Entrance exams for universities will be renewed in 2025 – universities are currently reviewing a draft of the new entrance exam model

Students will soon be able to take one entrance exam and use it to apply to several universities and fields of study. The reform will significantly reduce the number of entrance exams. This will make it possible to adjust the schedule of admissions so that those selected through certificate-based admission do not need to prepare for the entrance exams.

Entrance exams are an important way for universities to select students. The goal of the reform is to define the role of entrance exams alongside certificate-based admissions. While certificate-based admissions measure applicants’ success in matriculation examinations, entrance exams can emphasise not only academic study skills but also generic skills relevant to each field of education, as well as competence related to the field.

– One of the most important objectives of the entrance exam reform is to give applicants a genuine opportunity to apply to several different universities and fields of study. The objective is for the reform to ease the strain on young people by eliminating the need to study for and take part in several exams in the future, says Marja Sutela, Chair of the meetings of vice-rectors for education at Universities Finland UNIFI.

Due to the large number of entrance exams, the current situation requires exams to be held simultaneously and not all results of certificate-based admissions can be published prior to the exams. As a result of the reform, the entrance exams will take place slightly later, each one at its own designated time slot.

– Delaying the schedule of the entrance exams makes it possible for applicants to receive the results of all their certificate-based admissions before the entrance exams, says Marja Sutela.

Entrance exam reform extends cooperation to new fields of education

The draft of the new entrance exam model currently under review at universities would reduce the number of entrance exams from approximately 120 to nine in 2025. The reform applies to the written entrance exams of the degree programmes participating in the second joint application period for higher education institutions in 2025. The reform has no impact on aptitude tests used in teacher education, for example.

According to the draft, each entrance exam has a common section for all applicants. This part of the exam assesses skills and abilities crucial for all educational fields covered in the exam. In addition, some of the exams include sections intended solely for applicants in particular fields, assessing their proficiency in subjects relevant to their chosen field of study. Applicants must complete specific exam sections based on the fields of education they have applied for.

– We will get a taster of the reform in spring 2024, in connection with the ongoing second joint application process for higher education institutions, as new joint entrance exams for universities will be used this year in the fields of social sciences, humanities and health and nursing sciences. However, cooperation in these fields of study will expand significantly in the student admissions of 2025, Marja Sutela continues.

Many fields, such as technology and educational sciences, have decades of experience in conducting extensive joint university entrance exams. These experiences suggest that joint entrance exams work well from the perspective of both applicants and universities.

Background and further steps

In early 2022, Finnish universities launched a student admission development project at the initiative of the UNIFI’s meetings of vice-rectors for education. The first phase of the project was completed in autumn 2023 when universities published a new scoring of certificate-based admissions for 2026.

A draft of the new entrance exam model is open for a round of comments in the Otakantaa.fi service until 25 April. Based on the comments, universities will further develop the new entrance exams in cooperation with the fields of education. 

The vice-rectors for education at UNIFI will introduce their proposal for the new entrance exams at the start of summer. Universities will decide and publish the admission criteria for the degree programmes participating in the second joint application process of spring 2025 in the Studyinfo service by the end of October 2024. This will include more detailed information on the entrance exams.


Tanja Juurus
Project manager
National project for the development of university admissions 2022-2025
Tel. +358 50 311 2583

Marja Sutela
Vice President of Tampere University
Chair of the meetings of vice-rectors for education at Universities Finland UNIFI
Tel. +358 40 721 5204

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