82-year-old who never missed a class takes S. Korea’s college entrance exam


An 82-year-old grandmother was cheered by her classmates as she headed to sit for South Korea's College Scholastic Ability Test (CSAT), or Suneung, this week.

Full support: Kim Jeong-ja came to Seoul Girls’ High School in Mapo, western Seoul, on Thursday to take the CSAT. The test, which can last for up to eight hours, is considered one of the toughest exams in the world.

Kim is the oldest person to take the exam this year, according to reports. Classmates from the Ilsung Women’s High School cheered and expressed their support as she walked to the testing site.

About the test-taker: Born to a poor family with eight children in Japan in 1941, Kim and her family moved to South Korea at the end of Japanese colonial rule. She never had the chance to attend school as the Korean War broke out five years later.

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She told reporters she could never even dream of attending college due to their financial situation. But after years passed and her own children have grown, she finally found the time to study. She enrolled at Ilsung Women’s High School five years ago and never missed a single class.

What's next: Kim hopes to study English in college so she can speak to her grandchildren in the U.S. In an appearance on the TV show “You Quiz on the Block 2,” she recalled an incident at an airport in which she cried after missing her daughter’s flight to the U.S. because she could not read Korean and English to locate her departure gate.

About the CSAT: The CSAT tests a student’s aptitude in math, science, history and languages, among other subjects. The South Korean government announced a plan in June to cut back on the test's "killer questions," or complex items that are not part of the public school curriculum.

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