16 mins

ENEM: Subjects to keep a look out for

Teachers list possible topics for essays and give tips for those preparing to sit the university entrance exams. Spoiler: economics might be an important subject
21 de setembro de 2023 em TINO In English

The Exame Nacional do Ensino Médio (Enem, or Secondary School National Exam) is the biggest university entrance exam in Brazil, with over 3.9 million people registered in 2023. The exam is divided into five areas of knowledge, including an essay. The essay can add up to one thousand points to the final grade of those who produce a good dissertation-argumentative text, leveraging their chances of getting into university. For this reason, the topic of the essay, which is revealed only at the time of the exam, is so important.

This year, teachers interviewed by TINO Econômico believe the essay topic may be employment, a topic greatly discussed in recent months, with denunciations of cases of work analogous to slavery in the country. In addition to this, other topics have been mentioned.

More work

For Luiz Carlos Dias, teacher and writing coordinator at Colégio Etapa, a good topic would be the challenges for the promotion of decent work in Brazil. “Promoting work with adequate conditions and guaranteeing rights is an important issue for the country”, he says.

“As a second axis, I would bet on the impact of informal work on the formation of Brazilian youth”. Since 2018, Brazil has had an informality rate that reaches 40%, of these, the data indicates that 48% are aged between 14 and 24”, completes Dias.

Along the same lines, Thiago Braga, author of the Sistema pH, points to the new work models, which many call ‘uberization’, because they have employment relationships with few ties. What are the social and economic impacts of this?

Is now the time for financial education?

According to Braga, Enem usually presents topics related to current government actions or challenges, this is why financial education is a good guess. “We have a federal government project that was developed to help Brazilians who are in debt. One measure to avoid having a problem like this in the next 30 years is to start promoting financial education today”, he believes.

International relations and Sustainability in debate

Danieli Ferreira, a Portuguese language teacher, agrees with the evidence on the above-mentioned topic and makes new bets: “I believe that the importance of international relations to the economy might be a good theme. See the movement of the current government, how much it has already traveled and brought investments and partnerships”, she reflects.

In addition to diplomacy, the teacher highlights conscious consumption and the impact of the environment on the economy. For her, sustainable development is very present in current debates and may appear as a topic, as well as climate change and environmental preservation. “Sustainable and responsible consumption can also appear. My rampant consumption can take a toll on me financially,” she explains.

AI, the current hot topic

There is no denying that artificial intelligence has been gaining ground in debates and in people’s lives around the world. For Ferreira, it is possible that ENEM addresses the changes that the novelty can bring to everyone’s lives, including from a financial point of view. “The topic of the moment is artificial intelligence, how will it impact the job market and the economy itself? How can one think about the perspectives that this can bring? These can be important questions presented in the exam”, concludes Ferreira.

Hunger: an increasingly greater problem

According to a report released by the UN in July 2023, Brazil has 20.1 million people in a situation of severe food insecurity, about 9.9% of the population. For Ferreira, this problem – already known to Brazilians – could become the subject of the essay. “In addition to hunger, I think about food security, because sometimes you eat ultra-processed foods, rich in sodium… This is directly linked to the economy, these foods are cheaper. The healthier it is, the more expensive it is. This relationship can arise and be questioned”, emphasizes the teacher.

Golden Tip

Teachers advise a close look at news on economics. The word “economy” has never been present in an ENEM writing proposal, but that does not mean that it should not appear throughout the dissertation. All themes, to some extent, touch on the economic aspect, it is inevitable; it can be linked to any subject. Students who know how to contextualize any topic, with its economic factors and impacts on society, will stand out.

Prepare yourself!

Preparing for any entrance exam involves following the news daily, reading newspapers, magazines, books and researching possible topics that may arise in the exams. Practicing writing in the required text format is essential and can provide more confidence during the exam.

Ferreira reinforces that the first step is information. “I do daily reading with my students, I give them three to four pieces of news to read every day, to elaborate their arguments”, she adds.

“Candidates need to know about politics, the ministries, the division of powers and how they interfere in society. The exam seeks those citizens who are able to debate about the problems”, reinforces Dias.

Braga, on the other hand, presents a preparatory cycle: “After researching and writing the text, it is important to ask someone qualified to read it and give you feedback on the essay. Repeat the cycle as many times as you need. Once that’s done, you’re ready.”

ENEM is the largest entrance exam in Brazil. Created in 1998, it had 115,575 participants that year. At the time, the test was applied in 184 municipalities and the grade was valid for only two universities.
Celebrating 25 years, the 2023 edition received 3.9 million applications, far from the peak of 8.7 million candidates registered in 2014. Students will take the exams on November 5th and 12th, throughout Brazil, and can use their ENEM scores in more than 50 universities and higher education access programs, such as the Unified Selection System (Sisu), the University for All Program (ProUni) and the Student Financing Fund (Fies).
 Menina com celular. Foto criada por diana.grytsku - br.freepik.com

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