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Nat'l college entrance exam kicks off amid pandemic

All News 09:05 November 18, 2021

By Park Boram

SEOUL, Nov. 18 (Yonhap) -- Nearly 500,000 high school seniors and other exam takers nationwide sat down to take the annual national college entrance test Thursday, the second such exam held against the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic.

About 509,000 high school seniors, graduates and others signed up to take the College Scholastic Ability Test (CSAT), a single-day five-session exam, held this year at 1,251 test sites nationwide.

It is the second CSAT the country has held since the onset of the pandemic in early 2020.

College aspirants at a high school in Seoul's Yongsan district prepare to take the College Scholastic Ability Test on Nov. 18, 2021. (Yonhap)

More than 100 separate test rooms have been set aside for dozens of students under self-quarantine. Those who tested positive for the virus will take the test inside hospitals or other special virus treatment centers, according to the education ministry.

Last year, the country postponed the CSAT, the biggest academic event held on the third Thursday of November every year, by two weeks amid the pandemic.

Education authorities decided to go ahead with the original schedule this year, as the country is currently under the first-stage of the "living with COVID-19" scheme.

The CSAT is the culmination of years of hard work for many students, and the government not only increases public transport to help students get to their test centers on time but also bans overhead flights during the English listening section.

The country's stock bourses and the foreign exchange market will also open one hour later than usual at 10 a.m..

Students are required to wear masks throughout the exam, and those who show symptoms of infection on the exam day will be ushered into separate rooms set up inside the test sites nationwide. All exam takers also had their body temperature checked before being let into the exam sites.

This year, a total of 509,821 students and exam takers signed up for the test, up 3.3 percent from 2020 when the total number of examinees fell below the 500,000 level for the first time.

A high school in Seoul's Songpa district is being disinfected on Nov. 17, 2021, one day ahead of the College Scholastic Ability Test. (Yonhap)


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