Maturity Test

The maturity test is a written exam taken in conjunction with writing a bachelor’s and master’s thesis. Its purpose is to demonstrate the student’s command of the subject of the thesis and proficiency in Finnish or Swedish. Depending on the situation, the maturity test can be an essay or a summary of the thesis. When the test is taken in essay form, it is completed as an electronic exam, on the faculty’s general exam day or at another time agreed upon separately, depending on the study programme. The general exam days are listed in the teaching schedule.

This page provides information on the following things related to the maturity test:

Bear in mind that the instructions and practices related to taking the maturity test vary between faculties. More detailed instructions are provided in the curriculum guides.

Purpose of the maturity test

In the maturity test, students demonstrate their familiarity with the field of their theses. In addition to this, students are required to demonstrate their proficiency in Finnish, Swedish or another language through the test. The maturity test is part of the process of writing the thesis, but it is a separate essay independent of the thesis. The test also serves as an indication of language proficiency in the field of the thesis.

Pursuant to sections 10(2) and 16(2) of the Government Decree on University Degrees (only in Finnish), students must complete a maturity test as part of the bachelor’s and master’s degrees:

The student need not demonstrate command of the Finnish or Swedish language in the maturity essay included in the higher university degree if he/she has demonstrated his/her command of the language in a maturity essay included in a lower university degree studied in the same language. (section 16(3)).

Proficiency in Finnish or Swedish demonstrated for a university of applied sciences degree is considered to be equivalent to the language proficiency demonstrated for a bachelor’s degree.

Language of the maturity test

The language of the maturity test is determined by the language in which the student received his/her school education. At the University of Tampere, maturity tests are normally written in Finnish unless the student has been educated in another language. Stipulations on determining the language of the maturity test are laid down in Section 9 of the University of Tampere Regulations on the Assessment of Studies.

The language in which the student has been educated can be either a) Finnish, b) Swedish or c) other than Finnish or Swedish. This language determines the language of the maturity test – native language is irrelevant.

Examples of determining the maturity test language:

  • Finnish Matriculation Examination + matriculation exam with Finnish as the native language: language of education is Finnish, maturity test is written in Finnish
  • Finnish Matriculation Examination + matriculation exam with Finnish as a second language, grade at least magna cum laude: language of education is Finnish, maturity test is written in Finnish
  • Finnish Matriculation Examination + matriculation exam with Finnish as a second language, grade lower than magna cum laude: language of education is other than Finnish or Swedish, maturity test language is determined separately
  • Swedish Matriculation Examination completed in Finland + matriculation exam with Swedish as the native language: language of education is Swedish, maturity test is written in Swedish
  • IB diploma completed in Finland: language of education is other than Finnish or Swedish, maturity test language is determined separately (N.B. Finnish for most students)
  • IB diploma completed in Finland + diploma for completing primary education in Finnish, incl. entry of Finnish studied as the native language: language of education is Finnish, maturity test is written in Finnish
  • Education equivalent to Finnish upper secondary school has been completed abroad: language of education is other than Finnish or Swedish, maturity test language is determined separately
  • Education equivalent to Finnish upper secondary school has been completed abroad + diploma for completing primary education in Finnish, incl. entry of Finnish studied as the native language: language of education is Finnish, maturity test is written in Finnish

Practices and text type of the maturity test

In accordance with Section 29 of the Tampere University Regulations on the Assessment of Studies, a maturity test must be either an essay or a summary of the thesis. The student’s ability to write the maturity essay in the appropriate text type is taken into consideration in the evaluation. When both the content and language of the maturity test are evaluated, the student should write a formal essay based on the thesis. When the maturity essay is written only to show familiarity in the field of the thesis and only the contents of the essay are evaluated, the summary of the thesis is in the main considered as the maturity essay. In those cases the essay is written in the language of education, and in cases when the thesis has been written in another language, in the language of the thesis.

In addition to the cases defined in the relevant decree, the language of the maturity test is evaluated at the University of Tampere when the student has not previously demonstrated his or her language skills by a maturity test. The maturity test may be written as an essay also when the student demonstrates his or her familiarity with the field of study of the thesis. In this case, the maturity test cannot be taken until the thesis has been submitted for evaluation.

When the maturity test is used to demonstrate familiarity with the field of the thesis and proficiency in Finnish, Swedish or another language, the test is written in essay form. Enrolments for the maturity test are submitted electronically or in another reliable manner according to the faculty’s instructions, and the essay is written in a monitored exam or, when possible, taken as an electronic exam. Faculties provide instructions on the assignment description for the maturity exam, the relevant practices (in more detail than in these instructions) and the content assessment criteria.

Assignment description for a maturity essay

The aim of the assignment description is to get the student to write a reflective and formal essay based on his/her thesis, which means that the assignment should not limit the student to answering a single question. Instead, the examinee can be guided towards the desired text type by using the right verbs, such as consider, compare, assess, deduce, define, analyse, specify and so on. The person preparing the assignment can also provide background. It is worthwhile to give the student numbered assignments (2–3). It is also recommended that the assignment contain instructions on how the essay should be titled.

Evaluating the maturity test

In terms of examining the content and language of the maturity test, the schedule specified in Section 29 of the Regulations on the Assessment of Studies must be observed. The teacher receiving the maturity test examines its content. After this, the language is assessed at the Language Centre, if necessary. The language examiner may take into account a possible case of severe or semi-severe dyslexia as long as a statement regarding the issue is delivered directly to the proofreader. The maturity test is assessed on a scale of pass/fail. The author of a failed maturity test will receive feedback and supervision before retaking the test. The author of a maturity test must have the opportunity to get feedback on the test.

Tasks of the content examiner

The teacher reviewing the content of the maturity test makes the decision on passing or failing the content based on the assessment criteria as defined by the faculty.

The teacher who examines the content ensures that the content of the maturity test is sufficient. If the language is also intended to be assessed, the teacher then sends the maturity test, the content of which has been approved, to the office of the Language Centre. The maturity test’s assignment description is also provided (including the topic and title of the maturity test, or a request to the student to provide a title).

Tasks of the language examiner

The language examiner reviews the language of the maturity test. The content and structure are also related to the linguistic content, so a missing introduction or conclusion, for example, can cause the linguistic content of the maturity test to be failed. If the linguistic content of the maturity test is failed, the student must write a new maturity essay on the same topic as before. A retaken maturity exam is delivered directly to the language examiner. The Network of Finnish University Language Centres (FINELC) has published a guideline on the evaluation of the language of a maturity test (only in Finnish), which is available in Finnish.

University of Tampere’s instructions for students writing a maturity test

Approved in the Teaching Council’s meeting on 11 June 2012

The maturity test is a formal essay with a length of approximately one sheet of paper (450–600 words). The essay is based on your thesis, but it is an independent piece of writing.

Choose one of the topics provided. Remember to follow the assignment carefully.

If you are writing by hand, please write in clearly legible handwriting (however, do not use block letters). Leave margins on the sides.

Provide a title and make sure that the content and the title match. In addition, include the number of the assignment or title.

Make sure that the essay is a consistent whole. Structure the text and divide it clearly into paragraphs. Do not use subheadings, graphs or tables.

Address your topic reflectively instead of just listing the things you remember. Pay special attention to the readability and clarity of your text.

Finally, proofread your text.

Note that you must pass both the content and language examination in order to pass the maturity test.