SEOUL, Nov. 23 (Xinhua) -- South Korean students took an annual college entrance exam, seen as the all-important test in the education-obsessed society, on Thursday with government measures taken to reschedule the morning rush hour and control traffic.
The College Scholastic Ability Test (CSAT) was originally scheduled a week earlier, but it was delayed as the country's second-biggest ever earthquake hit the southeastern region.
Some of school buildings were damaged so badly where students could not take the all-important exam.
The CSAT, which started at 8:40 a.m. local time, would run through 5:40 p.m. at 1,180 test sites nationwide, according to the education ministry.
This year, a total of 593,527 high school students and graduates registered to take the nine-hour exam, which was believed to determine their course of life and future professions.
The score a student earns from the test is a key decider of college entrance. In the South Korean society, graduating from a prestigious university is crucial to obtaining a successful job.
Under government orders, companies and public offices opened an hour later than usual to alleviate a traffic jam during a morning rush hour. The local bourse also opened an hour later.
Buses and subways extended rush-hour services to help all test-takers arrive on time, while traffic was restricted by police within 200 meters of test centers.
All airplane takeoffs and landings will be suspended for 25 minutes from 1:10 p.m. during the listening section of an English exam as part of the noise-control measures.
The CSAT consists of five sections, including the Korean language, mathematics, English, the Korean history and natural sciences and the second foreign language and Chinese character.