Thousands sit tests for elite Moscow university

It's been a sleepless night for thousands of young people hoping to get a place in one of Russia's most prestigious universities. Almost 8,000 students are taking part in this year's entrance exams for Moscow State University (MSU).

The entrance examination is split into three tests. Every student must take a Russian Language exam and two others, depending on the course they want to study.

It can be something of a lottery, as the University's President chooses the exam papers on the day.

It's the chance of a lifetime for pupils from across the country. Moscow State University is considered by many Russians to be the most prestigious educational institution in the country and the hardest to get into. So, getting a place there means a great deal.  Each year it enrols about 2,000 international students and postgraduates from all over the world.

Viktor Sadovnichy, rector of Moscow State University, said today was very important: “We are setting the future for the students who come here for the next five years. Each year presents a challenge for us. The entrants differ from year to year. So, to some extent, we are nervous, but on the other hand, it's a day of joy since we are meeting a new generation that will stay here for the next five years.”