Testing times as South Korean students sit for college exam

"All I can do is pray as his mom and I came out here hoping that he can manage his condition well and get a good score he wants," she said.

The November event, which includes mathematics, sciences and languages tests, sees the country ground to a halt each year.

For 25 minutes, when the listening portion of the English test is administered, the takeoff and landing of aircraft are put on hold and bus drivers travelling near test sites are discouraged from sounding their horns.

Police vehicles and motorcycles were enlisted to escort students running late to the exam.

Financial markets opened an hour later and office workers were advised to be at work later than usual to allow students to get to the exam venue in smoother traffic.

At test sites, students arrived with mixed feelings of concern and anticipation of liberation when the exam is behind them.

"I won't get nervous and I will work hard to solve problems in exams as I've beenĀ preparing," said Lee Se-la, 19, steeling herself for the day-long test.