Entrance exam

Materials for the entrance exam

Reading materials for the entrance exam will be available online. The texts will be made public in the spring 2012 at Valintakokeiden aineistot (materials for the entrance exam).

The web page Valintakokeiden aineistot (materials for the entrance exam) will contain the texts to be read in preparation for the entrance exam. The texts illustrate and highlight the central themes and areas of research in the study of English. The texts are written in English.

Preparing for the entrance exam

Prepare for the entrance exam by familiarizing yourself with the reading materials so that based on the texts, you will be able to produce different types of short pieces of writing in which you present and discuss the variety of views, arguments, and research findings in the reading materials.

The contents, aims, and assessment of the entrance exam

The exam consists of two to three different kinds of writing tasks, in which you will be asked to write short texts (of 200-350 words in length) in English.

The aim of the exam is to test your ability to handle the information provided in the reading materials, and to apply this information according to the instructions given with the tasks. In order to be considered you have to get 50 % in every written task.The assessment of the written tasks will be based on

1. content - the accuracy and relevance of the points you choose to include;

2. language - the grammatical accuracy, fluency and clarity of your writing; and

3. structure and organisation - the logical presentation of your argument and overall coherence.

Sample tasks

Below you will see instructions for two different written tasks, and the assessment criteria for the tasks.

Sample Task 1: an essay

Discuss the main points put forward by Joan Smith in her research article entitled “Language learning and teaching”.  Write 350 – 400 words.

In your essay, which must be based on the article and should be between 350 and 400 words long, discuss the main points raised by Smith.

It is a good idea to plan your essay carefully before writing it. Also make sure that the points you want to make are well grounded and support them with examples or other evidence.

Please note that in Anglo-American cultures 'essay' is not the same type of text as the Finnish ‘essee’. Instead, it corresponds to the kind of composition based on written materials (‘aineistokirjoitelma’) that is used in the Finnish matriculation examination.

More specifically, an essay, for the purposes of this test, is not a free flow of ideas but a structured piece of writing solidly based on the text that has been provided. This means that your own discussion, whether showing agreement or disagreement with ideas expressed in the article, or adding new dimensions or information to its content, should be developed by explicit reference to it. In other words, it is important to relate your ideas to those in the article; neither a string of ideas unrelated to the article nor a mere summary of its contents will be enough. Try to develop your response to the question in a logical and organized way.

In the evaluation of your essay, particular attention will be paid to:

  • your explicit use of and reference to the required reading materials
  • the logical presentation of relevant information
  • your capacity to take into account different points of view
  • the structure and organization of your essay
  • grammatical accuracy, clarity of expression and fluency

NOTE: Always read the question carefully and identify what you are required to write about.  An essay is never an invitation to write whatever you like around the subject, but is always focused in some way.


Sample Task 2: a summary

Write a summary of 200-250 words of the magazine article entitled “Global English” written by John Brown.

In your summary you should present the main points of the original article briefly and logically, using your own words, so that the most important points are included but without too much detail.  No discussion of the article is called for in a summary, and your own views are not required: this is entirely a question of giving a clear and concise overview of what the original writer has written.

It is a good idea to plan your summary carefully before writing it.  You should introduce your summary with explicit reference to the article that you are summarizing.

In the evaluation of your summary, particular attention will be paid to:

  • your ability to correctly identify and present the central points and the overall purpose of the original text
  • the clarity and accuracy of the summary
  • the fluency of your own text

NOTE:  In this sample summary you are asked to summarize the magazine article as a whole.  You may alternatively be asked to summarize one particular section or topic in the original article.  It is important that in your answer you respond specifically to the task you are set.