> In many aspects, the basic exam is a better "problem" > exam than the advanced exam. I am somewhat surprised > by the technical skill of the basic exam versus the > advanced exam.
There are some historical reasons for this. The names "basic exam" and "advanced exam" are somewhat misleading, as the advanced course is not strictly a superset of the basic course, and goals of these courses are different.
The main idea is that the "advanced" course is intended for students who are planning to continue their studies e.g. engineering or science (in universities). For this reason the advanced course is heavy on calculus, etc. topics which are considered important engineering.
The basic course is intended for students who do not have such plans (who plan to study humanities, social science, etc. after the high school), hence the focus is in applications. Names of the courses are not the same in Finnish, the basic course is called "lyhyt" (short) and the advanced course is "pitkä" (long).
If you have other questions mathematics education in Finland, I will try to answer.