Go to contents

New College Entrance Essay Test Guidelines Released

Posted September. 01, 2005 07:09,   


The Ministry of Education and Human Resources Development announced guidelines that prohibit colleges from setting questions with English exemplary texts or that are related to math or science ability in essay tests. After the announcement, students and high schools are extremely concerned that there will be some major changes in college admission essay tests.

And some essay institutes that have claimed to be specializing in “English essay” or “math essay” tutoring in the Gangnam area of Seoul are considering blurring their specializations and offering “general essay” teaching.

Predictions about Essay Questions–

Many experts in the field predict that colleges are likely to demand students write more lengthy essays this year than in previous years in order to tell good students from others. Because within a length of 1,600 words, students can get relatively high scores after only a short period of intensive training while they cannot hide their lack of power of thought and expression, as well as small amount of reading, in a 2,500 word essay.

There is also the possibility that a short sentence of an abstract and philosophical question without any exemplary texts will be offered just as on the baccalaureate or French college entrance exam. “Is communication language’s only use?” was the essay topic.

Another possibility is that colleges will follow suit along with Korea University, which asked applicants to write an essay showing the process of solving a question by first summing up the exemplary texts; second, analyzing the relationship between those texts; and third, expressing their own opinion on the common theme of the texts.

Ma Sang-ryong, Daesung Academy’s essay team leader, said, “Colleges may offer in advance the list of books likely to be referred when setting questions in order to help students prepare for their tests.”

High-ranking colleges in particular are expected to put more weight on in-depth interviews to evaluate applicants’ English speaking and reading skills as well as math and science problem solving abilities.

President Kim Young-il of Kim`s Edu Consulting said, “Since students’ academic abilities are easily revealed in a long interview, they should maintain their efforts without being too relived by the news about easier-than-expected essay tests.

How to prepare for the test–

Students should prepare for their essay tests by focusing on general subjects while keeping an eye on the announcement about entrance requirements.

Most colleges aim to gauge applicants’ ability to effectively understand and figure out problems we may face in our lives, and to express the whole process.

Ma advised, “First and second graders in high school should develop the ability to defend their opinion and criticize those of others by broadening their knowledge and insight through massive reading on a variety of subjects and discussions with others in their daily lives.”

Lee Nam-yeol, the deputy principal of Hanyang Girls` High School, said, “Students should enhance their reading comprehension by reading books, especially, classics recommended by universities or offices of education. It will turn out to be more effective to practice spotting subject words and sentences, summing up paragraphs, and reorganizing them on their own after reading various types of articles from newspapers and textbooks.”

Seong-Chul Hong sungchul@donga.com syroh@donga.com