The ENEM Challenge

It is widely accepted that university entrance exams require human-level intelligence to be satisfactorily solved. In particular, such exams require skills such as text and image understanding, informational retrieval, commonsense reasoning, and mathematical thinking.

Thus, university entrance exams constitute a good test for real Artificial Intelligence techniques.

The Exame Nacional do Ensino Médio (ENEM) is an advanced High-School level exam widely applied every year by the Brazilian government to students that wish to undertake a University degree.

The ENEM Challenge consists in designing an autonomous system that matches the performance of a human students on the exam. The overall goal is to foster and evaluate the development of Artificial Intelligence techniques that have good performance on complex cognitive tasks, not particularly designed for AI systems. In addition, this challenge aims to promote and give more visiblity to the development of NLP tools for Brazilian Portuguese.

The informal and witty aim of the challenge is to get a digital student to be accepted at a main Brazilian university.


The ENEM exam consists of the writing of an essay and an objective part containing 180 multiple choice questions. The questions are divided into four groups of 45 questions each, namely, Humanities, Languages, Sciences and Mathematics.

This dataset contains only the textual part of objective part, segmented in questions. Every question is divided into 3 parts:

  • The header, contianing background knwoledge in the form of an image, text or table is given;
  • The statement, containing the text of the question;
  • The answers, split into five fields, each containing the text of a candidate-answer (A,B,C,D,E), along with an additional tag informing the correct answer.

In addition, every question is annotated with the following tags:

  • id: the question number in that assessment;
  • image: does it has an accompanying image in the exam?
  • EK: does it require knowledge not given in the header?
  • TC: does it require textual understanding of the header?
  • IC: does it require understanding of the associated image?
  • DS: does it require complex inference or domain specific knowledge?
  • MR: does it requires transforming instructions in natural language into mathematical formula?
  • CE: does it require treating chemical elements especially?

Currently, the challenge uses an XML version of questions taken from the exams between 2009 and 2017.

A more in-depth description of the dataset is found here.


The 776kb zip archive containing the XML file can be downloaded here


If you design a new solution, please send me a message reporting accuracy, reference (if any) and information as below. Here is a list of current solutions:

Paper Accuracy Note
Silveira and Mauá 2018 29% Using questions without IC, MR and CE of the exams from 2009 to 2017. Achieved 37% in pure EK and 33% in pure TC.
Silveira and Mauá 2017 27% Using questions 1–45 and 96–145 of the exams from 2010 to 2015 that do not contain image or IC. Accuracy is measured as number of correct answers over total number of solved questions.


If you use this dataset, please cite the following work:

    @InProceedings{ ENEM-Challenge,
            author = {Silveira, Igor Cataneo and Mau\'a, Denis Deratani},
            booktitle = {Proceedings of the 6th Brazilian Conference on Intelligent Systems},
            series = {BRACIS},
            title = {University Entrance Exam as a Guiding Test for Artificial Intelligence},
            pages = {426--431},
            year = {2017}
Denis D. Mauá
Denis D. Mauá
Associate Professor

I research computational aspects of probabilistic reasoning.