Nearly 150,000 students have registered for the first phase of the secondary school exams.

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Some 21% intend to use the exam to improve their internal ranking, while 6% still need the grade to pass the subject.

Almost 150,000 secondary school students have registered for the first phase of exams, in most cases to enable them to enroll in higher education later, according to data published this Monday by the Ministry of Education.

The first phase of the national exams begins next Monday, and over the course of 10 days, 262,518 papers will be taken by 149,686 students.

The majority of students, many of whom have registered for more than one subject, are taking the exams with the aim of being able to enroll in higher education later (74%), although only just over half say they will enroll.

Some 21% intend to use the exam to improve their internal ranking, while 6% still need the grade to pass the subject.

Of the 66,201 boys and 83,485 girls registered, the overwhelming majority are in the scientific and humanistic streams (86%). These are mainly science and technology students, with 66,740 enrolled (46%), as well as 31,895 students in languages and humanities, 16,886 in socio-economic sciences and 7,878 in fine arts.

As in previous years, biology and geology (44,145), Portuguese (42,451), physics and chemistry A (39,703) and mathematics A (39,683) were the most popular tests.

Portuguese and Mathematics A are the most widely used tests in higher education, with 40,906 and 38,799 respectively registered for this purpose, while Biology & Geology and Physics & Chemistry A have the highest number of students registered to improve their level, with 12,964 and 9,610 respectively registered for this purpose.

The History A exam, which until the pandemic was compulsory for students of languages and humanities, has only 9,270 students registered. Italian has the lowest number of registrations (4), followed by Latin A (7) and non-native Portuguese (12).

In addition to science and humanities students, 8% of registrations come from vocational courses. Specialized art courses, continuing education and equivalency tests each account for 1% of registrations.

The first phase of high school exams begins on June 19, with the Portuguese test at 9:30 am. The final exam takes place on July 3, with History B.

This year, the exceptional rules put in place during the covid-19 pandemic, exempting students from taking an exam to complete their high school studies, are still in force.

Starting next year, the new rules for the conclusion of secondary education will be gradually applied, which resume the compulsory national exams, but with a lower weight in the final average and, with the exception of Portuguese, students can choose the two subjects in which they will take the exam.

At this point, Year 11 students will already be able to choose which exams they wish to take, which will have an impact on the final grading (they will be worth 25%) and only then will the changes in external assessment apply to all secondary school students.

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