The National Center for University Entrance Examinations on Saturday began two days of tests across the nation. The center said that 582,669 students -- 6,702 more than last year -- are sitting for the exams at 695 test centers nationwide.
In most locations, the tests began at 9 a.m. with students sitting for exams in geography, history, civics, Japanese and foreign languages, Fuji TV reported. On Sunday, tests will be held in mathematics and science.
Students were barred from bringing smartphones and other mobile devices into the test rooms.
Typically, the test starts and ends at roughly the same time throughout the entire nation. However, heavy snow hit wide areas along the Sea of Japan coast and in the north, northeast and western regions of the country, causing traffic disruption and forcing a number of schools to delay the tests, Kyodo reported.
The standardized exam is used to grade students applying to public and private universities for the academic year starting in April. The test results will be used by 843 public universities, private universities and junior colleges to grade applicants.
The Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology plans to scrap the current system in favor of a series of "achievement tests" to be taken through high school. The new tests would be taken two or three times each year, with the student's highest grade being accepted for final consideration.
The ministry says the new system is to be introduced in fiscal 2020.© Japan Today