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Education in Israel: "Bagrut" Matriculation Exams

The Bagrut certificate is awarded by the national Ministry of Education to secondary school pupils (grades 10-12) who succeed in achieving passing grades in a required minimum set of examinations, some in required subjects and others in electives.

The Bagrut examinations are utilized to assess the pupils' knowledge on subjects studied in high school. While frequently compared to the New York State Regents' Exams and ETS Advanced Placement (AP) tests, the results of the Bagrut exams have even greater implications for the individual's future.  In Israel, acceptance into elite military units, academic studies, and employment are heavily influenced by receipt of a Bagrut certificate and the Bagrut scores achieved.

The score recorded for the pupil in each of the subjects included in his/her Bagrut certificate is the average of the grade fixed by his/her high school and the grade received on a final examination set and graded by the Ministry of Education.

Subjects are tested a study unit level, ranging from 1 to 5 units.  In general, each unit represents ninety (90) class hours devoted to the field in question.

The list of subjects in which all candidates for the Bagrut must be tested is as follows: 

Minimum Study Unit Level Required
Hebrew Literature
Hebrew Grammar
Hebrew Composition

Pupils may choose to devote more of their program of studies to the above subjects and be tested at a level higher than the minimum required.
In addition to the required core subjects, each candidate for the Bagrut must be tested in one or more elective subjects, determined in keeping with the pupil's interests and the course offerings of the high school in which he/she is enrolled.  Elective subjects are tested at the 3, 4, or 5 unit levels.

Bagrut examination scores are ranked according to the following scale: 

Very Good
Almost Good
Almost Satisfactory
Not Satisfactory
44 and below

In order to be awarded a Bagrut certificate, the candidate must be tested in subjects totaling at least 20 study units – 15 units in the required subjects and at least one elective subject, tested at the 5 unit level. A candidate will not be awarded a Bagrut certificate if he/she:

• has received a grade of 39 or lower in any required subject;
• has received a grade of 44 or lower in either Hebrew Grammar or 

Hebrew Composition;
• has received a grade of 44 or lower in any two required subjects

other than Hebrew Grammar or Composition;
• has not achieved a passing grade of 45 or higher in a 5 unit elective subject.

The Bagrut certificate contains the following information:

• pupil's name and national identification number;
• high school from which the pupil graduated;
• list of subjects, study units, and national-external and high school-internal scores. 

Pupils who intend to undertake academic degree studies at an Israeli university or college after graduating from high school need to prepare themselves to be tested in English at the 4 unit level, and in Mathematics at 4 or 5 unit level. Typically students take at least one elective course at the 5 unit level. Entrance requirements vary depending on the field of study, and certain faculties require more than one course at the 5 unit level.

Sources: United States-Israel Education Foundation