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Japan to hold standardized univ. exam as scheduled, makeup test pushed back 1 week

Students try on face shields at a public junior high school in the Aichi Prefecture city of Miyoshi on May 21, 2020. Parts of the image have been altered. (Mainichi/Koji Hyodo)

TOKYO -- Japan's education ministry on June 17 held discussions with high school and university officials and agreed to hold the new standardized university admission exam according to schedule on Jan. 16 and 17 next year.

However, the makeup exam, which is usually held a week after the main test, will be held two weeks after the admission exam, pushing it back one week from its initial plan. The change is due to gaps in how far students have proceeded in their curriculum as a result of school closures during the novel coronavirus outbreak.

The new standardized university exam will be held from this academic year, taking the place of the previous National Center Test for University Admissions. Makeup tests will be held for students who are considered to be behind their academic schedule due to prolonged school closures in addition to students who could not take the exam due to sickness and other reasons, but details on the matter are yet to be decided.

The education ministry does not plan to adjust scores between the main exam and the makeup test. Though individual universities' entrance tests will be held according to schedule from Feb. 1 next year, the ministry will ask that academic facilities provide opportunities for students to take the test, such as by holding makeup exams.

The start of applications for a type of exam formerly known as AO admissions and is based on the assessment of various skills will be pushed back to Sept. 15 from Sept. 1 this year, to secure the time needed to evaluate examinees based on their activities during the third year in high school. Acceptance of applications for tests for candidates recommended by their high schools will start on Nov. 11 this year, as planned.

Since many high school students are worried about being behind the academic schedule, the ministry also asks that each university take measures such as narrowing the scope of studies subject to their entrance exams out of consideration for exam takers. The current admission test schedule may change accordingly if the beginning of the university school year shifts from April due to a second wave of coronavirus infections or for any other reasons.

(Japanese original by Akira Okubo and Kohei Chiwaki, City News Department)

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