Vestibular Exam in Brazil

The Vestibular (In Portuguese: vestibulo) is a main and common competitive entrance examination used by Brazilian universities for their admission processes. It is one of standardized test taken by students to obtain access into Brazilian Universities Undergraduate degree programme and is organized by FUVEST (Fundacao Universitaria para o Vestibular).

The vestibular exam is conducted from November to January, afore the outset of the school term in the months of February or March. Some Universities conduct the exam every semester.  Students can sit for this exam only once a year.  The exam generally lasts for 3 days, with different fields of study being tested each day. Students are generally tested in following subjects- math, literature, biology, physics, history and the Portuguese language. Students must select their majors while registering for 'Vestibular'. 

As public universities in Brazil do not charge any tuition fee and open slots are not many, there is a severe competition among students appearing for the Vestibular. The Private Universities in Brazil tuition fee is not exposed to the competition among students appearing for the exam. Students with less Vestibular scores are admitted.

Structure of Vestibular

Several Brazilian universities follow the FUVEST-University of Sao Paulo's entry exam format, which is split into 2 phases-

First Phase

This phase comprises of 90 multiple choice questions, including subjects such as  Portuguese Literature and Brazilian Literature; Portuguese Language, History, Math, Geography, Chemistry, Foreign Language, Biology, and Physics. You’re required to mark the answers on an answer card, and the marking is done later by an automated optical reader. Each graduation programme/course has its own minimum score. The student who gets the top and best score move on to the second phase.

Second Phase

This phase includes write-in questions about the same subjects. It goes on for 3 consecutive days-

First Day- includes 10 written questions about the Portuguese language, and a student-written essay on the subject provided by them. 

Second Day- Includes 16 questions about the other subjects from the first phase. These subjects are considered to be in the High School syllabus.

Third day- Also named as 'specific subject’s day', comprises of 12 questions and evaluates the students in the particular field they applied to. 

Evaluation Mechanism

The examination is graded by a panel of professors. The students for each major are then classified in descending order as per the total score achieved in the two phases of the examination. The top scorers for each area of study/subject are accepted in the major and university they wish to study. 
In some universities, the Vestibular comprises of a single phase examination and each subject area is tested. The scores for each area of study are adjusted by weights depending upon the student's choice of major.  

Registration and Fees

You can register for Vestibular at FUVEST  website

The registration fee varies depending upon the university and the subject.

Reduction of Registration Fees

To get the exemption or reduction in the registration fee for the exam, you’re required to prove insufficient financial means. You must present proof on-
  • Education: Documents attesting that you've completed high school or first 2 years of high school at a public school in Brazil, or document confirming that you're  registered in the 3rd year of  high school at a public school in Brazil.
  • Household Income: It should not surpass the standard established by socioeconomic criteria set by SAS / USP, for the current month or for 3 months before.
  • Residence in Brazil
Note: The universities have the autonomy to choose whether or not they want to use the exam, and if they want to, they can also choose the way it is used:
  • As a single phase, with a unified system of selection, electronic and online
  • As the first phase
  • Combined with the university's test (using it to admit only part of its students or as part of the overall grade, along with a Vestibular)
  • As a single phase for the remaining chairs
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