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The Center Test

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Examinations in Japan

The Japanese education system is dominated by examinations and a test-taking culture. As is common in East Asian and South East Asian societies, the competition of getting into higher education creates a “exam hell” that starts in the middle school years and continues into high school. The culmination is the university entrance challenge.

There are a number of frightening stories of over-worked students, stoic cram schools as well as an industry geared to producing various study aids for the test-takers.

In this Japanese language study blog by Yokozuka sensei, a professional teacher at JOI, she looks into one of the main aspects of the test-taking season. Read the Japanese, listen to the audio blog and watch the video as well as learn the Japanese vocabulary list at the bottom.

The Center Test



the center test

日本では、1月といえばお正月や成人式 があげられますが、もう一つ、受験生 にとって大切な大学入試センター試験の時期でもあります。センター試験とは、国公立大学 への入学条件となる全国一斉 学力テストで、2日間にわたっておこなわれます。今年は1月16日・17日におこなわれ、志願者 数はおよそ56万人だそうです。

国公立大学を受験する人は、原則 センター試験を受験しなければなりません。また私立大学の場合もセンター試験の成績が利用されることも多く、大学進学を考える受験生はほぼセンター試験を受験することになります。

正月が終わるとすぐにセンター試験があるので、ある学習塾 では、大みそか から正月にかけて受験のための特訓 をおこなったとのニュースもありました。受験生にとって1月は、たいへん忙しい時期なのですね。


To listen to this blog, please watch our Youtube video.


日本(にほん)では、1月(がつ)といえばお正月(しょうがつ)や成人式(せいじんしき) があげられますが、もう一(ひと)つ、受験生(じゅけんせい) にとって大切(たいせつ)な大学(だいがく)入試(にゅうし)センター試験(しけん)の時期(じき)でもあります。センター試験とは、国公立大学(こっこうりつだいがく) への入学(にゅうがく)条件(じょうけん)となる全国(ぜんこく)一斉(いっせい) 学力(がくりょく)テストで、2日間(ふつかかん)にわたっておこなわれます。今年(ことし)は1月16日・17日におこなわれ、志願者数(しがんしゃすう)はおよそ56万人(まんにん)だそうです。

国公立大学を受験(じゅけん)する人は、原則(げんそく) センター試験を受験しなければなりません。また私立大学(しりつだいがく)の場合(ばあい)もセンター試験の成績(せいせき)が利用(りよう)されることも多(おお)く、大学進学(しんがく)を考(かんが)える受験生はほぼセンター試験を受験することになります。

正月が終(お)わるとすぐにセンター試験があるので、ある学習塾(がくしゅうじゅく) では、大(おお)みそか から正月にかけて受験のための特訓(とっくん) をおこなったとのニュースもありました。受験生にとって1月は、たいへん忙(いそが)しい時期なのですね。


The Center Test

In Japan, when one speaks of January, one thinks of New Year's festivities and the Coming-of-age Ceremony which are held, but there is one more thing too, and this is the Center Test period which is a very important university entrance test for test-takers. The Center Test is a proficiency test and a condition for entering national, prefectural and other public universities and colleges and is held over a period of 2 days simultaneously across the country. It is being held on January 16th and 17th and the number of applicants this year. is approximately 560,000 people.

Those test-takers taking the public universities' tests must as a rule take the tests at designated test centers. And in the case of private colleges, there are many which also use the grades from the Center Test , so that almost all test-takers who are considering going onto university take the Center Test.

As soon as the New Year holiday is over, the Center Test is held, and it was on the news that at a certain private night cram school, they held an intensive study course from New Year's eve into the New Year. So as you can see, January is an especially busy season for test-takers.

How was your January ?

成人式 せいじんしき coming-of-age ceremony

受験生 じゅけんせい student preparing for or taking examinations (usu. entrance exams); test-taker;

国公立大学 こっこうりつだいがく national, prefectural and other public universities and colleges

一斉 いっせい simultaneous; all at once;

志願者 しがんしゃ applicant; candidate;

原則 げんそく principle; general rule;

学習塾 がくしゅうじゅく private night-school; tutoring school (math, English, etc.);

大みそか おおみそか New Year's Eve; December 31st;

特訓 とっくん special training; intensive training; crash course;


Konnichi-wa, everybody. I am originally from Ringo-no-ri in Aomori prefecture, but I am now living in Kakaa-tenka in Gunma prefecture. I've lived in several other of Japan's prefectures as well, including Niigata (which has gorgeous sunsets), Tochigi (where the Nikko Toshogu shrine is located), and Gifu (land of the famous Shirakawa-go area of historic rafter roofed houses).

I myself am studying Chinese, so I can really relate to the difficulty of learning a foreign language. But still, if we can get past that step and feel the excitement of having just a single word understood, the feeling of satisfaction that comes from communication is, no pun intended, beyond words. I'd like to invite everyone who visits our online Japanese school with the thought "I want to speak Japanese!" to join my classes. Until the day when you can say confidently, "I did it, I learned how to speak Japanese!", I promise to do my best to help you in your Japanese language studies.

Start 3 Trial FlexLessons for only $9 !

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