The education ministry last year announced it would change the common testing system for universities, starting in 2020. A major change is expected to be made to the English-language component of the exam. Applicants will be asked to take English tests developed by commercial testing companies for the preliminary evaluation. The main reason for the change is that the ministry wants to emphasize interactive communication, specifically speaking and writing, in the evaluation of students’ English skills. The current English test concentrates on listening and reading.

According to the National Center for University Entrance Examinations, the ministry has selected eight companies whose tests they would accept for university admission purposes, which means applicants will have to pay more money in their quest to gain entrance to national schools, anywhere from about ¥6,000 to more than ¥25,000 for each test they sit.

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