From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

Jaesusaeng (Hangul재수생; Hanja) is a Korean term for high school students who decide to spend a year studying to re-take the College Scholastic Ability Test, hoping to get a higher score and enter the Korean university of their choice.[1] Attending university has a major impact on their future careers.[2] The equivalent term in Japan is rōnin.

Social context[edit]

Gaining entrance to the extremely competitive and prestigious SKY universities in Seoul requires that some students become jaesusaeng after an initial less-than-stellar performance on the national exam. Korea is "prepossessed by social status and reputation," and a SKY education is the main way to gain social status.[3]

Generally, the public education system is not enough to prepare students for the exam, so most students attend after school lessons at various hagwon (cram schools). The fierce competition for enrollment at prestigious universities is called "entrance exam war" (Hangul:입시전쟁; Hanja: ).


The stress from constant study and limited social life as a student have contributed to an increase in suicide in South Korea; for children aged 10 to 19 years old, suicide is the second most common cause of death in the country.[3]

Related term[edit]

When a student fails to earn an adequate score over 3 or more years, he may be derisively referred to as a jangsusaeng (Hangul: 장수생; Hanja: , literally "long life student") a play on words from the expression "Please live a long life" said to elders (장수 하세요). However, since 2010, the word "N susaeng"(Hangul: 엔수생; Hanja: N 壽生) is in common use. Although the definition of the word and the use of it is identical to the formerly used vocabulary, the Chinese character '長', which is read 'jang' and corresponds to the adjective 'long', is replaced with the alphabet 'N', which stands for the undefined number of time the student is taking the test.

See also[edit]