If You Ever Feel Like Complaining About Difficult Tests In School, Thank God You’re Not A 17-Year-Old South Korean. What They Go Through Is Pure Hell During National Examination Day

National Examination Day

You think your tests are difficult and stressful? Wait till you hear about South Korea’s National Examination Day. This is a test that every Korean citizen takes at the age of 17. It basically more or less  determines whether or not a person is admitted to a prestigious university.

National Examination Day

In reality, it also determines how much money you’ll earn, where you’ll be able to work, who you’ll be able to marry, and the social status of your family. The test takes between 8-10 hours to complete and consists of English, history, Korean, mathematics, and more. It is designed by 500 professors and teachers who are sent to a secret compound in the mountains for a month, completely cut off from the outside world, and forbidden to reveal to anyone, including members of their own family, that they are in the writing team.

On the day of the test, all government offices and public institutions start at a late hour to facilitate traffic and allow students to quickly get to the exam. If you get stuck on the road, you can call 911 and they will send an escort that will block the traffic and allow you to get to the exam quickly, in addition to the movement of vehicles within 200 meters from the test area. During the listening period, there are also no landing permits issued and any airplanes and army exercises are also put to a halt.

National Examination Day

Bonus Facts:
A. At the entrance to the educational institutions where the test is taken, hundreds of students arrive to encourage and support the students who are taking the test during National Examination Day.
B. How long does a typical Korean student spend preparing for the exam? From birth to the age of 18, almost every day of their lives. According to the Ministry of Education, in 2014, parents invested $17 billion in private tutoring, private schools and other after-school programs in order to help their children pass the exam.
C. It is estimated that the difficulty of Korean education and intensive learning are the main cause of premature burnout, depression, anxiety, and high rate of suicide among Korean youth.

So the next time you feel like complaining you have a difficult test, ask yourself what would happen if you were Korean?