Secondary education

General and vocational training

Secondary education

Secondary education in Portugal lasts three years and is compulsory. Children enter this stage aged fifteen (providing they did not have to retake any years at primary school).

Before starting secondary school (escola secundária) pupils will have to decide whether to opt for general or vocational training. General education involves the study of science and technology, social science, social economics, language, literature and visual arts. Vocational training focuses on administration, civil construction, electronics, computing, multimedia, marketing, and sport.

Admission into secondary education

Normally, secondary education is taught at the same institution as 7th and 9th grade of ensino básico. To enter secondary school all you need is your diploma to say you have graduated from primary education.

Assessment process and grading

Students at this level of education are assessed by internal examiners throughout the year via coursework and small exams. At the end of each academic year external examinations are set.

Secondary education is assessed via a marking scheme of 0-20. To pass you will need 10 or above.

  • 10-13 is sufficient
  • 14-15 is good
  • 16-17 is very good
  • 18-20 is excellent

Students will move on into the next year of education if they pass their exams. If not, they will have to retake the year. Once a student passes their secondary education they can go on to apply for higher education.

Further reading

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