Tuesday, November 30, 2021

College Entrance Examinations: South Korea

Environmental & Science Education, STEM, Children, Students, Education, Culture

Ed Hessler

College entrance exams in South Korea, known as the Suneung (College Scholastic Ability Test, CSAT) are serious matters. The standardized exams are grueling (also difficult) and long: 8 hours of back-to-back examinations divided into 5 sections. As you will see students do not just walk in and take them. They prepare for them which is an intense and grueling process.

The reason is that "The stakes are really high, with students feeling the pressure to perform well to secure university placements, jobs and even future relationships."  

Examination day is December 18 and "brings the whole country to a stop each year. Shops and banks delay their openings, construction sites take breaks and planes are grounded. Police area on standby for test-takers in need of help, transporting students to exam centers on patrol vehicles and motorcycles," as reported in The Korean Herald (November 16, 2021). This piece is thorough and includes criticism of the exams.

In this BBC video (4m 54s), Hosu Lee documents the journey of three Korean students to examination day.

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