Sitting an exam in Japan

I was a bit concerned about sitting the exam last week because there was a booklet full of rules and regulations sent before it. At least they make it easy for you to know if you have been disqualified. The football system of red and yellow cards is used which is probably much easier than trying to understand the Japanese and makes it easier for those adjudicating the exam. Everyone in my exam room behaved impeccably. No cards were handed out as everyone sat in silence, no phones went off, booklets were opened at the correct time, everyone stopped writing when they were told to and no one ate or drank.

I am used to eating during an exam and found it strange that I couldn’t have anything to chew on. There isn’t a lot of time during the exam so in the end I didn’t miss having a packet of sweets but I would have liked to have had a bottle of water as I did start to feel uncomfortable during the longer grammar and reading test.

There is a lot of sitting around as the instructions are played via CD very slowly before each test. And everything has to be checked and double-checked. Even at the end of each test you have to sit for around 10 minutes whilst the adjudicators count the number of mark sheets and test booklets, as these are not allowed to be removed from the room by those taking the test. I assume all the additional time at the start is there to make sure they have enough time to fix a problem if something goes wrong.

There was only one problem during the test. After the starting instructions for the grammar test one of the adjudicators forgot to switch off the CD player and he accidentally played the track telling us that we only had five minutes left. As it happened so early in the exam it just made everyone laugh and the exam continued.

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