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Korean students watch clock as entrance exams loom2012 National College Scholastic Ability Test takes place on Nov. 10
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승인 2011.11.02  15:04:29
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▲ Photos from last year's exam on Jeju. Far left, an underclassman sends off his senior with a cheer. Top, a late student is escorted by police motorcycle. Bottom, the classroom is dead silent as the exam begins. Far right, a teacher warmly embraces his student before the exam. Photos by Yang Ho Geun

The pressure is on. There are only nine days left until the 2012 National College Scholastic Ability Test (“sooneung,” in Korean) on Nov. 10. Unless otherwise noted, the test is held on the second Thursday of every November. Since most universities admit students mostly based on this test score, it is a critical test for students in Korea. Most students have only one window of opportunity to take this day-long test and make the most of their score when deciding which university and/or which major to select.

   
▲ Ko Mi Kyung stands outside the front gates of Jeju Girls’ High School praying for her daughter who was inside taking the test in November, 2010. Photo by Yang Ho Geun
From Aug. 24 to Sept. 8, anyone who wished to take the 9.5 hour-long test was allowed to register. According to the Jeju Special Self-Governing Province Office of Education (POE), a total of 7,312 students have registered to take the test in Jeju this year, 193 fewer than last year (7,505 students).

According to the POE, the decreased number of test takers is the result of students applying for early acceptance to universities, which does not require a college entrance exam score.

Much effort is put forward on Nov. 10 for the students’ convenience. In order to minimize noise around the island’s 13 test centers, no construction, sirens, or horns will be allowed that day. To help students reach the testing center, more buses will run from 6:30 a.m. to 8:10 a.m.

All students are required to enter the test center at 8:10 a.m. and the test will finish at 5:35 p.m. The students will begin with the verbal section at 8:40 a.m., followed by Math, English, Social Studies/Science, and their choice of a second language.

According to the Korea Institute for Curriculum and Evaluation, Jeju students received the highest scores on average in Verbal, Math I, Math II, and English on the standard scale for past two years (true score - average score / standard deviation * 20 +100).

Considering the fact that Jeju has fewer private tutoring academies than the capital and other major cities on the mainland, Jeju students have managed to earn a remarkable reputation in Korea.

The 2012 test results will be released on Nov. 30.
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