PCE University Spain access exam for students from EU, China, Norway, etc.

If you are a citizen from the European Union or a country with whom Spain has a reciprocity agreement such as China, Norway and Switzerland, you may not need to take the full EBAU exam. You may not even need to take any access exam to enter a public university in Spain. This leaves you more time to focus on learning Spanish with Linguaschools!

Though in order to get access the most popular studies at the best public universities in Spain you may want to consider taking up to 2 PCE exams. Continue reading, and find out.

New to the matter?
Here we explain the difference between the various terms: Selectividad, PAU, EBAU and PCE.
Read how the Spanish University system works

As to the other paperwork: you will not need a student visa if you are from Schengen area. You will need to apply for a NIE, but you can do this once you arrive in Spain.

How to calculate your access grade (nota de acceso)?

You may have read how to apply to a university in Spain for international students. Here we explain that the access grade (nota de acceso) is a number from 5 to 10 based on the average of the grades on the certificate after you have finished secondary school in your home country.

Spain validates your average grade to the Spanish equivalent, in a process called homologación or convalidación. In case of students from EU and other countries mentioned earlier, the validated grade, can be your final grade to access a university in Spain.

How to validate your secondary school degree?

This homologación or convalidación is something all students who have not studied in Spain and want to access a (public) university in Spain have to do. You find the the official information as to how this process works.

Find here the list of countries and corresponding certificates are eligible, and how the validation is calculated exactly.

Sounds too complicated? No worries, if you are taking one of our University Pathway programs in Spain, we help you with this, and all other paperwork, one step at a time.

Why take the PCE University access exams?

Every study has a maximum number of places. If more students apply for a study at a certain university, only the students with the best average grade are granted access to the study of their choice.

Each year, lists are published with the minimum grade you needed to have to enter this studies. The so called cut-off grades. Most popular studies may have a cut-off grade of 8, 9 up to 11, 12 sometimes even above 13. Because 10 is the maximum access grade you can get from homologating your certificate you will find you will not get in to the best or most popular studies.

Taking up to 2 PCE exams, will grant you an extra of 4 points maximum. Each PCE exam grade (from 5 to 10) will normally be multiplicated by 0,2 (the weighing number). You see adding up to 4 points to your access grade will increase your chances to access the studies of your choice.

Example: You want to study ‘Chemistry’ at the UB (University of Barcelona). The cut-off number from 2020 was 9,3. Homologating your average grade gets you a 7,5. You take the PCE exam for Mathematics and the PCE exam for Chemistry. Your grades for both PCE’s are a 7 and an 8. Now your final access is calculated as follows:

7,5 + (0,2 x 7) + (0,2 x 8) = 10,5

Although there are no absolute guarantees, with an access grade of 10,5 you can be pretty sure that you will be granted access to the study of your choice.

What PCE exam should I take?

Each studies has a number of PCE exams that are relevant to this studies and are weighed to the final nota de acceso with a factor 0,1 or 0,2.

The most important PCE exams are in the following subjects: Mathematics, Biology, Physics, Chemistry, Economy and Technical drawing.

Spanish language certificate

Apart from a high nota de accesso, at most universities in Spain, a minimum level (B1 or B2) of Spanish is required to start your studies. This level should be proved by any of the two official tests for the Spanish language: DELE or SIELE. Many of our Spanish schools in Spain are SIELE and/or DELE exam centers.

Some universities may accept the certificate from Linguaschools, an Instituto Cervantes accredited private language school. It is recommended to check first with the university of your choice what the exact requirements are.

Also from a practical point of view, it makes sense to have a high level of Spanish as you will be living and studying in Spain.

Frequently asked questions

When does the academic year start in Spain?
When is the application deadline for Universities in Spain?
How much does it cost to study at a University in Spain for international students?
How long does it take to validate my secondary school certificate?
Is Spain a good country to study for international students?
Do I need to take an entry test to study at a University in Spain?
Do I need to present my documents in Spanish to apply to a University?
Do I need to speak Spanish to study at a university in Spain?
Is it easy to find accommodation in Spain as an international student?

Other relevant articles

The Linguaschools complete and comprehensive guide to Spanish paperwork.

Anything to add? Share your own experience in the comments below!

DISCLAIMER: We have gathered information to our best knowledge, from our experience, using several different (official) sources. Regulations change and interpretations may vary per country or region, but also between public office or staff. No rights can be derived from any of our articles. The content is merely a guide and we recommend you check information with official sources before and during the process.

Linguaschools Spanish courses in Spain
Linguaschools - Learn Spanish and dive into culture