Charles says: This is an article published on the BBC about exams in Korea. In Korea, all students take their final exams (known as Suneung) on the same day. Have you heard of this event before? Do you think it’s an efficient way to stage exams, or does it load too much stress onto one day?
The articles states:
All across South Korea, at exactly 08:40 local time (23:40 GMT Wednesday) on Thursday, more than half a million students take the exam for which they have been preparing their entire lives.
The infamous Suneung, an abbreviation for College Scholastic Ability Test (CSAT) in Korean, is an eight-hour marathon of back-to-back exams, which not only dictates whether the students will go to university, but can affect their job prospects, income, where they will live and even future relationships. “In Korea, going to university is very important. That’s why we spend 12 years preparing for this one day. I know people who’ve taken this exam up to five times.”
Every year in November, Suneung brings the whole country to a standstill. Silence descends across the capital Seoul as shops are shut, banks close, even the stock market opens late. Most construction work halts, planes are grounded and military training ceases. Occasionally the stillness is broken by distant sirens – police motorbikes racing to deliver students running late to their exam.
But why does such an extreme level of stress surround the university application process?
South Korea has one of the most highly educated populations on the planet. A third of people without a job have a university degree, it has never been harder to get into a good university. Many young people in Korea are aiming for Sky – the collective name for the country’s three most prestigious universities, Seoul, Korea and Yonsei. They are seen as the Harvard and Yale, or Oxford and Cambridge, of South Korea.
Write some sentences using the … words and phrases
- How many synonyms for “stop” can you find.
- Find examples of hyperbole.
- What’s the difference btw abbreviation and acronym.
Related discussion questions:
- How does SK compare to your country in terms of exam format and exam stress?
- How does stress on students now compare to your experiences at that age?
- Do young people struggle to find a job or path in life in HK?
- Have you ever considered a completely different path of work?