Voll explained. "Last year we had 88 such high school seniors who scored better on the university' mathematics exam than on their state exam."

Unlike TÜ and TTÜ, however, the Estonian University of Life Sciences (EMÜ) does not use the threshold system in its admissions. According to admissions specialist Eda Aitsen, applications for most majors at EMÜ require that the applicant has taken two state exams — Estonian language and one of the two mathematics exams — and depending on the terms of the competition to a program, it may be specified whether they need narrow or extensive math exam scores.

Another universal requirement across all majors at EMÜ is proof of an applicant's secondary school grade point average.

Admissions at Estonian universities will be open through the beginning of July.

Editor: Aili Vahtla

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