The annual ritual of the entrance exam is once again upon Japan. Though the nature of knowledge, skills and social usefulness has changed tremendously over the past decades, Japan's exam system has scarcely changed at all.

The entrance exam system needs substantial, forward-looking changes before other parts of the education system can be reformed. Without changing these exams, other meaningful reforms are unlikely to take place.

The exams still largely focus on testing what knowledge students have acquired, rather than looking at aptitude and potential. Unfortunately what students can acquire as memorized information and their test-taking skills at the age of 18 will be of little help later in a fast-changing society.