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“Finland’s Unique Education System: No Formal Exams Until Nine Years of Schooling”

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By Milcah Tanimu

In Finland, students follow a distinctive educational system that sets them apart from many other countries. Here, formal exams are not encountered until after nine years of schooling, unlike the rigorous exams students face in many other nations from an early age.

Finland’s educational approach delays the introduction of formal exams, allowing students to concentrate on learning, fostering creativity, and nurturing critical thinking skills during their early education years. The primary goal is to instill a love for learning and intellectual growth without the pressures of exams.

Formal exams are not a part of the Finnish education landscape until students complete their basic education, typically after nine years of schooling. The initial significant exam they encounter is the “Finnish National Matriculation Examination,” known as “Ylioppilastutkinto” in Finnish. This exam is taken in the spring of their final year of upper secondary school, generally at the age of 18 or 19. It evaluates their knowledge and skills in various subjects and plays a pivotal role in determining their eligibility for higher education.

This delayed exam policy in Finland encourages students to explore a diverse range of subjects without the constant pressure of exams. Finnish schools create an environment that nurtures curiosity, encourages creativity, and supports intellectual growth. The ultimate aim is to produce well-rounded individuals defined by their knowledge, skills, and a genuine passion for learning, rather than being solely defined by exam scores.

This approach not only alleviates stress and anxiety among students but also cultivates intrinsic motivation. Finnish students are driven by their personal interests and curiosity, rather than external rewards or punishments, fostering a sincere desire to learn and delve into various subjects, enhancing their overall educational experience.

Furthermore, Finnish teachers, rigorously trained, possess the flexibility to tailor their teaching methods to meet the individual needs of students. This holistic and student-centric system has proven highly successful in nurturing a well-rounded and motivated student population in Finland.

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