Academic grading in Finland

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This is an article on the grading that is used in Finland. Several systems are in use in different educational institutions in Finland.

Comprehensive school[edit]

The "school grade" system has historically been a scale of 0 to 10, but all grades lower than 4 have been discarded. Thus, it is now divided between 4, the failing grade, and 5–10, the succeeding grades. This is similar to the grading scale used in Romania.

  • 10 (excellent), represents about 5% of the top
  • 9 (very good)
  • 8 (good)
  • 7 (satisfactory), the mode
  • 6 (fair)
  • 5 (passable)
  • 4 (fail)

In individual exams, but not in the final grades, it is also possible to divide the scale further with '½', which represents a half grade, and '+' and '–', which represent one-fourth a grade better or inferior. For example, the order is "9 < 9+ < 9½ < 10– < 10". The grade '10+' can also be awarded for a perfect performance with extra effort by the student.

Upper secondary school[edit]

Upper secondary schools use the same grades for courses and course exams as comprehensive schools do, but the matriculation examination grades are in Latin. The grading system uses bell curve grading.

Matriculation examination grades[1]
Grade Abbr. Points English explanation Literal translation Percentage of participants
laudatur L 7 outstanding lauded (praised) Top 5%
eximia cum laude approbatur E 6 excellent approved with exceptional praise 15%
magna cum laude approbatur M 5 very good approved with great praise 20%
cum laude approbatur C 4 good approved with praise 24%
lubenter approbatur B 3 satisfactory gladly approved 20%
approbatur A 2 pass approved 11%
improbatur I 0 fail/unsatisfactory not approved bottom 5%

The magna cum laude approbatur grade was introduced in 1970 and eximia cum laude approbatur in 1996. Laudatur grades achieved before 1996 are now counted as eximia cum laude approbaturs.

Tertiary education and vocational school[edit]

Universities and vocational institutions use a scale of 0 (fail) and 1-3 (pass), or fail/pass. The professor selects which grading scheme is used; short, compulsory courses typically have pass/fail grades. University of Helsinki utilizes a grading scale from 0 (fail) to 5 (excellent).

There is no standard of any kind for university grading, which makes comparing grades difficult between universities, between departments in universities and even between different professors in departments. In most non-polytechnic universities, however, grade inflation is not an issue and GPAs of over 4.0 are rare.


  1. ^ "The Matriculation Examination". Ylioppilastutkintolautakunta. Retrieved 2009-04-27.