The academic year ended a month ago, but nearly 200 senior students at Tran Cao Van high school in Tan Phu District come to class every day from morning to late night to prepare for the exams, whose scores will be used for university admission. They work in three sessions from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Teachers help the students go over lessons again, do exercises and take mock tests, Tran Van Binh, a physics teacher at the school, said. “Minor subjects have all been omitted so that students can focus on natural sciences and social sciences.”
Tran Cam Tran is doing math exercises one afternoon. Tran said: “We have been studying at night so I am accustomed to it. But these days I am a little tired due to the pressure. Everyone is under pressure since it is the important examination after 12 years of studying.”
The school does not allow students to bring in cell phones so that they can focus on studying without any distraction.
Piles of books, materials and notes are stuck in students’ desks.
In the middle of one lesson, Phan Que Anh tells her teacher she wants to go to the corridor to focus without any distraction. “These days we do not learn anything new, so we are free to go outside the class,” she said.
After each session students have a 60-minute break. Many bring a blanket and pillow so that they can take a quick nap.
“Learning from morning to night makes me pretty tired and hurts my eyes, so I sleep a bit to relax,” Anh Thu said.
The school canteen remains open until evening to serve supper to students. Many children also bring food from home. The students have to take quick breaks to eat and sleep, and devote the rest of the time to studying.
One afternoon Bich visits her daughter and brings her dinner. “There is only one week left for the test. I come here every day to ask about her health and studies.” She also worries that outside food might not be nutritious enough. “I always encourage her to study hard, but she has to remember to be healthy.”
In the evening session from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., students are free to review their lessons and don’t have to sit in class. Many choose to study in the corridor. Hoan Huy and his friends play the guitar and sing to wind down after a grueling day.
It is nearly 9 p.m., but the hard work continues.
This year over 880,000 candidates will take the national high school examination, including nearly 71,000 from Ho Chi Minh City.
Math, literature and a foreign language are compulsory, while they can choose between natural sciences, taking tests in physics, chemistry and biology, and social sciences, taking tests in history, geography and civics.
The scores based on their test scores and high school grades will be used by colleges and universities to admit students.
The examination will be held from June 24 to 27.