Unlike many countries where students face rigorous exams from an early age, Finnish students do not write formal exams until after nine years of schooling
This first exam is known as the “Finnish National Matriculation Examination” or “Ylioppilastutkinto” in Finnish. Students take this exam in the spring of their final year of upper secondary school, usually at the age of 18 or 19. The examination assesses their knowledge and skills in various subjects and plays a significant role in determining their eligibility for higher education.
So far, this delayed exam policy in Finland allows students to explore various subjects without the pressure of exams. Finnish schools create an environment where curiosity and intellectual growth are nurtured. This approach helps in developing well-rounded individuals who are not solely defined by their exam scores but rather by their knowledge, skills, and enthusiasm for learning.
It has also been discovered that delayed exams reduces stress and anxiety among students. In many countries, the pressure to perform well in exams from a young age can lead to burnout and mental health issues. Finnish students, on the other hand, have the opportunity to develop a strong foundation in their subjects without the constant fear of exams looming over them.
These students are motivated by their personal interests and curiosity rather than external rewards or punishments. This intrinsic motivation leads to a genuine desire to learn and explore subjects, enhancing the overall learning experience.
Even the Finnish teachers who have been rigorously trained have the flexibility to tailor their teaching methods to cater to individual students’ needs and this system has been highly successful over the years.