UAE: EmSAT exam to help students with low grades join university


Abu Dhabi - Students can take the test more than once until they achieve the required grades without repeating a year of high school


Ismail Sebugwaawo

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Published: Tue 12 Oct 2021, 3:06 PM

Public high school students in the UAE, who were unable to join universities or other higher education institutions due to low grades, can join the university without repeating a year of high school.

Instead, they are required to take the Emirates Standardised Test (EmSAT) in specific subjects, including Arabic, mathematics and English, to improve their scores and then join the university, according to the Commission for Academic Accreditation at the Ministry of Education (MoE).

The EmSAT is a national system of standardised computer-based tests, based on UAE national standards. These online tests measure grade 12 students’ skills and knowledge as they complete their general education and move to their higher education. They provide decision-makers with data for college admission and placement.

Dr Muhammad Yousef Baniyas, higher education adviser and director of the Academic Accreditation Commission at the Ministry of Education, told Emaratalyoum newspaper that a number of students who previously graduated from high school obtained low grades, ranging between 50 to 60 per cent.

They were required to repeat the final exams and get the required results of more than 70 per cent if they wanted to join universities in the country.

He added that the repetition procedure, however, had several drawbacks. In particular, it carries a heavy financial burden on the student, their family and the educational institution, and requires the student to exert more physical and psychological effort in repeating high school.

Baniyas said: "The application of EmSAT was introduced as a condition for admission to give these students the opportunity to enrol in university, by taking tests in three subjects in a flexible manner, instead of repeating a whole year in high school."


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He pointed out that sitting the EmSAT tests is according to the conditions required for the specialisation or programme each student wants to pursue at the university

“For example, if a student wants to join the Faculty of Commerce, and his or her average grades don’t meet the requirements of the university or college, they will not repeat high school classes,” Baniyas said.

“Instead, they will take EmSAT in Mathematics, English and Arabic, in order to get the required grades in these subjects to purse this major.”

Baniyas stressed that the student has the right to take the EmSAT test more than once to achieve the required grades, without the need to repeat the high school.

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