Swedish Schools

Some students have asked me over the years how Swedish schools are so I thought I would write a bit about it.

In Sweden we have 9 years of primary school that is divided into groups of three. Elementary, upper elementary and something like junior high school. During these 9 years everyone studies the same thing. Some of those things are; Math, History, Chemistry, Physics and English.

When you are 16 you can go to a high school that we call gymnasium, this is like a preparation for University and people apply to different programmes and courses. At this point you can study many different things but some things I studied was; International Relations, Psychology, Philosophy, Trade & Economics, Art, and Literature.

There are almost no private schools in Sweden because all schools have to be free by law.

We usually don’t take an entrance examination to enter school, our grades are calculated into a point system and you apply to high school and university with those points. However if you have bad grades or didn’t go to Swedish school there is a national test that you can take to earn the same points and apply with those.

Swedish education is by and large(mostly) formative. This means that there are usually no big final exams or standardized tests.  Performance is measured throughout the year through quizzes, essays, reports and assignments and classroom participation. This makes it less stressful for students at times since they don’t need to worry about a whole week of exams in different subjects. But it also makes it harder for teachers since they have to develop their class over time with different projects and assignments to assess their students knowledge.
When you go to university in Sweden there are a few different schools that you can go to. There are the big universities that are simply just called university. To be called a university the school must cover most of the different fields of academia. For instance they should cover social sciences and natural sciences and art. If most of a school’s courses are in one field, like natural science it is called a college or an institute instead.