In some private schools in Switzerland, students can opt to take the Fédérale Maturité Suisse, (or “la matu” as it is known colloquially) which qualifies them for entry into any Swiss university or universities overseas. Parents should note that the Maturité Cantonale taken in the Canton de Vaud state schools may not be accepted by universities outside of Switzerland.
It is a very broad and totally exam based qualification which takes 4 years of study. The subjects are divided into two categories, the first of which is taken at the end of Grade 12 and includes 3 humanities, 3 sciences and an arts subject. The second category includes 3 languages (2 Swiss languages plus English), Maths and 2 other options depending on the school - these subjects are assessed in both written and oral exams.
These final exams are taken in August (so no summer holiday as students are expected to revise) and since students receive their results immediately after the oral exams they can enter the Swiss university of their choice at the end of September. However, the results are usually too late for entry into UK and US universities and a gap year is needed. Subjects are graded 1 to 6 points with 6 being the highest. A student must obtain 115 points or more (with an average of 5) to obtain the Maturité.