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Foreign students on Sunday took the first of new biannual tests for non-Japanese seeking admission to Japanese universities.

The Association for International Education, Japan — an education ministry affiliate — administered the test.

The examination was held simultaneously in Japan and overseas. It is aimed at evaluating the Japanese language proficiency and basic academic abilities of students who want to study at Japanese universities at the undergraduate level, the association said.

The examination combines a former yearly general examination for foreign students with an annual Japanese proficiency examination, which foreign students were required to take by many universities and other higher education institutions in Japan. The association combined them so foreign students would not have to take two tests.

The test was conducted in 15 Japanese cities and 10 cities in Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam. Some 8,500 people took the test.

The biannual test will take place in June and November and will be used for admissions to 204 universities and 42 junior colleges in Japan. Almost half of the national universities will use the test for admissions for foreign students.

The test is available in Japanese or English and includes topics such as Japanese as a foreign language, science, and mathematics. Applicants are asked to select subjects based on the requirements of the Japanese university they wish to enter.

More than half the applicants who took the test in Japan are Chinese. The tests, however, were not held in China.

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