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27% of Taiwan university entrance exam participants not first-time test takers

Taiwan records highest percentage of repeat test takers in 2020 Advanced Subjects Test

Many participants in July's Advanced Subjects Test were high school graduates of previous years. 

Many participants in July's Advanced Subjects Test were high school graduates of previous years.  (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Nearly 27 percent of test takers in this year's Advanced Subjects Test (AST, 大學入學指定科目考試) for university entrance were high school graduates from previous years, according to statistics provided by the Taiwan College Entrance Examination Center (CEEC) on Friday (July 17).

After releasing results for the latest round of the college entrance exam, which due to a delay in the start of the semester caused by COVID-19 was postponed to July 3-5, the CEEC said 26.87 percent of AST examinees had taken the entrance exam before. This was the highest percentage of individuals retaking the AST in Taiwan's history, according to Liberty Times.

The CEEC pointed out that 43,748 students had registered for the 2020 exam, 5,363 fewer than last year. Of all the test takers, 31,996 were fresh high school graduates, while 11,758 were individuals who had received their high school diplomas in previous years.

Meanwhile, CEEC Director Chou Chao-min (周兆民) noted that more students had registered to be tested in chemistry, physics, and biology than in social studies subjects such as history and geography.

In response to the significant increase of repeat test takers, Chou said studies had found a high percentage of university students in Taiwan expressed regret for choosing the wrong major. He said he believes students should spend an extra year pursuing their dream majors rather than wasting four years studying subjects they are not interested in, reported UDN.

According to the CEEC, the AST is offered in July every year to assess students' higher-level knowledge of specific subjects and readiness to study in their selected academic discipline. A total of 10 subjects are included in the AST, and students must take a minimum of three subject tests to be considered for university admission.