Hungary: Érettségi bizonyítvány

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Country
  • Hungary
Purpose

The Érettségi bizonyítvány examination is taken on completion of secondary education and allows the holder to access higher education (HE). It is awarded to those who successfully complete the maturity examination. Holders may also pursue vocational education and training, or enter the labour market if they studied in a vocational/technical stream.

To go on to higher education (i.e. ISCED 6), learners have to obtain the Érettségi bizonyítvány with examinations in a number of compulsory and elective academic subjects (issued by gimnázium or szakgimnázium). To go on to post-secondary non-tertiary (ISCED 4) and higher vocational education and training (ISCED 5) programmes, students are required to take the school-leaving exam in the professional trade-specific subject that is related to the field of their further vocational training.

Education context

Completion of secondary studies is a prerequisite for taking the secondary school-leaving exam. The content and structure of primary and secondary education are controlled by the National Core Curriculum of 2012 (commonly referred to as NAT 2012) and the CXC Act of 2011 on Public Education. The content-related exam requirements candidates have to meet are based on the national curriculum.

Awarding organisation
  • International
Structure

The Érettségi bizonyítvány is a linear, standalone qualification, similar to the German Abitur, and is a pre-condition for entering higher education and certain paths in VET. Although there is only one qualification awarded to candidates, there are some differences in the exam subjects taken, depending on the type of school they studied at.

In academic upper secondary schools (gimnázium), candidates take only academic subjects as exam subjects (mandatory ones and one freely elected). In secondary vocational schools (szakgimnázium), besides mandatory academic exam subjects, candidates have to take a mandatory professional exam subject (linked to a given trade group) which is not freely elected.

The secondary school leaving exam, both in academic or professional subjects, can be taken at an intermediate and an advanced level, and the level is then indicated in the qualification with respect to the subject. To gain access to HE in Hungary, students only need to pass exams at intermediate level, although it helps individual applications if subjects are taken at advanced level (see ‘Progression information/access to HE within home country’ section).

The qualification is unified, meaning that the examination requirements are the same both in upper secondary schools (gimnázium) and secondary vocational schools (szakgimnázium). The awarded qualification certificate is the same too, however the exam subjects are different in gimnázium and szakgimnázium for reasons explained above.

To obtain the general certificate of secondary education (gimnáziumi érettségi bizonyítvány), one has to successfully complete primary and secondary studies comprising at least 12 grades.

The notion of ‘awarding organisation’ is slightly different in Hungary inasmuch as individual schools issue the certificate linked to the qualification.

Subject areas
  1. Hungarian language & literature
  2. History
  3. Mathematics
  4. Foreign languages
  5. Elected subjects (mandatory to choose) e.g. trade-specific professional subjects in secondary vocational schools, or other taught subjects in upper and secondary school.

For an exhaustive list of electives and mandatory subjects, visit the website of the Educational Authority (in Hungarian only): www.oktatas.hu/kozneveles/erettsegi/erettsegi_vizsgatargyak

Levels

The advanced/intermediate secondary school leaving certificate Érettségi bizonyítvány corresponds to Level 4 of both the European Qualifications Framework (EQF) and the Hungarian Qualifications Framework.

Grading

Oral and written exams are both graded according to the same structure. There is a five-element grading scale with 5 as the best and 1 as the fail mark.

Qualification grade structure

5 (excellent)

4 (good)

3 (average)

2 (pass)

1 (fail)

There is no overall final grade, however there is a final grade for each subject taken. Students taking school-leaving exams are evaluated both by marks awarded and by indicating exam results in percentages. In the case of intermediate level exams, the following percentages/marks can be awarded:

  • 80-100% equals excellent (5)
  • 60-79% equals good (4)
  • 40-59% equals average (3)
  • 25-39% equals pass (2)
  • 0-24% equals fail (1)

Advanced level exams are evaluated differently, as follows:

  • 60-100% equals excellent (5)
  • 47-59% equals good (4)
  • 33-46% equals average (3)
  • 25-32% equals pass (2)
  • 0-24% equals fail (1)

The results in each exam subject have to be indicated in full numbers on a scale:

  • from 1-150, accounting for both oral and written exam results
  • from 1-100, accounting for only written exam results
  • from 1-50, accounting for only oral exam results
Assessment

Oral examinations at intermediate level are assessed locally by an exam board, and written examinations at intermediate level are assessed according to a centrally defined assessment key. Advanced level examinations are assessed fully externally.

For the internal assessment part, there is a centrally defined guide for correcting and assessing written exam papers. The external assessment part, the written examination, lasts for 240 minutes, and is assessed by independent (i.e. external) assessors. The oral examination is evaluated by an exam board consisting of three examiners.

There is no synoptic assessment.

Contribution of assessment components to overall grade

Each assessment component contributes to the overall grading in the following way:

  • Written examination 66%
  • Oral examination 33%
Resit arrangements

Individual units can be retaken in cases where candidates could not finish the exam on time (i.e. exceeded the time limits of the examination) beyond his/her fault. Both written and oral exam units can be re-taken and the number of times one can retake units is not limited.

Although the qualification (Érettségi bizonyítvány) can be attained once, the number of retakes in every subject is not limited. Successful retakes are testified by additional certificates that are only valid when attached to the original qualification document (i.e. Érettségi bizonyítvány). There are no constraints on the number of retakes.

The secondary school leaving exams can be taken twice a year in the official examination periods.

Guided/notional learning hours notes

In Hungary, the total qualification time coincides with the guided learning hours, i.e. the sum of ‘subsidised children’s and students’ weekly activity time’ (See CXC Act of 2011 on Public Education attachment no. 6). This timeframe encompasses the time for instruction, teaching, supervision, etc. There are 361 weekly mandatory learning hours in total encompassing all 12 grades, thus the respective total qualification time is 12,996 hours (from ISCED 1 – ISCED 3). (CXC Act of 2011 on Public Education attachment no. 6 contains a detailed division of weekly guided learning hours.)

The learning hours per school grade/year are as follows:

Grade

Annual learning hours (36 weeks in the academic year)

1.

900 hrs

2.

900 hrs

3.

900 hrs

4.

972 hrs

5.

1,008 hrs

6.

1,008 hrs

7.

1,116 hrs

8.

1,116 hrs

9.

1,260 hrs

10.

1,296 hrs

11.

1,260 hrs

12.

1,260 hrs

Key issues for UK HE admissions

The Érettségi bizonyítvány is awarded upon completion of the secondary education and is the pre-requisite for moving on to higher education. Additionally, students’ admission score to higher education (each institution in higher education sets a minimum limit i.e. a score which applying students should meet in order to get into a programme at a given institution) is based on their results at the secondary school-leaving exam.

Timing of assessments/results for students

Assessment

The assessment takes place at a fixed time, i.e. in the official examination periods. The first exam period for the secondary school-leaving exam is at the end of the academic year, i.e. late May, early June.

The assessment of written exams takes place during and after the written examinations. The oral exams are assessed during the oral examinations.

Candidate results

The results are shared after closing the oral examinations.

Candidates receive their certificates at the official announcement of results after the oral examinations are closed (finished).

Reporting and certification information

Statistical data is published annually on the official website of the Hungarian Educational Authority. The data is available to the public. The currently available data dates back to 2005. The link to the content in PowerPoint format (only in Hungarian) is: www.oktatas.hu/kozneveles/erettsegi/prezentaciok_tanulmanyok.

In 2016, 110,625 people took the secondary school-leaving exam. 69,257 people were awarded the Érettségi bizonyítvány certificate.

Year

People taking school-leaving exam

Certificates awarded

2015

114,360

71,419

2014

116,939

76,111

2013

131,696

76,303

2012

136,250

82,172

The Hungarian Educational Authority publishes data on its official website. The published data is freely available to anyone visiting the website.

In 2017, the number of candidates in secondary vocational schools taking exams in trade-specific professional subjects has also been published on the official website of the Educational Authority.

Progression information/access to HE within home country

In Hungary, the Érettségi bizonyítvány is a pre-condition to enter higher education (both short cycle and bachelor, and unified programmes). The deadline for submitting application forms to higher education institutions is 15 February.

Examinees taking advanced level exams in subjects other than in the field of art, art mediation, and the Physical Trainer Bsc, may obtain additional points for higher education entry (50 per subject, max. 100), if their exam result in the given subject reaches at least 45%. Annex III. of the 423/2012 Government Decree on the application procedure to higher education lists which fields and degree programmes set advanced level school-leaving exams as a recommended HE admissions prerequisite. It also postulates the subjects in which to take the advanced level school-leaving exam.

Further information

As of 1 January 2016, taking part in a voluntary project lasting 50 hours is a pre-condition for the secondary school-leaving exam. This regulation does not apply to those in adult education and with special educational needs exempted by a board.

See 20/2012 EMMI Decree for further details on secondary school-leaving exam regulations.

For further information concerning the national qualifications framework and the Hungarian educational system (including ISCED classification), please consult the 2015 Referencing Report.