In February, Buzzfeed prompted 3 of its employees to try their hands at the English section of South Korea’s college entrance exams. The test sample was from 2011, a year that incurred a landmark amount of incorrect answers.
The test-takers were all Ivy League graduates from schools like UC Berkeley, Yale, and Stanford. Upon seeing the questions, they immediately noticed that the questions were wordier and more complicated than the ones on the American SATs.
Prior to starting the test, Buzzfeed also revealed some worrying facts about the South Korean education system. Though South Korea ranks #1 in overall “cognitive skills and scholastic achievement,” their success comes with a price. Most students only get 5.5 hours of sleep per night, as opposed to thirteen hours of study. As such, the pressure exerted on students compromises their health and happiness.
Most shockingly, 53% of suicidal youths cite “inadequate” performance in school as the cause.
All 3 of the employees answered the first correctly, and 2 of 3 answered the second correctly. Meanwhile, less than a third of South Korean students could find the correct answer for either of these questions.
However, unlike the test’s intended audience, Buzzfeed employees are all native English speakers. Still, they found the questions to be abstract, confusing, and needlessly long. It’s no wonder that so many struggled with the 2011 exam.
These questions are much longer than typical SAT questions. They’re also much more melodramatic. What exactly is a “midwife of thought”?
These questions are also very circular. In terms of readability, they’re almost impossible to follow. A buzzfeed employee noted that some sentences seem to come from different passages altogether.
Did you guess the correct answers? How would you have scored on the South Korean College Scholastic Ability Test?
Watch the full video below: