Nov 16, 2017 at 12:00am ET By Alyssa Walker

Student and parents spend months preparing for South Korea’s university entrance exam.

On Wednesday, November 15, for the first time in history, South Korea delayed its university entrance exam after a 5.4 magnitude earthquake shook the country.

The exam will now be held on November 23.

In an article in the Straits Times Minister of Education Kim Sang Kon said, “A fair amount of damage was reported. Due to the continued aftershocks, we’re seeing many citizens, including students, unable to return home.”

The annual exam, sometimes referred to as “life assignment exam,” often puts the whole country on hold. Commercial airliners do not fly during listening portions of the exam and financial markets stay open later in the day to ensure that students can get to their exam centers on time without traffic.

While many Koreans support the postponement, many test-takers felt awful.

In an article on Reuters, 20-year old test-taker Cho Hyun-lee said, “It’s a bit hellish thinking I have to do this for one more week. People are dispirited, lying with their faces down.” 

Incheon high school senior Lee Yoon-mi said, “It feels like I was turning the handle on the exit door from hell then returned to square one.” 

“If you’re not a test-taker, you could never understand.”

The earthquake, felt across much of the country, damaged or destroyed over 1,000 buildings, homes, and vehicles.

Learn more about studying in South Korea.

Alyssa Walker is a freelance writer, educator, and nonprofit consultant. She lives in the White Mountains of New Hampshire with her family.

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