Test Time in Korea – The CSATs

7th November 2014

This is just a quick blog post to say a HUGE good luck to all Korean High school students today. Today is their big ‘once in a lifetime’ exam that will determine a lot in their lives so all my fingers (and toes) are crossed for you guys. The name of this test is the College Scholastic Ability Test.

I struggled with every test so I can only imagine how weird today must feel. This test decides where you can go to university and in some cases what subjects it would be best to study. If you’ve dreamed of being a teacher all your life and this test says ‘ding! wrong!’ then its new dream time.

The test looks at grammar and spelling in both Korean and English. Korean history, philosophy, ethics, as well as math, science and one more language (normally Chinese)

This test is so important that all the middle schools around the high schools are closed to help them concentrate. This means that lucky Lee had a day off today (which he will of course be spending booking flights around Asia for us…ahem hint hint)

Not only does it affect the areas near high schools but the Korean stock market opens later and there are more buses and subways put on so that no one misses a second of the test. I don’t know about you guys but I’m scared just thinking about that kind of pressure.

My friend the lovely Lauren in Translation has written a fantastic post about this. Through her I discovered this great documentary about the tests and the pressure it elicits.

ExamiNation: a short documentary from Judy Suh on Vimeo.

Good luck to all the Korean students today and as my kids would say to me when anything needs to be achieved “FIGHTING!!!!”