Today our oldest took her first high school entrance exam and was so stressed today she almost made herself sick. Luckily she got that way after the exam.
In Japan students don’t automatically move from elementary school to junior high school to high school. Depending on the school you want your kids to attend, there might be exams at every level. The school where I work, for example, is currently holding entrance exams for the junior high school. (Students who were lucky enough to pass the elementary school exam several years ago, though, get to move up automatically.)
The most important exam, though, happens between junior high school and high school. The goal of parents is to get their teens into high schools with reputations for placing their students in top universities. (Yes, choosing a high school and choosing a university are nearly the same thing here.)
Our oldest and She Who Must Be Obeyed have made several trips to potential schools, both public and private, and narrowed the choices down to one top public school and a very good private school. I should point out that private schools in Japan aren’t necessarily better than public schools. In fact, one of the worst schools I ever taught at was a private school. The public school our oldest chose is considered better than the private school she likes. The private school is her back-up, in case she fails to get into the public school. (We are hoping she gets into the public school, though, because private schools cost MONEY in all caps.)
The test today was for our daughter’s back-up school. She went up to Kawagoe and sat through a three hour written test (multiple choice) and then made her way back home. We took her to a local restaurant for lunch (she had sushi, I had pork steak) and then we bought some cake at at local shop.
On the way home she sat forward as if she was sleepy but it turned out she wasn’t feeling well. She’d finally released all the tension and it had made her kind of sick. We told her to take a nap while I ate the piece of cake I’d chosen (because that’s totally what you eat when you’re on a diet).
Now she’s feeling better, but the exam for her first choice is in two months so we may go through this again. (I just hope there’s more cake.)