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Centria Guide for Thesis and Academic Writing

Guidance for the final thesis writing at Centria

11 MATURITY TEST

Maturity test

In order to graduate with a bachelor’s degree, the student of a university of applied sciences must pass a maturity test. The purpose of the maturity test is to demonstrate the students’ knowledge of their field of study, as well as the students’ proficiency in writing academic texts in English. 

The maturity test is similar to an exam and thus it is taken under supervised conditions. Each student takes the test independently. The students decide together with their thesis instructor whether they will write the text by hand or type. In case the maturity test is written by hand, it should be written on every line of the test paper sheet. The time reserved for the maturity test is three hours (180 min). NB! Finnish citizens studying in an international degree programs must write the maturity test in their language of schooling (Finnish/ Swedish).

The thesis supervisor provides the student with a few (2-4) topics based on the thesis. These topics are given to the student at the actual test occasion, and the student chooses one of them. The required length of the text depends on the nature of the text. If the student decides to write an essay, it should be at least 400 words. However, if the student decides to write an internal release, the required length is 200-300 words. The internal release is written by computer under supervision, following field-specific guidelines.

If the student writes the test using a computer, the computer used must be particularly assigned and appropriately cleared for this purpose by the university of applied sciences. Students are not allowed to use any additional material when writing the maturity test.

The structure of the text and the heading must support the text type and match the contents. For instance, an essay is a critical and reflective text beginning with an introduction and ending with a concluding paragraph. The subject of the maturity test can be, for example, a certain perspective of the thesis topic or a closer examination of one of the sub-areas covered by the thesis.

The student must not assume that the reader is familiar with the bachelor’s thesis in question. The content of the maturity test is assessed by the thesis supervisor and the language and style is assessed by an English language teacher.

The maturity test is assessed as either “passed” or “failed”. In case of a failed test, the student is obliged to get feedback from the language teacher before re-sitting the test.

Requirements for the language and style of a passed maturity test

• The text must be clear and understandable.

• There must be no factual errors in the text.

• The text must have a heading and address the topic stated in the heading. The heading and the contents must match. Subheadings are not to be used.

• The text must be written in academic style and colloquial expressions must not be used.

• The text must be built of well-organized, coherent sentences and it must be divided into paragraphs. The statements presented in the text and the arguments used must be logically combined.

• The sentence structure must be functional, non-fragmented and versatile. The word order in the sentences must be unambiguous.

• The language in the text must be mostly grammatically correct and spelled correctly.

• The text must not include any formulas or pictures.

• If the test is written by hand, the handwriting must be clear and easy to read. The reader must be able to distinguish upper case letters from lower case letters, as well as words boundaries.

Characteristics of a failed maturity test

The maturity test is failed if it has serious errors in contents or if it does not meet the demands of a well-organized, clear and readable factual text. Typically, the test is failed if it includes several of the following characteristics:

- mistakes regarding punctuation, compound words, upper case and lower case letters, numbers and other signs, pronoun reference, subject-verb agreement, genitive case, jargon, word order and spelling

  • the text is not in line with the maturity test assignment
  • the content of the text does not match the heading or the heading is missing
  •  the text is fragmented and it is hard, or impossible, to understand
  • the text has several deviations from the style and register of the chosen text type
  • the text cannot be understood as such, without any background information or material
  • there are problems in sentence structure

HOW TO WRITE AN INTERNAL RELEASE

The internal release of a thesis summarizes the most essential results of the research

The release is a popularized, interesting piece of news about the thesis. When writing the release

the student should think about the meaning of the thesis, highlight his/ her own expertise and try to create

interest in the reader.

 

The structure of the release: the most essential first

The release is structured as a piece of news; the most important information is presented first. The release

must answer these questions:

• Who did? What? Where?

• What were the principal results?

• Who was the work done for?

• What was the background for the work?

• Which method was used?

• How can the research be utilized?

• Where can the reader get further information?

 

Headline

The headline gives the main topic of the text briefly and concisely. The most important result, finding or

achievement should be presented already in the headline. The headline tells what you have done and

makes the reader interested.

 

Introductory paragraph

The most important and strongest point of the release is summarized in the introductory paragraph,

supporting the headline. The introductory paragraph or the lead is only a few sentences long but entices

the reader to read also the rest of the release. In the internal release of a thesis the introductory paragraph

usually presents the objective of the research, the most central result and the benefits of the research.

Having read the introductory paragraph the reader already understands what the thesis is all about.

 

The actual text

The actual text or the body presents the investigated or developed topic more deeply, its details and backgrounds. The internal release is not a summary of the thesis and the whole thesis work does not have to be presented in the text.

Present the most important research results and conclusions concisely. Tell what, whom and how the findings will affect and how they will be used. What was the objective of the work and how was it achieved? Why is this specific topic important right now? The implementation and the method of the thesis are less interesting to the reader of a release; they can be dealt with at the end. Organize the release using subheadings if needed. They make the text easier to scan and keep the reader interested. Remember good paragraph structure.

 

Language

The text of the release must be clear, easily understood and explicit. It must be professional and grammatically correct English. The tone is declarative and news-like. Write fairly short sentences and paragraphs, explain difficult terms and concepts. Only one topic area is dealt with in each paragraph. The scope of the release is 3000 characters (1-2 pages, spaces included).

 

Further information

In the end you should write your contact information so that anyone who is interested can ask for more

information. Mark it as follows:

Further information

First name Last name

Degree Programme

email address

Further reading

Swales, J. & Feak, C. 2012. Academic Writing for Graduate Students. Michigan: Michigan University Press.

Swales, J. & Feak, C. 2000. English in Today’s Research World. Michigan: Michigan University Press.

 

 

Teacher's guide

  • Contact Centria Helpdesk at least one week before the test occasion if the student will write the test using a computer. Centria Helpdesk provides the laptop prepared for this purpose.
  • Get hold of an empty memory stick for the student’s use.
  • Prepare 2-4 maturity test topics.
  • Ensure that the writing of the maturity test is well-supervised.

Student's guide

  • Save your maturity test as a Word document on the computer desktop. Include your own
  • in the file name (Name of the document: Maturity test Last name First name)
  • Use the following settings in the text: The line spacing should be 1.5. The margins at the top and at the bottom of the page should be 2.5 cm. The left-hand margin should be 2 cm and the right-hand margin should be 1.5 cm. If page numbers are necessary, they should be placed in the top right-hand corner.
  • The paragraphs in the text are separated using one empty line. No indentation is used.
  • Check the text for spelling and grammatical correctness.
  • When you are ready with your maturity test, raise your hand to ask the test supervisor for a
  • memory stick. Once you have the stick, please save your text both as:

    1. a Word file

2. a PDF file (“Save As” and “Save as type” PDF)

  • Do not delete the file from the desktop. It serves as a backup in case there is any problem with the memory stick.
  • Please hand in the memory stick to the test supervisor.