Universities include general ability tests to enroll students

In addition to results of national high school examinations, universities will add general ability tests to select students.

High school students learn about national high school examinations and university enrollment at an orientation day held on March 17 at the Hanoi University of Science and Technology.

The move is said to help the institutions choose students with sufficient talent to master the universities’ training programmes as the universities design specific tests by themselves.

Candidates can voluntarily apply for the tests, which are usually taken before or after the national high school examination.

The Vietnam National University–HCM City (VNU HCM) plans to hold the test this month and in July. The test, with 120 multiple-choice questions, is divided into three parts. The first part tests the candidates’ language proficiency in Vietnamese and English.

The second part relates to maths, logic and data analysis, requiring candidates to use knowledge they are taught in high school.

The third part concerns chemistry, physics, biology, and humanities.

According to the university’s director of the Centre for Testing and Training Quality Assessment Nguyen Quoc Chinh, points for every question in the test depend on its difficulty.

Chinh said that more than 36,000 candidates applied for the university’s general ability test in March while the test last year – the first time the university used such a test – about 4,900 candidates applied.

Moreover, 18 universities and colleges have registered to use the results of VNU HCM’s test for enrolling students. Last year, only eight other universities used the test results.

“The increased number of candidates and universities partly reflect the quality of the test and increase its prestige,” Chinh said.

The test also offered more opportunities for candidates to take training programmes of VNU HCM and its branches, he said.

This year, the university set aside 40 percent of its enrollment quota for students who pass its general ability tests. The rate of last year was only 20 percent.

The HCM City University of Food Industry this year uses VNU HCM City’s general ability test results to enroll 10 per cent of its total students. Director of the food industry university’s Enrollment and Communication Centre Phạm Thái Sơn said as universities could decide how to enroll students, they could attract suitable students.

Son applauded the general ability tests because universities were flexible in organising such tests.

The Hong Bang International University this year also set aside 30 percent of its enrollment quota for students who pass its general ability tests. Candidates are required to take two out of six tests – math, Vietnamese, physics, chemistry, biology and English – depending on the department they wish to attend.

The HCM City University of Law enrolls students based on their scores in the national high school examination, their performance over three years in high school and their results in the test conducted by the university.

Vice principal of the HCM City University of Law Tran Hoang Hai said that students who gained high scores in the university’s test usually demonstrated better performance at university.

Many students with high scores in the national high school examination did not show such good performance, Hai added.

He said the law university would continue using its own tests to select promising candidates.

Since 2015, the high school graduation and university entrance exams in Vietnam have been combined into one national exam called the national high school examination.

Candidates take three compulsory tests in maths, literature and foreign language and choose to take one of two optional tests – natural sciences (including physics, chemistry and biology) or social sciences (history, geography and citizenship). All the tests are multiple-choice except for the one in literature.

This year, it will be taken place from 24 to 27 June with some new changes. For example, the Ministry of Education and Training assigns universities and colleges to rate and oversee the rating process of multiple-choice tests while provinces and cities’ education departments are in charge in rating literature tests under the supervision of universities and colleges.

A student’s score at the national high school examination will account for 70 percent of their high school graduation score while their average performance score in 12th grade accounts for 30 percent.

Last year, the proportion between the two compositions was 50-50.

The changes are expected to fix shortcomings in previous national exams, especially last year’s exam which saw a serious cheating scandal in which scores of hundreds of students in three provinces of Hoa Binh, Son La and Ha Giang were modified upwards