The Sooneung Exam

<p><a href=”″>ExamiNation: a short documentary</a> from <a href=””>Judy Suh</a> on <a href=””>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>

This was a short documentary on the Sooneung Exam, or college entrance exam here in Korea.

For a long while, I would hear about these exams and just think to myself “Well, if you’re so stressed, then just take a few days off and go do something else.”
I still feel that way to an extent because I don’t think life should be about memorizing facts for one exam and that one person simply can’t retain information after studying for days and days, or years and years at a time.  You need rest, proper exercise and good food.

BUT…I do understand where they are coming from.  If you’re the one friend that is off playing or wandering around, I think you’d soon be labeled as lazy and that you didn’t care about your future.  If everyone you know is studying like this, then it starts to become the norm.  “You get used to it” as she said in the video.  It makes me incredibly glad for the type of high school I attended, where both social and academics were important.  A balance between the two.

I hope that the Korean government and the schools are able to come up with a new sort of exam, or one that isn’t so stressful.  One exam to dictate the path of one’s future.  I definitely don’t envy them, but videos like this help to educate those who are not living in Korea as to what it’s like as a student here.
I’ve heard that elementary school is more relaxed here but typically once middle school begins, then the preparation for this exam also begins.
The scores on this exam dictate what kind of schools they’re able to get into and what sorts of jobs they’ll be able to apply for.  The types of schools and jobs then create a path for the type of person they’re likely to meet and marry.
Just a tad bit stressful.
However, they’re over now for this year’s seniors, so they’re finally free.  🙂