3:24 pm - 11/17/2018

Can you pass the 2018 CSAT English test?



The English test of Korea's College Scholastic Aptitude Test (CSAT) is notoriously difficult ― so much so that many native English speakers (well-educated adults) have called it a "CRAZY" test after looking through some of the texts and questions put on test takers' desks.

This year's test, conducted on Thursday, is said to be "tougher to answer" compared with previous years.

Here are sample texts and questions from the 2018 CSAT English test.

Check your English ability with them ― and imagine how hard it is to live in Korea as high school students studying for the CSAT.


PS: Test takers were given 45 questions that needed to be answered in 70 minutes.


Q21. What does "refining ignorance" mean?

Answer: [Spoiler (click to open)]1


Q24. Choose the best headline for the below text.


Answer: [Spoiler (click to open)]5


Q32. Choose the most logically accurate sentence to fill in the blank.

Answer: [Spoiler (click to open)]5


Q34. Choose the most logically accurate sentence to fill in the blank.

Answer: [Spoiler (click to open)]2



Q37. Choose the best logical order of phrases following the text in the box.


Answer: [Spoiler (click to open)]5


You can download all texts, questions and answers here. The first test is the "odd numbered" test, followed by the "even numbered" one. The answers are at the end and are the same: "odd" answers first, then "even". The answers are the circled in the answer key. The questions in this post are all from the "even" test.




source: The Korea Times
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hpn88 17th-Nov-2018 11:58 pm (UTC)
I've seen so many of these but they amaze me every time. Idk if the average American HS student could do these tbh (maybe I'm underestimating American HS students but these are way harder than the ACT/SAT I took)
suntae 18th-Nov-2018 01:46 am (UTC)
I'm a high school teacher in the US and I'm pretty sure that 95% of my students would fail the hell out of this test :(
premonitioner 18th-Nov-2018 12:08 am (UTC)
the thing is, Korean students are taught what native speakers very often are not - in depth grammar rules, which is what this test heavily emphasises. and native speakers recognise that English is fluid, ever changing and imperfect, which this test does not allow for. I don't blame Koreans for feeling too stressed about making mistakes when speaking English, they're being taught English to pass this ridiculous test.
belintuchiha 18th-Nov-2018 02:37 am (UTC)

It’s like when people learn Spanish but then it’s so different to what actual people use on a daily basis. I think it happens a lot when learning a language, which is why people shouldn’t be teaching these textbook kind of language stuff imo, depending on the language ofc.

arysthaeniru 18th-Nov-2018 12:42 am (UTC)

I've seen worse English questions from previous years' CSATs--these, at least, are a lot easier to parse grammatically than I was expecting--but the vocabulary expected from this reading is really fucking hard!! These are definitely college level questions--for native speakers.


That being said, it is possible for native speakers of English. It's not a mess of terrible language like other years have been. These are sentences that make sense.

synatri 18th-Nov-2018 04:46 am (UTC)
i think when last year's questions were posted, several of them was one very, very long sentence with multiple commas, prepositions and conjunctions serving as a paragraph, which was so unnatural to read because no one wrote like that, not even science journals. I got some of those wrong because the sentences, while technically "grammatically correct", made absolutely no sense in the context of the topic at hand. At least this exam is a lot more sensible?

Edited at 2018-11-18 04:47 am (UTC)
minho_lover 18th-Nov-2018 01:55 am (UTC)
i actually got some right lol i feel for korean hs students, like damn some of them words are BIG
i know FOR SURE 6 years ago when i was in high school i wouldve prob got them all wrong!
fadeintoyou 18th-Nov-2018 02:34 am (UTC)
geez hot bed of big words and long sentences. I feel for those kids. I get they’re trying to test the kids but this isn’t the way to go. I mean in real life, in the real working world, they drill you into succinct sentences because busy bosses do not have the time to read through thesis.
belintuchiha 18th-Nov-2018 02:44 am (UTC)

I got most of them right and I’m not from an English speaking country but I’ve learned the language since I was 2 so I kind of consider it a second mother tongue.

Needless to say, if these people are taught English as an extra class and aren’t exposed to it like a native speaker, it’s not fair to be given such difficult exercises.

cxxl 18th-Nov-2018 02:54 am (UTC)
This test sounds so extra, I would hate it. The only time I’ve ever seen writing like this is in scholarly articles where they were obviously filling space.
Also as someone who has had difficulties with processing information, a test like this with a time constraint and multiple other subjects to worry about would kill me. When I did the SAT’s and AP tests my lowest score was the English/lit ones.
Edit: I only got the last one wrong and that’s because I gave up.

Edited at 2018-11-18 02:55 am (UTC)
u_know 18th-Nov-2018 03:30 am (UTC)
wtf, this is pretty hard. I got all of them right but I can't imagine being a korean high schooler and being forced to endure this.
rainstormraider 18th-Nov-2018 03:39 am (UTC)
This wasn’t hard though.
It would be good to give this as an entrance exam in English speaking unis too.
lil_poisonfrog 18th-Nov-2018 09:02 am (UTC)
Idk, for a foreign language you're only taught in school (assuming most Korean highschoolers don't study abroad) I think these are ridiculous. For a native speaker I think some of them would be ok SAT questions though.
violoncelliste 18th-Nov-2018 03:47 am (UTC)
as someone who studied english as a second language and has been taught how to answer these kind of questions exaclty, I would pass it. But the vocab here is insane, my exam had the same type of questions but topics were so much easier, it's really not necessary to pull this shit out of academic research journals to check if someone can comprehend a text in english.
especially since academic writing sucks and these are great examples of it lmao

Edited at 2018-11-18 03:48 am (UTC)
lil_poisonfrog 18th-Nov-2018 09:05 am (UTC)
Lol so true. So much academic writing is unnecessarily verbose and overwrought. Why not use excerpts from newspaper articles or something instead...that's much more likely to be the sort of writing a native English speaker encounters on a daily basis.
evilcoc0nut 18th-Nov-2018 03:54 am (UTC)
I mean, I got all of them, but as a former English major and current freelance writer, I don't find that surprising lol, but wow at these being test questions for non-native speakers. That's crazy.
mntsuklaa 18th-Nov-2018 04:13 am (UTC)
I got 2 right. In my defense, it's 6am and I didn't finish reading the questions...
How old are the kids taking this test? I can't remember but I don't think my vocabulary was this science-heavy when I was in my mid-to-late teens.
synatri 18th-Nov-2018 04:36 am (UTC)
do korean students actually understand what's written on these exams? the vocab is pretty technical. i got all of them right buuut honestly i kind of just understood 80% of what was written (i'm esl) and just skimmed through them and used linguistic cues to answer the questions. this isn't the kind of thing high schoolers normally read.
snowphone 18th-Nov-2018 05:47 am (UTC)
i think that using linguistic cues is part of the point. you don't need to have all of the vocabulary to answer the questions.
kenziekinz09 18th-Nov-2018 05:04 am (UTC)
My Korean professor would write exams like this. We failed SO HARD. We’d spend a few weeks learning vocabulary and basic sentences, then the test would have these crazy long passages to translate.
ostsiberia 18th-Nov-2018 05:06 am (UTC)
This reminds me of my high school AP exams. I recognize this bloated deliberately vague writing style.
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