Language Centre

Maturity exam

Practical advice for writing your maturity exam

1. You have 3.5–4 hours to complete the exam.

2. Write on one topic only.

3. The length of your answer should be about 450–600 words. Written by hand on each line, this equals about one exam paper (i.e. four pages). If the text is considerably shorter than this, the exam is graded as a fail, even if the text were otherwise almost faultless.

4. The essay must have a main heading. You can create an appropriate heading if it is not specified in the assignment (e.g. if you are asked to describe, tell or evaluate something). No subheadings (e.g. Introduction, Theoretical Background, Discussion) are usually needed in a short text like this.

5. The maturity exam consists of an essay-type composition, that is, a reflective expert text. This means that it is not an exam answer, opinion text or humour piece. It is also not a description or report of a research process / written thesis / research plan, for example.

6. Assume that your audience is familiar with the mindset and general terminology of your field but not with the topic in question. The general terminology of your discipline need not be explained.

7. The maturity essay is expected to be a coherent, logical, independent entity. The reader must be able to understand it as such, without having read your thesis.

8. Because the maturity exam is an essay-type paper, it cannot consist principally of lists, figures, formulas, etc.

9. It is usually helpful to draft an outline for the essay first.

10. Please write in clear handwriting – it makes evaluation quicker and easier. To separate the paragraphs clearly, either leave a blank line between each paragraph or begin the paragraphs by indenting the first line. Make a clear distinction between upper- and lowercase letters, and separate words clearly from each other. You need not rewrite a final version of the essay, but it is recommended because it allows you to check and edit your text. It is not necessary to use a ballpoint pen.

11. Students' special needs are considered in maturity exam arrangements. An examinee with, for example, dyslexia can be provided with extra time or the opportunity to supplement the maturity exam orally. If you need special arrangements for completing the maturity exam, please contact your department or subject staff in advance.

12. If you write your maturity exam in a language not native to you (for example Finnish or English as a second language), it will be taken into account in assessing the language of your exam. Your linguistic performance is expected to be at the same level with those who write in their native language, but it will be considered that your linguistic weaknesses can differ from them.


Instructions for examiners of maturity test content

The maturity test is an essay-type exam written in an examination room. Its purpose is for students to demonstrate their proficiency in Finnish or Swedish and the mastery of their field. Students who have completed their primary and secondary education in a language other than Finnish or Swedish can, upon agreement, complete the maturity test in another language. The maturity test can also be taken as an e-exam.

Assigning the maturity essay

In the maturity test, students write an essay. That is why the assignment should be one that actually prompts students to focus on writing an essay. The given topics (titles) should be formulated accordingly. The assignment should NOT be of the following type: "Answer one of the following questions..." This kind of an assignment would make students produce exam answers, and the maturity essay might lack a beginning with background information and a suitable ending, which are required in an essay.

The topics should neither resemble exam questions nor require extensive use of formulas and figures. A long and complex title makes writing more difficult.

The titles must be given in the same language as the maturity test is to be written. If you do not provide an exact title, please remind the student in the assignment that he/she must give the essay a title.

An example of an assignment

Write an essay on one of the following topics:
1) Discuss the significance of XXX as one future option.
2) Discuss the reasoning of NN concerning XXX.
3) Analyse the main results and conclusions of your study, utilising the theoretical framework of your study. Choose your own title.

Submitting the maturity test for language evaluation

The maturity test and form are sent for language evaluation via the University internal mail to the following address: Maturity test language evaluation / Oppio.

The two weeks reserved for language evaluation begin from the date on which the test and the form arrive at the Language Centre.

Urgent maturity tests

In urgent cases, please mark the word 'Urgent' in red on the test envelope or on a post-it note. This ensures that the language examiners will acknowledge the urgency of the maturity test.

Criteria for language evaluation

The language of the maturity test is assessed based on the following criteria:

  • text type and style
  • structure
  • clauses and sentences
  • linguistic form.


Street address:
Seminaarinmäki Campus,
Oppio building

Office hours: Mon-Fri 8-16


Postal address:
University Language Centre
P.O.Box 35
40014 University of Jyväskylä

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