So in my previous article, we talked about the competitiveness of college entrance examination in Japan and how it affects the student’s employment and future. Of course prestige is another thing people often seek in prestigious universities and it is common not only in Japan but it’s a world wide phenonema.
In order to get into national universities, you need to be preparing for the exam in a reputable high school. High schools are not compulsory in Japan meaning that you don’t need to go to college..oh wait! great!! No..Education is very important in Japan so it is reported that 98% or something like that of the students do go to high school. That’s when we usually experience the first entrance examination. I experienced mine when I was 15 years old. Our small town had 4 academic public high schools that prepare students who are aiming for national universities and we knew that it was the first step we needed to take in order to pass the college exam….I studied and I got into one of four high schools. It wasn’t that bad but I definitely didn’y understand what I was getting myself into when I first started. I still remember that teachers rounding us up telling us that “we must put everything on hold for now…until we pass the college entrance exam to enter into the national university. Our high school takes pride in high number of admitted students into national and prestigious private schools. That was a lot of pressure. We stayed long hours in school, outside the schools, and we had to come to school over the weekend to take practice tests (mock exams)…I should say. lol I was exhausted and it really was a battle…exam battle or war Japanese words say. (jyuken sensou)
So usually Japanese students are burned out from studying by the time they enter into the university of their dream or their choice, they had put everything on hold in high school so finally they want to have fun, date, party, drink, focus on traveling, social activities…anything young people want to do. In my case, I moved to California to go to college so the study pace was very different. I actually had to study and attend all classes to graduate. My friends from Japan who got into the university of their choice were focused on dates, and even having someone else sign off the sign-in sheet for the class. LOL I am sure that you have seen this in one of the Japanese TV drama show.
Conclusion: There are definitely pros and cons of this system. People who don’t do under the pressure won’t survive the nasty entrance examination war. At the same time, these people who survived the test and manage to get into top schools such as Tokyo and Kyo Universities are almost like geniuses! but what I like about American system is that students are more focused on taking each class seriously to maintain cumulative GPA. Japanese universities don’t really care about the student’s GPA as long as they are above 2.0.
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