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New exam may lower A-list school threshold

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- The new special high school admissions exam that takes place this weekend could lower the threshold to enter A-list schools for this year's junior high school graduates, a director of Jingwen High School said yesterday.

According to local reports, there are less than 15,000 students signed up to take the first ever special high school admission exam in the seven admission districts, making it the smallest-sized high school admission exam in the nation's history.

However, according to the director of Jingwen High School Cho Yi-hsiang, the rates of acceptance for the two top high schools, Taipei Municipal Jinguo High School and Taipei First Girls High school, will reach a record high in the Taipei, New Taipei City and Keelung areas.

Based on the number of slots that the two schools released, Cho said that students whose grades from the special high school admissions exam exceed percentile rank (PR) 83 could be accepted by the two top schools.

Cho also said that the Affiliated Senior High School of National Taiwan Normal University, which is usually considered the second best high school in Northern Taiwan, could accept students whose grades are above PR77.

In order to be accepted by Taipei First Zhongshan Girls High School and Taipei Chenggong High School, Cho said that students have to have at least PR63 from the special high school admission exam.

Many junior high school principles and directors suggested that students should avoid applying for schools that they do not wish to attend so there will be more slots left for others.

Analysis Ability Required for English Exam

In order to receive good grades from the special high school admission English exam, analytical thinking is required, Taipei Municipal Xingya Junior High School teacher Lin Shu-yuan said yesterday.

According to the English portion of this year's special high school admissions exam, there are questions about typhoons that ask students to determine the correct typhoon path based on a given description.

Another question from the English exam talks about the story behind clothes manufacturing facilities and the human rights of laborers.

Lin said that the special high school admissions exam emphasizes students' ability to make flexible use of what they have learned in class; so for students who have been practicing for the tests instead of understanding the context of what they have learned, the exam will be difficult.

Some students who took the exam in the Taipei, New Taipei City and Keelung areas said that the exam is harder than the first national high school admissions exam that took place earlier, but it was not as difficult as they imagined.

The junior high school students' test results will be divided into three levels of “A,” “B” and “C.” Level A stands for “excellent,” B stands for “average” and C stands for “below average.”

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