Wednesday, November 9, 2011


... You, too, can be a 수능달인, suneung dalin or Korean SAT expert. Just eat our glutinous rice cakes!

For a mere W 20,000, you are sure to get the university acceptance letter you desire, with this collection of lucky baked goods from Tous les Jours.

E-Mart seems to specialize in chocolate products to improve one's suneung score, from Dr. Yoo to Hershey's to Ferrero Rocher. The Ferrero Rocher display is all about the "Golden Bell", a TV quiz show. According to this article, other products you can buy to boost your suneung expertise include a math-formula cushion to enhance your bedtime studies, portable oxygen tanks, and a suneung watch which makes no disruptive ticking sound--and also indicates when test-takers should move on to the next section.

The "D-1" on the Golden Bell display, by the way, is the countdown of days left before the big exam. Yes, it's tomorrow!

The suneung exam is a spectacularly big deal in Korea; the second Thursday in Novemember is the one time the university entrance exam is offered, and it is therefore the one day to which every high school student's whole academic career has been building.

Students and their families and their schools try to obtain every possible advantage, naturally. Special study mats, yeot and beef-octopus porridge might not help, but they might, so why risk it?

My high school only met during first period today, for two reasons: 1) underclassmen need to clean up the school, since SAT-takers will be arriving for the exam tomorrow; and, 2) so they can then go set up cheering groups at the school where the seniors will go to take their exam (somewhere in Yeongdeungpo-gu).

Tomorrow is a school holiday, except for the unfortunate seniors, and most businesses will open late to decrease traffic congestion, in order to make sure seniors can get to their testing site on time.

That's another reason the school day is so short today: seniors have to go scope out their testing site to make sure there is no confusion tomorrow. So in addition to seeing wandering, out-of-place students, you see signs like these, at least in the subway:

At the entrance to the school was posted this board, being examined by one of our students. It indicates where they are to go for their exam tomorrow, and also maps out the locations for students coming to Young-il as their testing site.

Good luck! Eat your omega-3s tonight, and get to sleep early--preferably on your math-formula pillow!

1 comment:

Andrew Lasher said...

Since you mentioned Golden Bell, I have to share my 2009 appearance on the show.

Also, although you didn't mention it, my favorite suneung gift is a hatchet. The verb for chopping (찍다) is the same as the verb for guessing an answer on a multiple choice test. I guess it is supposed to bring good luck for the questions students need to guess on.