The Korea Herald


[Video] The one day that brings Korea to a standstill: Suneung

By Park Jun-hee

Published : Nov. 27, 2020 - 14:11

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Around 490,000 college hopefuls will flock to test sites across the country on Dec. 3 to take the Suneung -- South Korea’s national college entrance exam.

On this day, silence brings the nation to a standstill, as the cold air turns jittery with angst. Military training temporarily ceases, flights are grounded and government institutes and banks delay opening by an hour to prevent traffic during the rush to testing sites.

Suneung is the College Scholastic Ability Test in Korean -- the culmination and climax of the 12 years of elementary, middle and high school. The college entrance exam is designed to determine whether students will be able to go to college or not, as well as where they can go. The grueling eight-hour marathon exam covers five subjects, including Korean and Math, from 8:40 a.m. until 5:40 p.m. The infamous Suneung is likened to the notorious American SAT.

In a nation where education is considered one of the most important aspects of life, enrolling in a good school paves the way for success. Getting into a top university is the most crucial goal for high school students and their parents. Likewise, society's education fever comes from the perception that higher academic scores can make dreams come true. Preparations for Suneung start as early as preschool.

Please check out the video and see how well you can solve problem sets from last year’s Suneung exam.

Video script and article by Park Jun-hee (
Video shot and edited by Ju Young-eun (