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Unified State Exam Tips for Prospective International Students

Unified State Exam Tips for Prospective International Students
© FEFU

Taking a Unified State Exam is one of several options for international applicants to enter a Russian university. This article tells how it can be accomplished.

Russian universities offer quality education in all fields of engineering and technology, natural sciences or humanities. If you have decided to study at a Russian university and chosen your major, it is time to think about entrance exams. To enrol at a prestigious Russian university, international prospective students have to pass rigorous competitive selection.

What the Unified State Exam Is About

The Unified State Exam (EGE) is an obligatory test taken by all Russian school leavers; its results are acknowledged by domestic universities. It is the most difficult way for international applicants to enter Russian universities because the exam is held in Russian so they have to be highly proficient in order to pass it. The Unified State Exam is conducted in 14 subjects (Russian, mathematics, physics, chemistry, biology, history, geography, social science, computer science, foreign languages – English, German, French or Spanish – and literature) in written form except for the examination in a foreign language which includes a spoken assignment.

If you have decided to take the EGE, visit the website of the selected university to see the list of majors and the subject tests they require. You can also consult the list of tests published by the Russian Ministry of Education and Science1. When applying for the EGE, an international prospective student can choose any number of disciplines, but they should bear in mind that the examination in Russian is obligatory for prospective Russian university entrants.

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© FEFU

The EGE score cannot exceed 100 points per each subject. Russian universities decide on the minimal score required for admission to the university; it cannot be lower than the threshold set by the Federal Service for Supervision in Education and Science (Rosobrnadzor). In 2018, the minimum score for Russian was 36, for maths 27 and for computer science 40.

International prospective students can earn up to ten extra points to the EGE score by taking a top place at an international Olympiad held by Russian universities or their associations. These intellectual academic competitions are arranged by Siberian Federal University, ITMO National Research University, Far Eastern Federal University, Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology etc.

Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology offers special online courses Phystech.Academy to schoolchildren in former Soviet republics and beyond to prepare them for enrolment. A foreign applicant earns points upon course completion to be added to the overall EGE score.

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© NSU

Where to take the Unified State Exam 

The examination is held across Russia and in other states according to the universal schedule. The main stage of trials is usually held from May till June. In foreign countries, the examination is taken at specially equipped centres; as a rule they are schools accredited by the Russian government. For example, in China it is the school operating under the aegis of the Russian Embassy. Mongolia has two such centres: the Russian Embassy’s school and the Plekhanov Russian University of Economics branch in Ulaanbaatar. In Moldova, the EGE centres are located at Taras Shevchenko Transnistria State University and Lyceum Svetoch in Chisinau; in Kazakhstan, the EGE venue is Tokhtar Aubakirov Gymnasium.

For information on the EGE venues, contact representatives of the Federal Service for Supervision in Education (Rosobrnadzor) which is responsible for EGE arrangements abroad. The applications for taking the Unified State Exam are submitted from 1 November till 1 February. Documents must forwarded to the organisations accommodating EGE centres. As a rule, they are secondary schools under the Russian Embassies in foreign countries (Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ overseas schools). These schools are listed  on the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs website.

Documents required for taking the Unified State Exam

When registering for the EGE, an international prospective student should submit an application designating the chosen disciplines, their consent to personal data processing, the passport and the secondary education certificate with attached notarised translation into Russian. If the certificate is issued after the date of registration, students can show a statement by the education institution confirming the completion of secondary education programmes (the original and its notarised translation into Russian). Application forms are  available on the Moscow Regional Information Processing Centre website

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© TSU

How to prepare for the Unified State Exam 

To pass the Unified State Exam, a foreign school leaver should have a good command of Russian to understand the assignments and give grammatically correct answers. If you believe that your language level is insufficient, you can take a short intensive course at a Russian university or participate in a summer/winter language school. It is an excellent opportunity to see the university, meet its teachers and experience campus life. You can also brush up your Russian at language courses taught at Russian Culture and Science Centres in more than 50 countries across the world.

While preparing for the Unified State Exam, use the textbooks recommended by the Russian Ministry of Education and Science. You can use the reference material for all EGE disciplines posted on the website of the Federal Institute of Pedagogical Measurement and video consultations on the official EGE portal.

An international prospective student can forward their EGE results to five universities simultaneously, selecting a maximum of three fields of study at each university. To apply to a university, sign into the website and write to the university directly; it’s free.

If you feel you might not cope with the EGE, you can choose another option such as taking part in an international Olympiad whose winners and runners up are entitled to various admission preferences. Also, some universities hold examinations specially for international prospective students. Anyway, the first thing you have to do is to choose the university and send your enquiry. The university staff will advise you on your next steps.


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