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Widespread rise in averages in the 2nd phase of Portugal's national exams

January 03, 2023

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The averages of the 2nd phase of the national secondary education exams had a general increase compared to last year. Of the 23 subjects in which tests were carried out, there was an improvement in the grades in 18. Among the 5 subjects in which the results deteriorated, only two (History A and History of Culture and Arts) have a relevant number of applicants. In the most competitive tests, the rise in grades was particularly significant in Physics and Chemistry A (taken by 7402 students), whose average increased from 8.8 to 10.4 values. This increase of 1.6 values ​​was the second highest in this 2nd phase of examinations. Only Mathematics B had a more significant improvement in performance compared to last year – an average increase of 2.5 values, settling at 10.4 in 2022.

In Portuguese, a test taken by 10,998 students, the average rose by 1 to 12.2, while in Biology and Geology (10,983 tests) the grade for the 2nd phase increased from 9.9 to 10.3. The improvement in Economy was more modest (2,493 tests): only 0.4 values, leaving 12.0.

The Mathematics grade is the lowest of the five most competitive subjects in the 2nd phase of the exams, but it also has an increase compared to the previous year, going from negative ground (9.2) to positive (9.8).

Other significant increases were recorded in the Draw A tests (1.2 more points, to 13.8) and Geography A (11.2, one more value than last year).

Descent into History and Languages

Compared to the previous year, the averages dropped in five disciplines, but only two have a relevant number of enrollments: History A (10.7 values ​​less 0.9 than a year ago) and History of Culture and Arts (down from 12 .5 to 11.8). The remaining descents are in language exams in which the number of applicants varies between 12 and 40. According to data released this Friday by the Ministry of Education, only one subject had a negative average at this stage of national secondary education tests: Mathematics Applied to Social Sciences (9.4 points). In the 1st phase, whose results were known just over two weeks ago, something similar had happened, with the grades falling below 9.5 in Mathematics B and Portuguese as a non-native language, a test that is taken by few students . However, the results worsened in 19 of the 24 subjects in which the test was carried out.

The 2nd phase of the national final exams took place, between the 21st and 27th of July, in 661 schools. In the last two years, due to changes in school calendars caused by the pandemic, the 2nd phase of the tests had only taken place in September. 55,055 tests were held – initially, 59,726 students were enrolled – 7,389 fewer than in the same phase last year. As a rule, students who received their results this Friday will only be able to apply for the 2nd phase of the national competition for access to higher education, which starts on 12 September. However, as in the previous two years, the Government allows students who have been sick, with covid-19 or another illness that prevented them from taking the test on the scheduled date, to use the results of the 2nd phase of exams still in the 1st st phase of higher education applications, which runs until next Monday. So far, 50,520 students have applied, a number that is in line with that recorded in the previous two years and is above what was usual before the pandemic. Students have a total of 53,640 places at their disposal in higher education, spread over more than 1100 courses, 37 of which are new. This is the highest number of vacancies ever, largely thanks to the financing of the Recovery and Resilience Plan and the opening of new higher education courses. The application is made exclusively online, on the platform of the Directorate-General for Higher Education and the placement results will be known on September 11th.


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