Image from Pexels

Image from Pexels

The SATs: Whether it is the reasoning test or the subject tests, the College Board SATs are generally negatively viewed by most American high school students. To the media, education leaders, and college-bound students, the SATs are often viewed as a barrier to higher education instead of a promoter. However, have you ever wondered what college entrance exams other students around the world take? We’ll take a look at other types of testing students have to take to enter their home universities.

In honor of the 2014 World Cup, we will look at the examination that 7.1 million Brazilians took in 2013 to get into university: Exame National do Ensino Médio or High School National Exam.

The Exame National do Ensino Médio (ENEM) was first introduced in 1998 as a means to evaluate the quality of Brazilian education. It was not used as a means for admissions to universities or colleges. During that time, each university had their own exam for students to take in order to apply. Could you imagine American students applying to the number of universities they do today (5? 7? 10? I know people who applied to 42. Forget supplement essays, think of all those exams…)

Luckily for Brazilian students, in 2009, the Brazilian Ministry of Education established that the ENEM would be the official university entrance exam. An overwhelming number of universities now either only need the ENEM for applying or use it as a supplement to their application.

Thanks to the Brazilian Ministry of Education’s decision, the ENEM’s function is similar to the SAT or ACT. However, is the content of the exam similar? It turns out that the ENEM tests different subject areas from the SAT.

  • Instead of one sitting of three hours and 45 minutes for the SAT, the ENEM last for two days, with one session lasting four hours and 30 minutes and the second lasting five hours and 30 minutes
  • Subjects that the ENEM test are divided up into the following sections: Natural Sciences (Biology, Physics, Chemistry), Human Sciences (History, Geography, Philosophy, Sociology), Languages and Codes (the Portuguese Language, Literature, Foreign Language, Physical Education, Information technology, and Communication), Math (Math, Geometry), and Text writing. Wooof. That is basically equivalent to taking a bunch of SAT subject tests and the SAT all in two days

Since this is a national exam (similar to China’s Gao Kao), there is only one testing option each year for students. With this amount of pressure, getting into university in Brazil is no joke. So the next time you feel bummed out about having to take two subject tests in one sitting, remember that others around the world have to do a lot more than just two subjects.

You can learn more about Brazil’s education system from the following links: IEM Spotlight, Wikipedia.



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