According to statistical data released by the Ministry of Education, there are 151,863 students enrolled to take 246,499 tests in this phase, which only ends on 16 July.
As in the past year, the national exams are once again held with a set of exceptional rules introduced due to the covid-19 pandemic, which are not mandatory for the conclusion of secondary school.
Therefore, the number of students enrolled is, once again, below previous years and almost 60 percent participate exclusively with the objective of applying for higher education.
Biology and Geology is once again the most popular subject, with 42,055 enrolled, followed by Portuguese (40,966), Mathematics A (39,398) and Physics and Chemistry A (38,372).
Contrary to what was decided last year, this year students will be able to take an exam to improve their internal classification, a measure imposed by the majority of the Assembly of the Republic.
Biology and Geology and Physics and Chemistry A are the ones with the highest number of students enrolled for this purpose, with 7,681 and 5,755 enrollments, respectively.
Portuguese and Mathematics A are the most used tests for applying to higher education, with 39,317 and 38,422 enrolled, respectively, with this objective.
In terms of test structure, the Ministry of Education also decided to keep a novelty from last year, in order to mitigate the negative effects of the months when students are in distance learning regime, with the introduction of a second set of questions, optional answer in which the best answer counts.
The measure resulted in a general rise in the average grades, which in the case of some subjects reached three values and, therefore, the Institute for Educational Assessment (IAVE) changed the weight of the scale and there will be more questions that must be answered.
After Portuguese, this is followed by the Physics and Chemistry A test, which takes place on 8 July, at 9:30 am; Mathematics A on 13 July, also at 9:30 am; and Biology and Geology on 15 July at the same hour.
The 1st phase of secondary education exams ends on 16 July, with the Geography A test.
This year, the Covid-19 pandemic forced the postponement of the two phases of the national exams, following the two-week interruption of teaching at the beginning of the year, due to the worsening of the epidemiological situation in Portugal.
Students who are unable to take the exam in this 1st phase because they are infected with SARS-CoV-2 or in prophylactic isolation will only be able to take the exam in September, during the 2nd phase, and still apply for the 1st phase of the national competition for access to higher education.