Thousands flock to first-stage college entry tests

HOPEFULS: More than 160,000 young people turned up to be tested on their basic academic abilities, with some getting police escorts after showing up at the wrong site


Mon, Jan 23, 2006 - Page 2

The first stage of the college entrance examinations was held yesterday with more than 160,000 students throughout the country taking the tests.

Several incidents of students arriving at the wrong test centers early yesterday morning and being rushed to the correct locations by police escorts were reported by the Chinese-language TV media.

Yesterday's exam, called the Basic Proficiency Test, was developed by the College Entrance Examination Center (CEEC) and is the first stage of college exams, which are held every January.

The exam, which included questions on Chinese, English, mathematics, social sciences and natural sciences, tests the fundamental ability of the students.

With the scores from the first-stage exams, students may apply to college departments if they have fulfilled the requirements set by the departments they are interested in.

If they are not accepted by the colleges based on first-stage exam scores, students are then expected to take the Designated Subject Examination, which is an advanced test of each individual subject. In these exams, for example, chemistry, biology and physics are separate from the "natural sciences" category.

According to media reports, the number of physically disabled test-takers was higher than ever yesterday.

Head of the first test district Hung Tai-hsiung (洪泰雄) said that disabled students were provided with the best environment possible. Blind students were placed in a separate room lest the clicking of their Braille typewriters affect others, Hung said.

Rachel Tsai, a test-room supervisor, said that many students brought lucky charms to the exams.

One student had a huge red charm hanging around his neck, Tsai said. The color red is considered to be lucky in Taiwanese culture.

Last week, anxious parents and students lined up at Lungshan Temple and other temples nationwide, to pray for luck.

A mother surnamed Liu said that she had bought celery and scallions for the gods, since they were homonyms in Mandarin for "smart" and "clear."

Tsai added that many anxious parents tried to follow their children into the classrooms but were shooed out.

Lots of students were also late, she said.