TAIPEI, Taiwan - The national General Scholastic Ability Test , concluded yesterday, ending the two-day national exam that determines university admissions for local high school students.
Following the Mandarin, mathematics and social studies tests over the last few days, English and science were the examination subjects yesterday, with the former scheduled in the morning and the latter in the afternoon.
According to statistics from the Central News Agency, 146,035 students from 33 educational districts applied to take the science examination at one of the 3,579 test locations provided.
Reportedly, 69,491 students from 32 educational districts applied to take the English examination at one of the 2,010 test locations provided.
Exam students generally reflected that the English test this year was a lot harder than expected, with the inclusion of current issues such as the Ebola epidemic. Students said that the test materials required a strong vocabulary and an updated understanding of practical English that is used on a daily basis.
Students also said that the tests sought to gauge their comprehension of the language as well as their command of writing. For this year's translation questions, students were tasked with issues on food security and a company's humanitarian responsibilities.
The most difficult part of the English test, however, was reportedly the essay section.
This year's English essay asked students to select one of two fictional books, titled "Everyone Is Beautiful: Respect Others & Yourself," and "Leadership Is a Choice: Conquer Your Fears & You Can Be a Leader Too," as their make-believe summer reading material.
Students had to answer what the assumed selection would be about based on its given title as well as why the selected material was chosen
In response to test-taker complaints regarding the difficulty of this year's English test, some Taipei English teachers said that the tests this year aimed to incorporate a diverse range of topics, ranging from tai chi to the symbolic profundity of birds in different cultures.
Faculty members also agreed that the questions were phrased using challenging vocabulary that demanded students to put more efforts into critical thinking as well as comprehension, likely making this year's English test the hardest in the last five years.
Spider-Man a Science Topic in National Exam
Reportedly, in the spirit of this year's diverse range of materials covered in the General Scholastic Ability Test, topics such as 3G technology and Spider-Man were included in physics questions.
The Physics Teachers' Organisation of Taipei claimed that although the test had included materials that should be interesting to students, the exam this year was the hardest in three years.
Students would have to be familiar with the materials taught during their freshman and sophomore years to be able to secure a high grade.
While the subjects of biology and Earth science also received a substantial amount of updates based on current events, chemistry reportedly remained the same as in previous years.