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 two mediums: Sinhala, and tamil


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]

Boys Schools
  1. Royal College, Colombo 07 (marks 187)
  2. Dharmaraja College, Kandy (marks 186)
  3. Maliyadeva Boy's College, Kurunegala(marks 186)
  4. Ananda College, Colombo 10 (marks 186)
  5. Nalanda College, Colombo 10 (marks 182)
  6. D. S. Senanayake College, Colombo 07 (marks 180)
  7. Mahinda College, Galle (marks 180)
  8. St.Sylvester College, Kandy (marks 180)
  9. Isipathana College, Colombo 05 (marks 178)
  10. Thurstan College, Colombo 03 (marks 176)


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.

This exam is now being used as a tool for Political leaders in Sri Lanka to neglect the development of rural schools