PAU: Spanish University entrance exam (Provisional content)

To gain access to the University:

  • Bachiller students must pass the PAU (also known as “Selectividad”). 
  • Those of Superior Vocational Training Cycles can access directly with their note, but they can raise that note by presenting themselves to the Voluntary Phase of the PAU.

The PAU is structured in two phases, obligatory phase and voluntary phase to raise score. 


Spanish Language, Foreign Language, History of Spain, Co-official Language and one of the 4 core subjects linked to the Bachiller modality which will also be considered in the Voluntary Phase. In order to pass it, a minimum of 4 must be obtained. The grade has indefinite validity.


Any of the core subjects stipulated in the new ordination. The grade obtained will be multiplied by the weighting coefficient (0.1 or 0.2) that each University publishes. In order to pass it, a minimum of 5 must be obtained. The grade is valid for 2 courses.

How to Prepare the exams

PAU are not hard to pass, but if you want to get high marks you should follow these tips:

  • Suggest a grade to reach, then assess your possibilities and your ability to work and effort to achieve it. 
  • Think of the course from the beginning as a preparation for the selectivity.
  • Set specific objectives for each subject and globally.

We recommend that you follow the steps of How to improve my performance? and that you do the Study Techniques Sup Test


  • Study with the intention of understanding and remembering the fundamental ideas beyond the exams.
  • Plan the long-term study. In writing and with a follow-up control.
  • Use a method that enables deep learning.
  • When studying, make outlines and/or summaries that can be used to prepare for the Selectividad.
  • Be careful with the presentation of each exam as if it were already the Selectividad.
  • Structure the answers to the tests in a clear way: starting from an outline or an initial presentation, develop the content of the question and end with a final conclusion or idea.
  • Ask your teachers for help with any questions you may have.
  • Practice text comments, they’re fundamental.
  • Follow the guidelines of How to improve my performance?


  • Take care of the food. It must be balanced and rich in vitamins, minerals, calcium, iron and phosphorus. Avoid very copious meals.
  • Avoid the consumption of coffee and other stimulants. Difficult sleep, concentration in study and memory performance.
  • Avoid problematic use of alcohol, cannabis or other drugs. Neurons notice.
  • Try to be “in good physical shape”. Practice a sport, walk, go for a run, ride a bicycle… It will help you to control anxiety and you will be able to reach the Selectivity in good conditions.
  • Try to have good nightly rest habits. Avoid that the weekends or the preparation of some exams suppose a total imbalance during 3 or 4 days.


  • Think positively. Eliminate negative thoughts (I will suspend…).
  • Uses positive coping instructions before, during, and after intense study situations or tests.
  • Don’t be discouraged if something doesn’t go as well as you’d like.
  • If you are an anxious person, we recommend that you follow the advice of Anxiety about exams or decision making.
  • Trust yourself. Good self-esteem is essential to successfully deal with difficult situations. You’ll find help at Self-esteem.
  • A positive mental attitude is just as important as good physical and academic preparation. 
  • If you think you need professional help in these areas, ask for it.


With the Study Techniques Sup Test you will be able to discover if your study methods are suitable for the PAU challenge. You’ll get a report with the guidance that’s right for you.

How to face exam days

  • Go over a little and get some rest. 
  • Eat balanced, get some exercise and go to sleep soon leaving all the materials and documents prepared.
  • Avoid negative or anxious comments with other classmates.
  • Practice relaxation techniques at bedtime.
  • Repeat the positive coping self-instructions we recommend in Anxiety. They are very helpful: “I’m doing my best”.
  • The first day, make sure someone wakes you up in time. Take everything you need (ID card, registration sheet, pens, calculator, etc.) and if you’re a little nervous, don’t worry: it’s normal. Relax. 
  • Think positive, empower your positive emotions.
  • It will probably be hot (although there may be air conditioning), wear comfortable, cool clothes and consider taking a bottle of water and some fruit-type food or energy bars.
  • Find a safe transportation system.
  • Before starting tests, avoid comments that increase anxiety and focus on being relaxed and focused.
  • In each exercise you have two options, read them with concentration and think about which of them you are most interested in doing. Don’t change your choice.
  • Distribute time according to the difficulty and importance of the questions, leaving a few minutes for final review. “Pass” what others are doing and follow your rhythm, it doesn’t matter if the others have finished or are still writing.
  • When reading the exam, start with the question you know best, it will give you security and confidence. Think about what they ask you, order your ideas, make a mental (or written) outline of what you want to answer and begin to develop it in an orderly manner and with clarity of ideas and form.
  • At the end of an exam, forget it, don’t want to know what others have done or if you did right or wrong. Think that you did the best you could at the time. Dedicate yourself to the next exam. Get some rest, relax and concentrate. Start preparing psychologically for another subject. Think positively.
  • At the end of the day’s exams, take some time to get some exercise, get enough rest for the next day, and don’t stay over for hours the night before. A brief review of the schemes, rest and sleep.
  • Be very careful about eating and resting during the three days of the exam.
  • Do not use alcohol or cannabis.

Decide the best path for your future

If you have doubts about your future, take the Vocational Guidance Test, which analyses the area that best suits your interests and personal characteristics. You will obtain a report with the most suitable orientation for you.