An entrance examination is an examination that many educational institutions use to select students for admission. These exams may be administered at any level of education, from primary to higher education, although they are more common at higher levels.
The National Higher Education Entrance Examination (or gaokao) is an academic examination held annually in the mainland of the People's Republic of China. This examination is a prerequisite for entrance into almost all higher education institutions at the undergraduate level. It is usually taken by students in their last year of secondary school, although there has been no age restriction since 2001.
In 2006, a record high of 9.5 million people applied for tertiary education entry in China. 8.8 million of them (93%) are scheduled to take the national entrance exam; 27,600 (0.28%) have been exempted from standardized exams (保送) due to exceptional or special talent. The rest (0.7 million) will take other standardized entrance exams, such as those designed for adult education students.
The overall mark received by the student is generally a weighted sum of their subject marks. The maximum possible mark varies wildly from year to year, and also varies from province to province.
In Japan the National Center Test for University Admissions is a nationally standardized entrance exam for higher education that 3rd year high school students or high school graduates take in an attempt to meet admission requirements of the school or schools of their choice. High school students, especially 3rd year students focus almost solely on preparations for the exam, in an attempt to enter the most prestigious universities in the country. Often students attend a cram school which is also known as juku in Japan in order to prepare as much as they can for the exam.
The College Scholastic Ability Test also known as Suneung (수능) is a type of standardized test accepted by all South Korean universities. Suneung is managed by the Korea Institute of Curriculum and Evaluation. The test is offered on the second Thursday of November. Often, students are escorted by police, especially if students don't think they will arrive at the test centre on time. Since the test is used as an entrance examination for all universities in South Korea, the preparation for it is so secure and strict that since its beginnings from 1993, Suneung questions were never leaked. Questions are made by chosen professors and teachers, who are locked in a hotel with blacked windows, no communication and a full library of questions until the end of Suneung.
In Vietnam, a complex system exists to enable students to graduate from generally three stages of academic education. Intermediate education (Vietnamese: trung học cơ sở, grade 6-9), secondary education (Vietnamese: trung học phổ thông, grade 10-12) and higher education (Vietnamese: Ðại học) all require examinations to graduate. These examinations are homogenous throughout Vietnam.
The IGE (Intermediate Graduation Score) is a prerequisite entrance exam which allows students to enroll to a school depending on their score. During high school, some students enroll in a specialized class which they can only enter by passing a class entrance exam, consisting of a mathematics exam, literature exam and an exam of a subject of the student's choice, excluding technology, civics and personal development. Generally students in Year 11 are required to study grade 12 subjects in addition and some also study university level subjects in preparation of their High Graduation Examination (HGE). The HGE is administered by Ministry of Education and Training. Approximately one million students sit the HGE in late May or early June annually. In preparation of all entrance exams, students are pushed to attend extensive tutoring sessions.
University entrance is entirely based on the score achieved in the entrance examination. The students need high scores to enter the university of their choice. In 2004, approximately 1 million students attended the exam and only 20% passed. The exams are complex and require extreme and extensive tutoring in addition to having previously enrolled in specialized subjects during high school. In addition to the entrance exam, the evaluation of results during high school and HGE scores are required to assess students upon their entrance to a university.
Entrance examinations are mainly taken by the students who have just passed their School Level Certificate or SLC (sophomore year) to get to study in reputed high schools (+2) within the country and by the high school graduates to get to pursue undergraduate level higher studies in the renowned colleges affiliated to reputed universities.
In Nepal, there are many colleges and universities which are graded as top class. Some of the popular universities of Nepal are:-
1. Tribhuvan University (TU)
It is the oldest and most famous university of Nepal. It has many dedicated branches like:-
(a) Institute of Engineering (IoE)
(b) Institute of Medicine (IoM)
(c) Institute of Science & Technology (IoST)
2. Purwanchal University
3. Pokhara University
- For different systems of syllabi, testing and grading refer to the different systems of Indian Education and Grading
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In India, entrance examinations are chiefly confined to medicine, engineering, and management. These range from the BITS Pilani admission test and IIT-JEE where only one in a hundreds can hope to get admission to state level entrances which are many and varied. The stiff competition has led to a situation where many students neglect their school studies and focus solely on 'entrance coaching' which is time-consuming and expensive. This has led many states to scrap the entrances and base admissions on the school leaving marks which, unfortunately are none too reliable. Experts point out that in a country where many different boards are present common entrances are essential, but application skills rather than cramming should be stressed on. Frequent changes in the pattern of examination are essential since sticking to a 'standard text' or 'standard pattern' alone will favour the coaching industry and the rote-learners.
Entrance Examinations in India trace their roots to the University of Calcutta, which when established in 1857, introduced the practice to decide eligibility for admission. In that exam, one student was passed in every four candidates. From Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka only 219 student was qualified. Only 162 was passed from the Bangladesh, Pakistan, Assam, Tripura, Meghalaya, Bihar, Jharkhand, Odisha, Uttar Pradesh, Madhaya Pradesh. In the absence of a standardized school graduation examination, the University's entrance examinations were used as a substitute, known later as Matriculation examinations. Post-independence India has different systems of education whose syllabus and examination process are governed by both central and state-based statutory boards. Grades 10 and 12 which mark the culmination of secondary and higher secondary education, have standardized final examinations, referred to as the Secondary School Leaving Certificate (SSLC) examination after grade 10 (class X) and the Higher Secondary Examination(HSC) after grade 12 .
Apart from the secondary and higher secondary examinations, various universities have their own admission and qualification criteria. These may be organized and conducted by the universities themselves, by an examination board related to an affiliated group of universities. There has been some attempt at standardization at the central level with common examinations like the CAT and AIEEE now commonly recognized by universities.
Typically, entrance examinations for universities tend to be:
- competitive - i.e. examinations are ranked and choices of university and course are given in the ascending order of rank. Standard practices like waiting lists are accounted in. This differs from SSLC and HSC in that there is no grading threshold for passing the examination.
- objective - i.e. based on multiple choice questions. The rationale is as much to save work on evaluating millions of candidates using automated means as to balance out the effect of subjective scores on conventional (long-answer) papers that a student faces in his HSC.
Some of these exams (particularly the UPSC's Engineering Services Examination (the toughest in India), BITS Pilani admission test, IIT-JEE, CAT and AIPMT) are considered among the toughest in the world, with lakhs of students competing for a few thousand seats.
It is not uncommon for a university to use multiple examinations for admission. Engineering schools in India usually admit 15% of their students through the national-level AIEEE and the remaining 85% based on their scores in the entrance exam conducted by the state in which the college is located. Government-run medical schools use a similar pattern, basing admissions on the candidate's rank at the All India Pre-Medical Test. The prestigious Indian Institutes of Management conduct a Common Admission Test for their applicants, but continue to consider the more common GMAT scores for foreign and non-resident applicants. The renowned Indian Institutes of Technology conduct the notoriously competitive IIT-JEE and the prestigious BITS Pilani conducts an online admission test BITSAT which attracts candidates from as far away as Dubai.
Recently, separate exams have been introduced for courses such as law and hotel management. Some colleges such as AIIMS and AFMC and many private medical colleges conduct their own entrance tests. However the college admission procedure in India remains somewhat controversial due to the presence of reservation of seats for "backward" castes.
After Baccalauréat examination, France examination process for undergraduate students includes nation-wide competitive exams prepared in specific prep course referred-to as Classe Préparatoire aux Grandes Écoles. These competitive examinations taken by undergraduate students are required for selective entrance into Graduate schools in science & engineering and into business schools.
One-half of British universities have lost confidence in the grades that are awarded by secondary schools, and require many applicants to sit for a competitive entrance examination or other aptitude test. According to the Schools Minister, “strong evidence has been emerging of grade inflation across subjects” in recent years.
For most colleges and universities in the United States, the SAT Reasoning Test and ACT are considered the examinations of choice for admissions at the undergraduate level. Postsecondary schools do not administer their own entrance exams.
Admissions into certain North American graduate schools are often partly determined by the results of the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) or Law School Admission Test (LSAT). The GRE (Graduate Record Examination) is one of the most popular admissions tests for general graduate school. Admission to medical residency programs is determined by the multi-step USMLE. The Miller Analogies Test is waning in popularity but is still used for admission to more language-oriented study.
Some American universities and many colleges have rejected these standardized tests. Instead, they evaluate prospective students solely through other means, such as an original essay or the marks the student received in a previous school. Others make the test optional or require students to take the test but do not consider its results in the admission process.
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- Selective education
- Competitive examination
- Standardized test
- Aptitude test
- High-stakes test
- List of admission tests to colleges and universities
- "Three Stage of Education (Bengali)". The Daily Prothom Alo (Bengali). Retrieved 11 August 2013.
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- Paton, Graeme (13 July 2012). "More students forced to sit university admissions tests". The Telegraph. Retrieved 14 July 2012.