How a Dutch Research University lowers its first-year dropout rate with OMPT

A leading Dutch research university needs to evaluate if its International Business Administration (IBA) applicants have the required math proficiency to succeed in this program. This institution receives a high influx of students from diverse backgrounds and nationalities. Therefore, evaluating their level is difficult and time-consuming.

After two years of successfully using OMPT, this university analyzed whether these admission exams help reduce students' dropout rate. In this blog post, we will present their results. Following this institution's request, we have anonymized its name.

What is OMPT-A?

OMPT-A is an online maths admission exam. It is designed for Economics and contains Arithmetic, Algebra, Functions, and Differential Calculus. This test is available in Dutch and English.

Defining the research questions

In September 2021, the second cohort of students with a deficiency in mathematics to be admitted after successfully passing (75% or higher) the OMPT-A exam started studying IBA. The students in this cohort were all affected in some way or another by the COVID-19 pandemic.

While most students were again expected to pass national secondary school exams, the education quality was likely not up to usual standards as online lessons were common in many countries for long periods, and schools were still adapting to the disruptions related to the pandemic. In short, it was again a year with many complicating factors.

In this analysis, this institution zoomed in on students admitted to the IBA program after passing OMPT-A. How many of these students also received positive or negative binding study advice (BSA)? How does this group compare to students who took the IBA mathematics exam in previous years and with the cohort from 2020? How many students received a negative BSA and did not take the OMPT-A exam? Do any specific diploma types stick out?


In the following tables, we can see the results this institution obtained.

Total IBA Cohort 2021
BSA type Number of students % of total cohort
Positive BSA: students can continue to year 2 486 86%
Student dropped out: before 1 Jan 16 3%
Negative BSA: students can’t continue 34 6%
“Hardheid” positive BSA: students can continue to year 2 1 0%
Positive BSA: based on personal circumstances 26 5%
Grand Total Cohort 563 100%

Table 1: IBA cohort BSA data

Students who took the OMPT exam
BSA type Number of students % of total cohort
Positive BSA: students can continue to year 2 91 93%
Student dropped out: before 1 Jan 2 2%
Positive BSA: based on personal circumstances 3 3%
Negative BSA: students can’t continue 2 2%
Grand Total Cohort 98 100%

Table 2: IBA cohort BSA data – students with OMPT result

17.4 % of the applicants who started the IBA program took the OMPT-A mathematics exam.

Students who took OMPT & negative BSA/early dropout
Country of diploma Number of students
Belgium 1
Canada 1
Finland 1
Spain 1
Grand Total 4

Table 3: IBA negative BSA and/or early dropout per country of diploma – students with OMPT result

Of the 4 students who dropped out of IBA before 1st January, 3 had the national diploma of their country of origin. The student from Canada had an IB diploma. 4% of the students who entered IBA with an OMPT-A exam did not complete or will not be allowed to complete the 1st year of the program. This is less than 1% of the total cohort.The following table presents the students who did not take OMPT with negative BSA/early dropout.

Diploma type Number of students % of total (42)
Apolytirion, Greece 1 2%
Baccalauréat Général, France 6 14%
Bang Tot Nghiep Pho Thong Trung Hoc, Viet Nam 1 2%
Brandos Atestatas, Lithuania 1 2%
Diploma de Bacalaureat, Romania 2 5%
Diploma Secundair Onderwijs: Algemeen Secundair Onderwijs (ASO), Belgium 1 2%
European Baccalaureate (EB) 2 5%
General Certificate of Education (GCE) /A-levels, Cyprus 1 2%
International Baccalaureate (IB) 14 33%
Zeugnis der Allgemeinen Hochschulreife (Abitur)/ Reifeprüfungszeugnis , Germany 6 14%
Titulo de Bachiller, Spain 1 2%
VWO 6 14%
Grand total 42 100%

Table 4: IBA negative BSA and/or early dropout per diploma type – students without OMPT result

9% of students who entered the IBA program without taking an OMPT-A mathematics exam (465 students) did not pass the first year of the IBA program.

If we compare the percentage of admitted students that took the new OMPT-A exam and could continue onto the second year of IBA in the 2021 cohort with students who took the IBA math exam in previous years, we see a significant improvement.

In 2015, only 38% of students who took the IBA math exam passed the program's first year.

In 2016, the results were much better, with 68% being allowed to start year 2. In 2017, the last year in which a detailed analysis was performed, only 48% of these students could continue onto the second year of IBA. When we compare the results of the 2021 cohort with those from 2020, the first year this institution started using the OMPT exam, we see even better results. In 2020, 90% of the OMPT-A test takers could continue onto the 2nd year of IBA. In 2021 the percentage improved to 96%.

Figure 1: Comparison of students’ success rates over the years.

If we compare the percentage of students who did not or could not continue to the 2nd year in the 2021 cohort, we see that students who took the math exam performed slightly better than non-test takers.

Figure 2: Comparison of success rates of OMPT-A test-takers and non-test-takers, 2021.


The second year of data for the success rate of OMPT-A test takersafter the first year of IBA is positive. Compared with the success rates of students from earlier cohorts who took the previous math admission exam, the OMPT-A students are significantly more successful once again.

Do you have questions about our math admission exams? Would you like to reduce the dropout rates of your institution?

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