S. Korea quiets down for nationwide college entrance exams

November 13, 2014
Students wait to take the annual College Scholastic Ability Test at a high school in Seoul on Nov. 13, 2014. (Yonhap)

Students wait to take the annual College Scholastic Ability Test at a high school in Seoul on Nov. 13, 2014. (Yonhap)

SEOUL (Yonhap) — More than half a million high school seniors and graduates took the annual national college entrance exam on Thursday with government measures to control traffic and muffle noise near nationwide testing sites in place.

A total of 640,621 people, down about 10,000 from last year, have registered to take the nine-hour standardized College Scholastic Ability Test (CSAT) that was administrated at 1,216 testing sites, according to the education ministry.

The exam, which is similar to the American Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT), is considered to be a crucial factor in determining a student’s future career opportunities as Korean society places great importance on educational background.

The CSAT is divided into five sections — Korean language, mathematics, English, social and natural sciences and a second foreign language of choice.

The test started at 8:40 a.m. and ran through 5 p.m., including lunch and breaks.

As in previous years, the government imposed various traffic control and anti-noise measures as part of efforts to ensure that the significant test was executed without any glitches.

Traffic was banned within 200 meters of test centers, while government offices and enterprises in nearby areas were scheduled to open an hour later than usual to keep the roads free for students on their way to the test centers, according to the government. The local bourse also began one hour later than usual.

The subway ran more frequently during morning rush hour and police operated a temporary call center for students in need of a ride, offering to transport them to the test centers by patrol car or motorcycle, the government said.

Flight landings and takeoffs were banned for 40 minutes in the afternoon during a listening section of the English exam.

The applicants will be individually notified of their test results by Nov. 27, it added.

Parents pray to wish for their children' success in the Scholastic Aptitude Test at the Jogye Temple in Seoul, South Korea, Thursday, Nov. 13, 2104. About 640,000 high school students and graduates in South Korea are scheduled to take the examination Thursday that will virtually determine their admission to college. (AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon)

Parents pray to wish for their children’ success in the Scholastic Aptitude Test at the Jogye Temple in Seoul, South Korea, Thursday, Nov. 13, 2104. About 640,000 high school students and graduates in South Korea are scheduled to take the examination Thursday that will virtually determine their admission to college. (AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon)

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