Although graduating seniors often pick the exam in Social Studies as one of the compulsory state examinations, hoping for it to be one of the easiest ones to pass, the results are often not quite as rosy. Although the average marks for the exam are comparatively high – remaining above the 62% mark over the years, achieving high scores for the exam remains difficult for students who lack perspective.
Hella Mõtus, an expert at the National Exam Center noted that "It really is not an easy exam. People think it's easy, because many of the questions ask for personal opinion, but if you don't have one, never mind the facts to back it up, you will not do well on this exam."
Mõtus told the Vikerraadio program "Huvitaja" that the hardest questions often do not require any factual knowledge at all. "You have the Constitution on the table and you can't find the right citation. Or you have all sorts of texts, graphs, diagrams, and you can't read them for information, it's really sad when these sorts of questions make you lose points."
Indrek Riigor, a teacher of history, social studies and philosophy at Nõmme Gümnaasium, a high-school in a Tallinn suburb, noted that the biggest problem is that Estonian students are not interested in news and social events. "Most people take their only social studies class during their senior year of high school, and they come into it saying – Do I have to start watching the news and reading the papers now? – It means their media habits are strongly biased towards music channels and tabloids. Whether it's Estonia or the world, doesn't even matter."