Spanish students not all happy with relaxed EBAU exam model

by Lorraine Williamson
student exam model

Students in Spain are entering the most important period for their future this week: the entrance exams for Spanish universities. Also this year the relaxed exam model used during the pandemic is being used again. However, not every student is happy with that format. 

While most regions have scheduled the entrance exams, known as EBAU or Selectividad, between June 6 and 12, there are regions that have started earlier. La Rioja, for example, kicked off this period with tests scheduled for June 1, 2 and 3. Whereas, students from Catalonia and Andalucia are the last; with their final entrance exams scheduled for June 16. This Spanish-language article from lists the dates on which the entrance exams per region in Spain will take place. 

Spain has opted for a different exam model since the pandemic 

The pass results of the exams determine whether the student in question will be admitted to the university and the study program of his/her choice. In order to gain access to the desired study programme, the student must take each subject in one exam with several questions. These are multiple choice questions and questions where students have to explain their answer with a motivation. 

Since the pandemic, there has been a relaxed exam model that will also be maintained this year. Under specific conditions, the student can choose which questions he or she wants to answer and which not. This was chosen because the student was not offered 100% of the teaching material during his study period due to home education due to the pandemic. 

As a result, the number of high marks – between 8.5 and 9.5 – has almost doubled since 2019. Before the pandemic, 7.2% of students achieved these kinds of highs compared to 13.26% in 2021. 

Not all students in Spain happy with relaxed exam model 

Although this situation seems to be beneficial for many, this is not the case for all students. As a result, the requirements of universities have become so high that it is very difficult to be admitted to a public university, according to a student at TVE. “I have to get an incredibly high grade. And it doesn’t help me at all that the exam is easier because many more students get even higher grades.” 

When will EBAU results be announced in Spain? 

The preliminary results of the entrance examinations will be announced before June 30. Admission to the program and university of your choice is calculated with a weighting of 40% of the average mark of the entrance exams and 60% of the final mark of secondary school (bachillerato). 

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