Universities in Vietnam adding new exams to admissions process

Several universities in Vietnam are adding ‘General ability’ tests, which they have designed themselves, in addition to the results of national high school examinations when selecting students. The move is said to help institutions choose students with sufficient talent to master their training programmes. Candidates can voluntarily apply for the tests, which are usually taken before or after the national high school examination.

New exam proves popular

The Vietnam National University–HCM City (VNU HCM) plans to hold the test in March and in July. The test, with 120 multiple-choice questions, is divided into three parts:

  1.  Language proficiency in Vietnamese and English.
  2.  Maths, logic and data analysis.
  3.  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 2019. Last year – the first time the university used such a test – about 4,900 candidates applied.

Moreover, 18 universities and colleges (compared to 8 in 2018) have registered to use the results of VNU HCM’s test for enrolling students.

“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.

Enrolment quotas changing

In 2019, the university set aside 40% of its enrolment quota for students who pass its general ability tests, compared to 20% last year, and other higher education institutions are following suit:

  • The HCM City University of Food Industry used VNU HCM City’s general ability test results to enrol 10% of its total students.
  • The Hong Bang International University also set aside 30% of its enrolment 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.

Meanwhile, the HCM City University of Law has its own tests to select promising candidates. The university enrols 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 and added that many students with high scores in the national high school examination did not show such good performance.

Exam reform in Vietnam

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. In 2019, the exam will take 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% of their high school graduation score while their average performance score in 12th grade accounts for 30%. Last year, the proportion was 50-50.

Source: The Voice of Vietnam