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PSAT Will Become More Difficult This Year

Posted January. 30, 2004 23:33,   


The PSAT for academic year 2005, which will consist mainly of elective sections, will likely be more difficult than last year’s. “This year’s PSAT will center on the advanced courses that students chose to study during the second and third year of high school,” said Chung Kang-chung, the president of the Korea Institute of Curriculum and Evaluation on January 30.

Chung, commenting on the test for academic year 2005, said, “A multi-course dinner has become a buffet.” He added, “Students will need a deep understanding of elective sections they choose according to the seventh education plans’ catch phrase of ‘Choice and Concentration’.”

Changes in Sections—

In math sections, simple answer type questions will make up 30 percent or nine questions, up from 20 percent or six questions in the prior year. The simple answers are one- to three-digit natural numbers ranging from zero to 999. Up to last year, answers could include two-digit numbers and two decimal places. As for 2005, natural numbers are the answers.

As for foreign languages, the sections may include a new type of question designed to measure thinking aptitude. They also may include more questions about vocabulary and usage expression as the test will embrace the basic course of the first year of high school and advanced courses during the last two years of high school.

The number of questions in each of the social studies sections will increase to 20 from 10, and the number of science-section questions will increase to 20 from 16 to cover all lessons of the subjects.

Concerning analytical sections, they will reflect the spirit of the seventh education plans of choice and concentration which emphasize elective course-oriented integrated curricula. The questions will center on the advanced courses student chose to take in their last two years of high school.

Changes in Test Process—

Applicants who choose four analytical sections will start taking the test 30 minutes earlier than those who choose three. The amount of test time will range from 30 minutes to 120 minutes, depending on the number of elective sections applicants choose.

The institute is currently devising a measure against test takers who will just answer three out of the four sections they choose. Many colleges evaluate the scores of two or three elective sections, and students are tempted to choose four sections to maximize the time they solve the questions in the sections at which the colleges they apply to will look.

“We are considering measures to improve the test, among them, to double the number of test makers from the current 320,” said Chung.

Seong-Chul Hong sungchul@donga.com