Scholarship Examination

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The Scholarship Examination (also known as the Grade 5 exam) is a highly competitive Sri Lankan examination conducted by the Department of Examinations of the Ministry of Education. It is optional for students to undertake it during the final year of primary school (Grade 5 (usually ages 9–10)). Based on the results of the exam, students could transfer to prominent national schools. The exams are held in three mediums: Sinhala, Tamil and English.


The examinations were introduced by the late Hon. Dr. C.W.W. Kannangara, who took the initiative in establishing free education when he was the Minister of Education. Under this initiative the government established Madhya Maha Vidyalayas (MMV - Central Colleges) that were scattered around the island. The Scholarship Examination was a means for gifted students from villages to move to better schools with government scholarships.

School rankings[edit]

Annually based on demand for individual schools, cut-off marks are set by the Ministry of Education. Schools ranking based on cut off marks for 2013;[1]

Boys Schools
  1. Royal College, Colombo 07 (marks 186)
  2. Dharmaraja College, Kandy (marks 184)
  3. Ananda College, Colombo 10 (marks 183)
  4. Maliyadeva Boy's College, Kurunegala(marks 183)
  5. Nalanda College, Colombo 10 (marks 181)
  6. D. S. Senanayake College, Colombo 07 (marks 180)
  7. Mahinda College, Galle (marks 179)
  8. St.Annes College, Kurunegala (marks 179)
  9. St.Sylvester College, Kandy (marks 176)
  10. Thurstan College, Colombo 07 (marks 175)
  11. St.Aloysius College, Galle (marks 174)
  12. St.Thomas Boys College, Matara (marks 173)
  13. Mahanama College, Colombo 03 (marks 172)
Girls Schools
  1. Vishaka Balika Maha Vidyalaya, Colombo (marks 186)
  2. Mahamaya Balika Maha Vidyalaya, Kandy (marks 183)
  3. Devi Balika Vidyalaya, Colombo (marks 182)
  4. Maliyadeva Girls' College, Kurunegala (marks 182)
  5. Sirimavo Bandaranaike Vidyalaya, Colombo (marks 180)
  6. Southland College, Galle (marks 180)
  7. Holy Family Balika College, Kurunegala (marks 179)
  8. Anula Vidyalaya, Nugegoda (marks 177)
Mix Schools
  1. Dharmapala Vidyalaya, Pannipitiya (marks 174)
  2. Taxila College, Horana (marks 174)
  3. Weerakatiya Vidyalaya, Weerakatiya (marks 174)
  4. Royal College, Wayamba(marks 174)
  5. Seevali Vidyalaya, Rathnapura (marks 174)
  6. Maliyadeva Model School, Kurunegala (marks 172)
  7. Pinnawala Vidyalaya, Rambukkana(marks 172)
  8. Mahinda Rajapaksha Vidyalaya, Homagama(marks 171)
  9. Dharmasoka Vidyalaya, Ambalangoda(marks 171)


In recent years the exam has become extremely competitive, therefore many claim that it puts unnecessary pressure on students at an early age. It has been considered as a "parent's" exam rather than student's. It is necessary to carry out a study on the long term success of the scholars.