ÖSS or Ögrenci Seçme Sınavı ( _en. Student Selection Exam) is the University Entrance Exam in Turkey administered by ÖSYM. In Turkey, the only way to enter a university is through this exam. 1,510,000 high school graduates took the exam in 2006. It is a multiple choice exam (5 options).


ÖSS was first applied in the late 1960s. Before that year, each university selected its students via some criteria. However, with the increasing number of youth and the overloaded applications, the universities gathered and founded "Yüksekögretim Kurulu", the Higher Education Council, and a subdivision named ÖSYM, "Student Selection and Placement Center". The name of the exam was decided to be ÖSS, Student Selection Exam. In 1974, the format of the exam was changed. In 1980, another big change took place: the number of the exams were increased to two, namely the ÖSS and ÖYS. If a student did not achieve the specified grade in ÖSS, he did not have the right to enter ÖYS, and thus, lost his chance to be accepted to a university. This system continued until 1999, the date when ÖYS was dropped and only ÖSS was left, with the same format and same questions.

ÖSS and ÖYS Between 1980-1999

ÖSS consisted of questions about the ninth grade curriculum, and ÖYS was a test on the tenth and eleventh grade curriculum. ÖSS eliminated the students on the basis of the grade they had received in the exam, and ÖYS placed the students to the universities they wanted. However, the system changed in 1999 when ÖYS was abolished and only ÖSS was conducted.

ÖSS Between 1999-2005

ÖSS was a 180 minute exam with 180 questions testing the students' knowledge of the high school curriculum. Each student solved the questions concerning their department chosen at high school, namely applied sciences, social sciences, and foreign languages.

The foreign language exam, YDS, was conducted a week after ÖSS. It was composed of foreign languages questions in English, French, and German. Like in ÖSS, each student solved the questions of the foreign language department they had chosen at high school.

The maximum score that a student could attain at ÖSS was 380, 300 being the student's achievement on the test score, and 80 being the student's high school core based on his GPA, graduation rank, and his school's success at ÖSS.

If a student selected a department at college related to his studies at high school, namely applied sciences, social sciences, and foreign languages, the score was multiplied with 0,8. If a student preferred to study at a department different from his high school concentration, his score was calculated with 0,3.

The New ÖSS (2006-)

Students who took ÖSS in 2006 had seen some major changes. The exam is now similar to the ÖSS-ÖYS system in terms of topics. The exam lasts now 195 minutes, and has two parts: ÖSS 1 and ÖSS 2.

ÖSS 1 has 120 questions on the ninth and tenth grade curriculum. There are 30 Turkish, 30 Math 1, 30 Science 1, 30 Social Sciences 1 questions. Each student has to answer every question regardless of his/her department.

ÖSS 2 is composed of 120 questions out of which students have to answer 60. Students at the social sciences department have to answer the social sciences-2 and literature-social test questions. Students at the applied sciences departments have to answer the applied sciences-2 and mathematics-2 questions. The students at the foreign languages departments have to answer the whole ÖSS 1 and foreign language questions; which are tested separately in another exam named YDS-foreign language exam. The Turkish-Math students must answer the literature-social and mathematics-2 questions.

Dates for ÖSS

The exam is conducted in the middle of June, the foreign languages exam being held one week after ÖSS. Results are announced in July and the students have the chance to make their university preferences until the first week of August. The entrances made according to the scores of the students at the exam are announced at the end of August.

Criticism of ÖSS

"Life = 180 minutes?" This is a slogan used by TED (Türkiye Eğitim Derneği) in 2005 in order to criticize the ÖSS system. The ÖSS system attempts to encompass all the work of a student throughout his or her 12 years of academic life in a 3 hour multiple choice exam. This is arguably unfair; however, the ÖSYM president states that "ÖSS is the only available university entrance system until the number of people who apply to universities is lowered."

The most significant reason why ÖSS is being conducted instead of personal interviews is the fact that the total capacity of universities is 450.000 while the number of candidates wanting to study at a college is 1.6 million and is increasing every year.

Surprisingly enough, for a student, school is not enough to succeed in ÖSS; other education centers named "dershane" are founded all around Turkey. In these foundations, students are prepared solely for ÖSS. All "dershane"s compete with each other in order to create the "champion" of ÖSS; the one to score the highest mark in Turkey. Many parents and students (and even the Turkish Minister of Education) oppose this system, but it seems that there will be no changes made in ÖSS until there is a decrease in the number of students applying to the exam, which seems very improbable for the future.

External links

* [http://www.osym.gov.tr ÖSYM]
* [http://www.yok.gov.tr YÖK]
* [http://idak.gop.edu.tr/sabany/oss.htm Mathematics questions in the previous ÖSS and ÖYS exams]
* [http://www.tercihsuzgeci.com Student Portal for ÖSS]

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