The weather is getting colder. The cold blast is reminiscent of the SAT. This year the Korea College Scholastic Ability Test held every second week in November, will take place nationwide on November 12th. Approximately 630,000 students will rush into a mental battleground of silence for 500 minutes. In this 2016 Korea-CSAT, a lot more repeat test-takers will take the exam compared to last year. There are many different reasons for them to retake the test. Some students did not reap the desired results in the SAT last year. Others were not satisfied with their major or the university or college itself. This article explores some Asian countries to find out their culture of the entrance exam.
In Korea, the culture of CSAT has changed little by little every year. However, SAT “D-day 100” (100th day before examination) culture has always been. “D-day 100” in Korea is the 100th day before the test when many customs are performed for good luck. A few years ago, there was a myth about ‘100 day Alcohol.' It said that ‘if students drink alcohol on SAT D-day 100, they will easily solve the test problems.' Recently there’s also the ‘D-day 100 Black Noodle’ which has led to a culture of eating noodles ahead of 100 SAT. Most students are aware that these kinds of myths mean nothing to them. Regardless of where the myth originated, it’s just something to encourage tired students for a moment. There are a few businesses enjoying a boom a few days ahead of the SAT these days. ‘Chapsalttock’ (Korean rice cake) and chocolate gifts are loved as CSAT gifts. People give ‘Chapsalttock’ to test-takers for good luck. The red beans in the ‘Chapsalttock’ helps with brain rotation, but glutinous rice can be a problem to some students if someone has bad digestion, they should be careful. Moderate intake of chocolate will ease stress and help to increase concentration. In addition, some people present a fork or a camera or sometimes even toilet paper as a thoughtful gift.
In Japan, they have university entrance exam tests called ‘the center test’. That is conducted over two days, Saturday and Sunday in the middle of January. Japanese students should be sure to eat ‘Donkatz’ (a breaded pork cutlet) because a pork cutlet before the examination means victory in Japanese. 'Katz' and victory in Japanese are pronounced the same. Parents make a cutlet at home, hoping their children will pass the test. Japanese also eat chocolate before the test and especially ‘KitKat’ created by Nestle because it is meaningful. The reason is that the KitKat is read in hiragana as 'must win'. In Center Test season, the cherry blossoms are seen on KitKat wrappers in Japan because when you pass the University's entering test, Japanese say “The cherry blossoms are out.”
China's college entrance exam, ‘Cao Cao’ is on a fabulous continental scale. Over 9 million students take the test annually. ‘Cao Cao’ will be taken on June 7-8 for two days. Unlike South Korea and Japan, China takes the test in the summer. So, there are many students who suffer from the heat. Chinese students have come to eat ‘yotao and two eggs’ as ‘Cao Cao’ approaches. Yotao is an elongated shape of fermented bread dough about 30cm long that is fried in oil. Eating the bread and two eggs means 100 points. One yotao and two eggs look like the number one (1) and two zeros (00). China gives a lot of meaning to lucky numbers based on numbers’ appearance. From that angle, it is quite an understandable cultural trait. In addition, if you visit China in ‘Cao Cao’ season, you can find red things everywhere from clothes to shoes.
Three countries take their own university entrance examination but each country cheers for the students in different and various ways. The important thing is cheering for students with the same mind. There are different ways but the same wish.
Park Sarah -
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