Posted : 2012-11-07 18:15
Updated : 2012-11-07 18:15

Good luck to all CSAT takers

A parent of a high school senior prays for high scores for her child in the College Scholastic Ability Test during a mass prayer at Bongeun Temple in southern Seoul, Saturday. / Yonhap

By Na Jeong-ju

The nation holds its breath as one of the most crucial tests for South Koreans ― the annual College Scholastic Ability Test (CSAT) takes place at 1,191 venues today.

All landings and takeoffs at airports will be put on hold and car drivers should lower their speed near test sites during listening comprehension exams so as not to disturb students. Traffic will be banned from within 200 meters of the test locations until the nine-hour-long exam finishes at 5:35 p.m.
A student, wearing earphones so as not to be disturbed, studies at a classroom in Hyowon High School in Suwon, Sunday. / Yonhap

According to the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology, some 668,000 students applied for this year's exam, consisting of five sections ― the Korean language, mathematics, English, social and natural sciences, and a second foreign language.

Scores on the test will determine whether students can enter their favored universities for the 2013 academic year starting in March. The ministry said test scores will be released to students by early December. Colleges offering four-year courses and universities across the country are planning to admit a total of 379,458 freshmen.
Volunteers who will take students to test venues during morning rush hour on the day of the test pose in front of the Central Government Complex in Seoul, Wednesday. / Yonhap

The results will be sweet for some, but bitter for others. Hopefully, there will be no news about students, discouraged by their test results, doing anything extreme.

It's very important for teachers and parents to tell their students and children that the test is not everything in life, that it is not a matter of life and death, but merely another of life's challenges.
Students at Hyowon High School in Suwon, Gyeonggi Province, fly balloons to wish good luck to their seniors taking the test, Tuesday. / Korea Times file

As on all previous test days, family members and friends of those taking the exam will gather around the test sites, to cheer and wish them all the best. Some parents may accompany their children to encourage and relax them. Some will be seen praying outside schools where their children are taking the exam.

Tens of thousands of police officers and police vehicles as well as taxi drivers will be on stand-by near the test venues to help students arrive on time and prevent interruptions. The government also plans to increase the numbers of subway trains and buses running in the morning.

Civil servants and employees of major companies in most cities will be allowed to report to work at 10 o'clock, one hour later than usual, in order to relieve traffic conditions.

Some activists who oppose college admission exams will hold a rally in Seoul. They insist that the government should drop the competition-oriented education system and help children live with dignity to nurture their potential, without being evaluated by test scores.

The competition will be fierce, but what's important is to do one's best. We hope students won't remain discouraged even if scores are bad. Good luck to all test-takers.

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