Croatia: Državna matura / Svjedodžba o državnoj maturi

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Education context

Elementary education (ISCED Levels 1 and 2) is compulsory for all children and lasts eight years from age 6/7 to 15.

After completing elementary education, students have the opportunity to continue their education in secondary schools (ISCED Level 3), which is not mandatory.

There are three types of secondary education programmes (ISCED Level 3):

  1. Gymnasium programmes (general education programmes lasting four years that end with državna matura - state graduation exam)
  2. Vocational programmes (vocational education programmes lasting one to five years, depending on the end qualifications. Qualify students for the labour market and end with the final exam organised and conducted by the school)
  3. Art programmes (art, music and dance programmes lasting four years, which end with the final exam prepared and conducted by the school).

Svjedodžba o državnoj mari is a secondary school-leaving certificate received by students in general education programmes (gymnasiums), upon passing the mandatory state graduation exam (državna matura) at the end of the final year of schooling.

Students within vocational and art education programmes lasting for at least four years can also take the state graduation exam (državna matura) if they wish to continue their education at institutions of higher education.

Curricula and qualifications are determined by the Ministry of Science, Education and Sports.


The state graduation exam (državna matura) consists of the compulsory and optional part:

  • Compulsory exams are taken in the following core subjects: Croatian language, mathematics and a foreign language. Students attending classes in a language and script of national minorities must, in addition to the Croatian language exam, take an exam in the national minority language in which they are educated, whilst the third exam they choose is either mathematics or a foreign language.
  • Optional exams can be taken in a maximum of six subjects from the list of optional subjects stated below.

Exams in the compulsory part can be taken at two levels: A-higher and B-basic level. Exams in foreign languages in the optional part are taken exclusively at the higher level.

Exam results are evaluated for admission to higher education institutions.

Compulsory subjects:

  • Croatian language (and Serbian, Hungarian, Italian or Czech for minorities)
  • Foreign language (English, German, Italian, Spanish or French) or Classical language (Latin or Ancient Greek for classical students)
  • Mathematics

Optional subjects:

  • Biology
  • Chemistry
  • Physics
  • Geography
  • History
  • Politics
  • Psychology
  • Sociology
  • Philosophy
  • Logics
  • Ethics
  • Religious studies
  • Computer science
  • Visual arts
  • Music
  • Latin or ancient Greek

Considered to be broadly comparable to UK Level 3 qualifications.

Acceptable as a group qualification satisfying general HE entrance requirements.

For further information on the qualification level you may wish to refer to UK NARIC, which is the UK body responsible for providing comparability of overseas qualifications.


Exam results are expressed as numerical grades 1 – 5, with 5 being excellent, and 1 being fail:

  • 5 – excellent
  • 4 – very good
  • 3 – good
  • 2 – sufficient
  • 1 – fail

The državna matura (state graduation exam) is conducted by taking several written exams, which are equal for all students, and taken at the same time, under the same conditions for everybody.

The Croatian language exam has two parts: literature written exam and an essay.

A foreign language exam consists of three tests: a reading comprehension and writing test, and a listening comprehension test.

All other exams consist of only one part.

The državna matura (state graduation exam) is organised and conducted by the National Centre for External Evaluation of Education, an independent public institution under the supervision of the Ministry of Science, Education and Sports.

Contribution of assessment components to overall grade

For each exam within a state graduation exam (državna matura) each student receives a separate grade. Students are allowed to retake examinations they have failed.

Further enrolment into university programmes is conducted via internet. Lists of students with the right to enrolment are processed by the central computer for each university based on the results of the exams. The grades gained in the exams are converted into points for enrolment. Each university sets its own criteria of valuing these exams.

Guided/notional learning hours notes

For UK HE admissions purposes, the state graduation exam (državna matura) may be regarded as comparable in programme size with three A levels.

Key issues for UK HE admissions

Some HEPs may set subject requirements in addition to the overall result of državna matura.

Timing of assessments/results for learners

There are two examination periods per year: June and August/September. Exams take place according to a calendar established by the Ministry each year. Results and certificates are usually published three weeks after the examination period.

Qualification dates notes

The state graduation exam (državna matura) was introduced in 2009/2010. Before then the final exams for students at the end of their final year of schooling were organised and conducted by schools.

Reporting and certification information

According to the National Centre for External Evaluation of Education’s annual report 36,041 students took the state graduation exam (državna matura) in 2014/2015.

Progression information/access to HE within home country

The državna matura (state graduation exam) allows access to HE. Students who have completed general education programmes (gymnasiums), and vocational and art programmes (vocational and art schools) lasting at least four years, can take the state graduation exam.

Admission to HE is competitive and based on the results of the state graduation exam (državna matura) and a grade point average (the arithmetic mean of all final grades in all subjects for all years of schooling). In addition, some higher education institutions may require entrance classification exams.

Further information

National Centre for External Evaluation of Education (NCVVO):

Ministry of Science, Education and Sports: