Friday, November 19, 2010

Korea - College Scholastic Ability

Today, for the first time in this week, I heard the sound of a plane flying above my uni. My university is located quite near to an air force base and also near a US military camp. Sirens, jets flypass, etc were common occurences in Daegu.

The reason for the sudden disappearance? KCSAT (Korean College Scholastic Ability Test) or 수능 in Korean. Some dislike it, some like it. In fact, most foreigners like it ^^ This is the only time where traffic is at minimum and sounds are greatly reduced. A huge majority of Koreans are really hardworking people and exams are the only means of accessing their capabilities.

The life of a high schooler begins at 7am and ends at 9pm. Throughout the day, they do nothing but study. Not many have the chance to participate in co-curricular activities and those who did them, well, they must be really good or else they might not have good future. Students caught not studying are severely reprimanded.

This is so different from my schooling life. When I attended high school, outdoor activities constituted a huge chunk of my time in school. Studying was never imposed whereas in Korea, there are teachers to ensure students do study. Tough life huh?

It's sad to know that he, one day, will soon face the reality of competitive education in Korea

On the day of the exam, most flights were rescheduled, military planes were grounded and anything that makes noise were discouraged near schools. Typically, it is a silent day. It is also customary to see students following strange superstitions like eating sticky rice (떡) which means that they will not forget what they had studied, not washing your hair before your exam, dreaming of pig means good luck to you, etc.

Departmental stores here took advantages on this annual event by promoting "brain" food like enriched milk, green tea-enriched make-up, etc. In Malaysia, we had advertisement of Stabilo pencils. lol. The one where nerds... opps.. I mean top students claiming that the eraser and pencil works wonder during exams. so good ah? haiyah, no wonder some friends obtained better results in exams than me. hehe. And one more, some chicken essence brand too... ah, nevermind...

Until today, I cannot concur whether exam is good or bad. Some might say having exams does not test our interpersonal skills, it makes us more introvert, wrapped in our cocoons of books and there will be no meaning of growing up as a normal beings and not as competitors among friends.

Without exams, how are we going to distinguish ourselves from the rest, the mediocre and the better ones? How are we going to know jobs that we are good in? How are we going to test our knowledge?

Most students in Korea will make it in CSAT, some will not. They probably will resit next year. Like every year, it's common to see streams of exasperated parents visiting temples and praying so that they children will make good in this exam, the exam that will determine their sons' and daughters' future..

PS. Well, this post was partly "inspired" by my coursemates. lol. We were to take English conversation test last Monday and a week before the exam, our professor told everyone the listening texts that might come out for exam (we were told of 3 but only 1 will be for the test). I did not study the texts at all because there is no point memorizing the text for LISTENING TEST!!! So while the professor distributed the test sheets, he waited for while. So I thought, "GOSH, WHY ARE SOME STUDENTS WRITING ANSWERS ON THAT PAPER!!! (I am a bit panic la) EXAM STARTED ALREADY AH? ISN'T THIS ENGLISH LISTENING TEST OR HAD I MISTAKENLY UNDERSTOOD? IF NOT ENGLISH LISTENING TEST... HOW AM I GONNA FILL IN THE ANSWER!!! BO (did not) STUDY LA!!! LEEMA" So I asked the professor, he told me he was waiting for the students to just read the questions. The test will start soon. FUUUHHH... LISTENING TEST... *relieve*... Listening Test also memorized the passage. lol.

No comments:

You might also like..

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
"This is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning" ~Winston Churchill~