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Television [Saturday 19 Mar 2011 at 11:46 pm]
Owen
Watching Skins, I wonder. Do Brits usually leave secondary school at seventeen and attend a special A-levels "college" school for two years? Then do they apply to university for three or four years to pick up a bachelor degree? Is that the only way into university? And do they usually have to pay tuition to these two-year programs?

In The USA, most kids headed for higher education proceed at seventeen or eighteen to university right from free four year high school programs. Very few universities prefer or require achievement or aptitude tests like A-levels, though, and fewer yet take them seriously. The very idea of an important national test is very strange to me.

***

I watched the Korean production J.S.A. - Joint Security Area (공동경비구역 JSA). I thought it was going to be an action movie, but it wasn't. It was the ultimate bromance flick. Soldiers from the DPRK (North Korea) and RoK (South Korea) who man a closed border post (they're all closed border posts) hang out together smoking and drinking and playing games through long guard shifts out in the DMZ. Awkward political moments crop up pretty often as they must but the magical power of guys just hanging out together overcomes all troubles. Of course it's all purely hetero tough guy stuff with none of that 'subtext' I've heard about on eljay. Finally, as in real Korea life, politics asserts itself and you cry at the end.

***

Inscrutible foreign lands, Brittanica and Korea. I'd like to visit but it's too much trouble to pick up the languages. What's the difference between peckish, pissed, and knackered again?
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Comments:
[User Picture]From: zanthinegirl
Sunday 20 Mar 2011 at 06:55 am (UTC)
Very few universities prefer or require achievement or aptitude tests like A-levels, though, and fewer yet take them seriously. The very idea of an important national test is very strange to me.

Where did you go to school? I had to take the SAT, and where I went to college was heavily dependent on my scores!
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[User Picture]From: owenthurman
Monday 21 Mar 2011 at 11:14 pm (UTC)
I went to school in a state where class rank was by far the most important factor. Some state university systems like CA emphasize GPA while others like TX focus more on class rank. I don't know of any that place much store in SAT scores. CA, for instance, the last time they published a formula at Cal gave 4000-5000 points for GPA and 1200-1800 for SAT and Achievement test scores.

At the top Stanford/Yale level the admissions criteria in order are 1. racial balance, 2. sports, 3. family influence, 4. teacher connections and recommendations, 5. extracurricular activities, 6. GPA and class schedule, 7. SATs and other tests.

National and regional top-notch universities in Japan, France, Korea, England, China, Ireland, Mexico, Canada, &c, &c put a tough national test as the first criterion so I find the emphasis in the USA peculiar. Nevertheless, they don't exactly ignore the SAT.
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