A blanket of silence has once again fallen over the whole of South Korea on Thursday as over 600,000 students take the College Scholastic Ability Test that is widely seen as a crucial factor in determining one’s future.
Teenagers reportedly spend years preparing for the test that would hopefully grant them entry in the elite colleges in the country, Agence France-Presse reported.
The college entrance exam, which places extreme pressure on the students to do well, is viewed as a barometer that would dictate their future career and even marriage prospects. Before the test began, thousands of parents visited temples and churches to pray for the success of their children.
Planes were grounded and businesses opened late to ensure the roads were cleared for the 606,000 exam-takers. Even government offices and Seoul’s stock market opened at 10:00 a.m., an hour later than normal. For those who were running late, local police mobile units even provided them escorts, reported Arirang news.
All airport landings and take-offs were out on hold for 30 minutes in the early afternoon during the language listening test. Large trucks were also prohibited to enter the roads near exam venues, while work at construction sites in the area were also halted.
The exam, which has been blamed for multiple cases of students’ stress, psychological depression and suicide, was administered at 1,183 venues across the country from about 9:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.