At 8:30 this morning, 250,000 students all over Italy opened the exams that will decide if they are intellectually mature enough to attend university.
The "esami di maturità" is the final exit exam given to every Italian student at the end of upper secondary school. The test consists of four parts: general written essay, a written test specific to the subject of study (could be math, or a foreign language, or latin, etc), a written test about all subject matters studied during the year and, finally, "l'esame orale" which is a kind of interview.
Today, students throughout the country are currently completing the first exam which requires pupils to write a short essay or a newspaper style article, or analyze a short text.
This year, students opened their exams to find the poem Lucca by Giuseppe Ungaretti ready for analysis and comments. Andy Warhol was also included in the test, and students were asked to link a historic text to the modern age of facebook and twitter.
The "esami di maturità" is notoriously stressful. Students must stay for at least three hours after the exam has begun, and turn in all electronic devices, but they are allowed a dictionary. The test must be passed with a score of at least 60/100 in order for students to be eligible to attend university.
To the hundreds of thousands of students completing the test this year, we say “in bocca al lupo!” or good luck in Italian.