National

University entrance exam to focus only on English reading and listening skills

Kyodo

The standardized university entrance exam will test only English reading and listening skills in the 2020 academic year beginning in April, while placing more emphasis on listening than current exams, the government-backed exam-setter said Friday.

The National Center for University Entrance Examinations will stick to its plan of focusing on the two skills, details of which were released in June, even though the launch of private-sector English proficiency tests has been postponed.

In June, the center said it will eliminate exam questions aimed at indirectly gauging writing and speaking skills in line with the introduction of private-sector tests which check reading, listening, writing and speaking skills.

Since the government decided to delay the launch of the new program until around the 2024 academic year, the center has been studying whether it needs to revise the content in its English-language component of the exam.

For the 2021 academic year, the center will present its exam coverage plan around next June.

In the new exam, questions indirectly testing speaking and writing levels via pronunciation, accent and sentence arrangements will be eliminated as previously planned, according to the center.

The score for the existing standardized exam totals 250 points, comprised of 200 points for written parts and 50 points for listening. The score for the new exam will total 200 points, broken into 100 points for reading and 100 points for listening.

The introduction of private-sector English proficiency tests was delayed earlier this month following a gaffe made by education minister Koichi Hagiuda.