New university entrance exams to test ability to think


The education ministry has unveiled an outline of new university entrance examinations featuring questions designed to gauge the applicants’ ability to think.

The new system will replace the National Center Test for University Admissions, also known as the sentaa shiken, in fiscal 2020, officials said Thursday. The test is mostly used by public schools. Private schools use their own exams.

To check students’ ability to think and express themselves, the new exams will have questions using long sentences, while answers will require long written answers instead of the multiple-choice questions common in the current system.

The ministry plans to include difficult questions so the new tests can be used by top-notch universities as well. They will include questions on mathematics and science, and those combining factors related to Japanese and world history to gauge comprehensive historical understanding.

The ministry also plans to introduce nationwide basic academic achievement tests in fiscal 2019 for second- and third-year high school students.

These tests will begin with three subjects — Japanese, mathematics and English. Science and social studies will be added around fiscal 2023, when new teaching guidelines will be introduced.

Both the new university entrance exams and high school achievement tests will be held multiple times a year.

A panel of experts under the ministry will hold discussions on the new test formats and draw up an interim report in August.

  • Ron Lane

    Long questions requiring long answers will somehow test students’ ability to think? This may be an improvement over multiple choice tests, but this article doesn’t explain why that may be true. But as monbusho is in charge of developing these exams, it’s safe to say the blind are leading the blind so I wouldn’t get my hopes up.