Similar Examinations, Different Tests: A Comparative Description of the SAT and Juken Systems

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Ian Roth


This paper compares the SAT and juken. It does this at three levels of analysis: structure, function, and participant communications. While the prior two rely on publicly available information and established theories, the latter is based on the analysis of data collected from social media. The findings of this paper are that, while the two examinations are structurally and functionally similar enough to appear ready points of comparison, their differences are profound enough to make such comparisons misleading. Among the consequential differences discussed are that, as opposed to the SAT, the juken is a longer, more consequential process that is more likely to impose dependency upon its participants. In combination, these differences result in a higher-pressure process that challenges its participants not only intellectually, but socio-culturally, and characterologically. As a result, this paper suggests that, whereas the SAT serves a functional role in determining university admissions in the US, the juken is a central facet of Japan’s institutionalized education and socialization process.


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