SNU (Seoul National University) has decided to reflect school grades subdivided into subjects and strengthen in-depth essay writing for its 2008 admission exam. In addition, the admission exam will be divided into regional balance selection, special skilled student selection, and general admission exam, each equally allocated around 30 percent of the total students to be accepted.
According to the Basic Direction of 2008 Admission Exam released on June 27 by SNU, the general admission exam will be changed into a single integrated exam that includes in-depth essay writing. In all, the first part of the admission exam, in which school grades and national scholastic aptitude test scores were evaluated 50 percent-50 percent, will disappear.
The national scholastic aptitude test score will be used as a qualifying criterion for students over a certain level. The specific number of subjects and the level will be decided after reviewing the difficulty of the national scholastic aptitude test and score distribution chart.
In order to emphasize school grades earned in higher education, school grades will be evaluated differently according to the difficulty of the relative subject. That is to reduce the side effects of students feeling burdened by school grades starting in 10th grade.
The school subjects will be divided into the national common subject, general selection subject, in-depth selection subject (special subject), with the in-depth selection subject grades proportion being increased.
Hence, it expected for the score gap between different levels of in-depth selection subjects, often selected in junior and senior year and by special purpose high schools, to widen.
Regional balance selection and special skilled student selection will maintain the current form, but their numbers and the range of applicants will be expanded.
Controversy over Resurrection of Individual University Admission Exam
While presenting some models of its in-depth essay writing questions, SNU emphasized that it was not an individual university admission exam.
For example, in the case of liberal arts applicants essay question, the student has to read on a specific situation and criticize it with historical facts or economic theory.
For natural sciences, students have to use real life examples in order to explain the principles of math and science theories.
Foreign language essays will require students to write a critical essay in Korean after reading an English passage. Simple translation questions will not be asked.
SNU Research Professor and Senior Expert Commission Member Kim Gyeong-beom explained that essays for liberal arts and natural sciences focused on evaluating the depth of thought accomplished through reading diverse subjects, and understanding principles of theories rather than simple memorization or calculations problems.
Head of SNU Admission Management Office Lee Jong-seop said, Subdividing the way school grades are reflected and changing national scholastic aptitude test scores into qualifying criterion is following the policy of the Ministry of Education and Human Resources Development. The newly adopted in-depth essay writing proportion will be greatly increased, in order to give students disadvantaged in school grades a chance to redeem.