Tensions, expectations high as high school students take graduation exams

By Phan Anh   June 25, 2018 | 12:29 am PT
Tensions, expectations high as high school students take graduation exams
A student sits in Hanoi's Kim Lien High School to prepare documents to undertake Vietnam's national exams. Photo by VnExpress/Giang Huy
Over 900,000 candidates are registered to take the national test that can determine their future paths.

“This year there are so many candidates, so I’m worried,” high school student Tran Thuy Dung says.

One of more than 900,000 candidates for this year’s national high school graduation exams, Dung told VnExpress that she was worried despite working very hard. She has been getting up at 5am every morning to study, at home and in various classrooms, not returning home until 1 or 2am the next day.

Millions of parents share the tension and expectations with their children as the three-day national exam gets underway today in 2,000 locations nationwide.

The Education Ministry has said that around 45,000 people will oversee the examination process.

Candidates are required to be present at their exam site at 6:30 a.m. The first exam starts at 7:35 a.m, and candidates who fail to make it by then will not be eligible to take the exam.

Vietnam’s national high school graduation exam is considered to be a make-or-break event for high school students, since results will determine if they can enter a good university or not.

The national exam requires candidates to undertake mandatory exams in Math and Literature, and make a choice between Natural Sciences, which involve Physics, Chemistry and Biology, and Social Sciences, which are History, Geography and Ethics.

Before 2015, the students had to take a six-subject exam for graduation, and around a month later, an SAT-like placement exam for college. However, these back-to-back exams were criticized for being costly exercises that exerted too much pressure on the students and their parents. From 2015, the education ministry has combined the two exams into one national high school graduation exam.

This year’s national exam will end on Wednesday.

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