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Learning English - Words in the News
06 December, 2004 - Published 15:27 GMT
South Korean exam scandal
Mobile phones were used in the cheating scheme

More than eighteen hundred South Korean school students are suspected of taking part in an organised cheating operation during university entrance exams. The police say many of the students used mobile phones to send and receive answers to exam questions. This report from Charles Scanlon:

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The revelations of mass cheating have scandalised a nation where education is an obsession - and entry to a good university can set you up for life. Acting on a tip off - the police tried to raid a hall where students were taking the college entrance exam last month. They were blocked by teachers but later confiscated mobile phones that had been smuggled into the room - and uncovered what they said was an elaborate cheating system. The brightest students known as "players" finished their multiple choice papers quickly then sent off the answers by text message to younger students outside the hall. They forwarded the information to others who paid up to a thousand dollars to take part.

The police have since inspected hundreds of thousands of text messages sent at the time of the exam. They say more than eighteen hundred students appear to have been involved in similar scams across the country. The education ministry has already cancelled the exam results of more than two hundred cheaters. Some are calling for tough penalties. They've condemned laxity by exam monitors who are accused of not taking cheating seriously enough in the past. Others are calling for an overhaul of the entire exam system - saying it puts students under intolerable pressure.

Charles Scanlon, BBC, Seoul

Listen to the words

shocked and stunned

set you up for life
guarantee that you will get a good job in the future

a tip off
a piece of information given to the police about something illegal that is going to happen

took away

most intelligent

clever but illegal plans, usually to make money

relaxed attitudes, not strict

an overhaul of
a complete change

intolerable pressure
pressure that is too strong to be reasonable

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