November 10th, 2011
02:38 PM ET

South Korean students' 'year of hell' culminates with exams day

Seoul (CNN) - Most South Korean students consider their final year in high school "the year of hell." It is when all students are put to the ultimate test.

About 700,000 test applicants sat down in classrooms across the country Thursday to take their college entrance exams - also known as the College Scholastic Ability Test (CSAT).

The stock markets opened an hour late, buses and subway services were increased and police cars offered rides for students, all to ensure they made it on time.

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soundoff (5 Responses)
  1. Kent in Dallas TX


    Oriental cultures put much more emphasis on the welfare of the country & much less on individuals.

    We don't necessarily agree with that view point, but we need to remember that Korea was a civilized country when our ancestors in Europe were ignorant barbarians.

    November 14, 2011 at 2:34 pm |
  2. Kent in Dallas TX

    @Observation & Pete,

    Actually, opening the stock markets one hour later, making more public transportation available & having police help students get to their tests on time shows how dedicated the Korean people are to education.

    The Korean people probably want to do everything possible to help young men & women do well.

    The stockmarkets probably open one hour later because investors & traders want it that way.

    Taxpayers probably want their taxes spent on extra trains & busses for students.

    The police chiefs & police officers probably want to help young people get to testing centers on time.

    Other people in other parts of the world frequently don't think like we Americans do & don't want the same things that we do.

    November 14, 2011 at 1:57 pm |
  3. amanda

    it is all well and good to put education first. but i was intrigued to see a commercial, actually a public service message, in korea this summer advocating giving children the freedom to pursue careers and lives on a path outside the academic mainstream.

    there is an incredible pressure for kids to academically excel in korea, sometimes leading to depression, suicide, deception (to parents, not the society at large) and other social malignancies.

    it is all good for children to do well in school. but it is also good that in the US, we also care for the mental well being of children, though our focus on self-esteem does seem a bit excessive.

    November 14, 2011 at 1:15 pm |
  4. Pete

    If there were more like 50,000 human beings instead of 700,000 maybe it wouldn't be so bad.

    November 14, 2011 at 12:30 pm |
  5. observation

    Education is the top priority for the rest of the world. Delaying the stock market and paying extra to the transportation departments as well as local police so the students can get to an exam on time clearly shows the attitude of their priorities..... What is the United States mindset? I wonder how this culture treats their teachers? I wonder if there is a great deal of lawyer involvement that makes student policy? I wonder if every couple years a well meaning politician comes through and changes goals and objectives?

    November 14, 2011 at 11:12 am |