UAE: Universities Setting Their Own Admission Requirements Due To Exam Shake-up


As per the declaration made by the Ministry of Education on Thursday, Universities in the UAE will be allowed to set their entry requirements for the students studying at publicly operated schools.

The Emirates Standardised Test, also known as Emsat, will no longer be a requirement for admission to the country’s higher education institutions. 


However, the new rule will be effective at the September start of the next academic year.

Universities that continue to use Emsat will be free to set the minimum score required by the students.

Students applying to universities outside the Emirates are not required to sit for the Emsat test.

Ahmed Al Falasi, Minister of Education, said, ” Universities in the UAE can choose to use Emsat or other tests. The universities can now fix their minimum scores for admission criteria in Emsat.”

He added, “Universities have time until the end of this February to inform the ministry regarding the admission requirements.”

What is Emsat?

The Emsat is a computer-based test prepared to measure independent skills of the curriculum.

It was mandatory for Emiratis in grade 12 in private and public schools, as well as non-Emiratis studying in private schools, which is affiliated with the syllabus of the Ministry of Education.

Why is rest no longer mandatory?

The decision was made after discussions with the universities, students, and parents. 

The minister said, “It is a part of ongoing efforts for developing the national education system. The move followed different consultations with an aim for serving the interests of students and their academic future”.

He also emphasized that Emsat remained an effective tool for measuring the capabilities and skills of prospective university students. 

The debate over the difficulty 

In December 2020, the Federal National Council heard that students with talent in many other subjects found difficulty in Emsat.

She said that many bright young Emiratis were sitting at home and unable to enroll in university because of this exam.

Move is welcomed 

Shamsa Al Taei, who worked in the education sector of the UAE for more than 20 years, said that the Emsat test proved a burden for learners. 

She added that “it was a massive load on the students and universities, and also, it was getting hard to take dates for sitting in the tests.” 

Emsat fees 

The registration fee for grade 12 students is Dh 309 for four subjects, and for other additional tests, the cost is Dh105. 


The report mentioned above clarifies the requirements of the universities. Emsat tests not being considered mandatory are also stated in the above information. 

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