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University entrance exams begin across Japan

26 Comments

Japan's unified university entrance exams began Saturday at 668 venues across the country.

Applicants sat for exams in geography, history, civics, Japanese language and foreign languages on Saturday. On Sunday, tests will be held in mathematics and science.

The number of applicants this year is around 490,000, about 22,500 fewer than in 2023. The results will be used to screen applicants to 864 universities and colleges.

In parts of quake-hit Ishikawa Prefecture, students who are unable to sit for exams will have another opportunity at the end of January.

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26 Comments
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University entrance exams begin across Japan

That was this morning.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Ka-ching! say the universities. Each has their own exam which cost insane amounts when they could simply use the central exam, much like most US colleges use the SAT. But that would dry up another fat revenue stream.

To my friends facing exam hell: at some point in your life, whether you realize it at the time or not, you will take your final exam. For the remainder of your life, you will be judged on performance.

9 ( +11 / -2 )

“You must sit 2 meters apart so you don’t cheat!”

(proceeds to sit them 80cm from the student at the next table)

6 ( +8 / -2 )

It seems "some" colleges aren't even bothering with the exams, some do essays, and interviews, as they need to put bums on seats. I think it might be better, to stop forcing students to do P.E at university, and study art, when they don't want to study art, or a language,or P.E and isn't part of their studies. Sometimes it feels like an extension of high school and a great way not to let a lot of young people sit unemployed. along with just filler classes.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

A peculiar system. Like determining your entire fate on one role of the dice.

3 ( +7 / -4 )

Laguna, entrance exams cost about 3 man, if they haven’t changed since I was a student. At least national universities

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Good luck to all.

However I wish Japan, as a major country, would have a way more modern Educational System, such as the European northern countries, where students actually learn something useful, that develops their minds too, not just learning to pass the exams by using endless memorization.

Learning foreign languages are a proof of that, sadly...

-5 ( +6 / -11 )

Laguna, entrance exams cost about 3 man, if they haven’t changed since I was a student. At least national universities

That's my point, timeon. Multiply that as revenue for colleges times the thousands who take their exams and expenses for those (really, their parents) who take the average five exams plus the scams that are cram schools who employ graduates who have taken the exams yet cannot seem to find any employment except for perpetuating the system as well as the OB network that rots the entire government from local to national and you'll see something criminally expensive is going on here.

I found primary school in Japan to be quite good but sent my kids to the US for college. Look at the number of Japanese nationals who do the same and you'll find a quite immense layer of Japanese who have clued onto this scam and have found an escape.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Good luck to all applicants!

I hope all of them can gain entry into a university.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

Laguna, please tell me where you sent your children for junior high and high school, i.e. public/private, Japanese/intl school/overseas?

I am new to the Japanese system and watching it now unfold with a 1st year junior high going to a local public school.

Lots to learn and find everyone's comments interesting.

Thank you

2 ( +2 / -0 )

For the remainder of your life, you will be judged on performance

That's a bit harsh. The further away you get from the assessment, the less emphasis it has on your life. Study hard, then work hard. Make your own future on what you keep achieving.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

I hope all of them can gain entry into a university.

Wouldn’t that kind of defeat the point?

2 ( +4 / -2 )

The cost of uni entrance exams may seem a scam to some, but tuition at public institutions is reasonable and does not saddle graduates with crushing debt.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Good luck to all.

However I wish Japan, as a major country, would have a way more modern Educational System, such as the European northern countries, where students actually learn something useful, that develops their minds too, not just learning to pass the exams by using endless memorization. 

Learning foreign languages are a proof of that, sadly...

universities in Northern European countries are notoriously garbage with the exclusion of 4 universities in the uk.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

DDK

Could you please tell me specifically what kind of system is the modern education system?

What is different from Japan's education system?

There are various issues facing Japan's education system, and if reforms occur, Japan's industry and economy will continue to develop.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

To those commentators saying this will be the LAST EXAMS, I say “ you must not have attended professional school”

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Could you please tell me specifically what kind of system is the modern education system?

What is different from Japan's education system?

There are various issues facing Japan's education system, and if reforms occur, Japan's industry and economy will continue to develop.

There is no modern or old education system. There’s an education system which forces you to study to gain your degree, and an education system in which people are awarded degrees just because they attended classes and passed an extremely basic exam. Universities in Japan belong to the latter category (yes, one of my degrees is from the top university in the country so I know what I’m talking about).

Japan produces a lot of good research, but the amount of academic litter is equally gigantic, and this is partially caused by professors/students who would have no business being at a university in any other country.

If Japan‘s industry wants to thrive, a more meritocratic system needs to be implemented by universities, and larger investments should be provided to universities producing high-quality research.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

universities in Northern European countries are notoriously garbage with the exclusion of 4 universities in the uk.

While I understand that Heriot-Watt, Strathclyde, Dundee and Stirling universities are top notch, I don't think most of the others are so bad.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Oh my god! A different culture doesn't have the same standard of other cultures! Japanese students actually have to study to do well on these exams. In the US there are legacy admissions, richer parents who bribe schools to let their kids in, and universities that have lowered their requirements to accommodate the lowered standards of education in the US.

I taught English as a Second language here in the US and abroad for decades. The best students came from China, Taiwan, and. . .wait for it. . .Japan. In fact, many of the Japanese students wanted to study here because the universities here were more demanding than in Japan. Once a student got into college there the standards were more lax than here. But the students from Japan knew their stuff. As a teacher, I found them easier to teach because they had the basics down really well.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

Oh boy.

Comparing the education in the 2 countries I am familiar with, Canada and Japan, the secondary education and university education systems in Japan amount to an own goal or shooting oneself in the foot and the majority of people in Japan keep their heads buried in the sand attempting to rationalize the awful destructive system in Japan.

Yes, the 7,000 or so students that are accepted into the University of Tokyo and Kyoto University every year graduate with a good education but even they are harmed by the ridiculous system in Japan

Japan starts out with a population that has a 7 point IQ advantage over Canadians and an excellent elementary school education but by age 15 Japanese students barely out perform Canadian students who take the summer off and other than the top 2 universities in Japan, after a "4 year vacation" Japanese university graduates pale by comparison to Canadian university graduates. Once a student enters a Japanese university they do nothing and learn little for 4 years whereas students in Canada are self motivated to study, learn and do well or they are sent packing.

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

My daughter went to JHS in Japan. Then I sent her to do 3 years in high school in the US. Then she didn't have to take the entrance exam because she graduated high school in the US She just had to have an interview to enter a high ranked university.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

A peculiar system. Like determining your entire fate on one role of the dice.

And the drudgery continues towards Japan Inc. My oldest daughter once asked me (seriously), "Dad, why do students here in Japan take tests all the time? Isn't that a waste of time and talent." To that, I answered her, "Well, that's Japan, and each country has their own culture towards university and thereafter." She said, "Man, I don't want to go through that hell. I'll stay in the US. At least there, not all universities use those kinds of tests to get in, and I can use my skills instead of study to the test." I just told her, "Well, you follow your own path. You don't need to follow the herd. Be yourself and be proud. We are."

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

My daughter went to JHS in Japan. Then I sent her to do 3 years in high school in the US. Then she didn't have to take the entrance exam because she graduated high school in the US She just had to have an interview to enter a high ranked university.

@ Dee - Congratulations to her! Universities elsewhere have dropped or are starting to drop the standardized entrance exams and instead admit based on grades and interviews. All the success to her and others like her.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@Dee One of my kids was going to do the same thing but after visiting a couple of campuses in Japan, they concluded that the standards at Japanese universities were too low.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

The Japanese university exam selects the best memorizers in the country. This test should be abandoned and replaced with a test that selects the most promising achievers and creative minds. Memory records the past and is not a good indicator of future performance. Japan needs to prepare for the future not live in the past.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Following the release of generative AI such as Chat GPT, I am wondering if a US university experience has the premium / uniqueness it used to versus Japanese universities. I am aware of the common perception that Japanese university is a "four year holiday" (I am guessing with the exception of engineering and the hard sciences), but I have increasingly been reading that students in the US, mostly in the liberal arts, are increasingly relying on Chat GPT to do their assignments that are supposed to develop their "critical thinking" skills. I'd love to hear everyone's thoughts on whether Japanese students should venture overseas for a university education. Thank you

1 ( +1 / -0 )

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