South Korea's annual college entrance exam, Suneung, is now in session.
"Beyond these front gates of a high school in Seoul are hundreds of college hopefuls in classrooms, taking the exam of their lives."
This year, the test is being held in chilly December, having been postponed two weeks due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Amid the third wave of the virus, over 490-thousand people are taking the exam across the country in some 1380 test centers nationwide.
These include hospitals and treatment facilities where those infected are taking the test.
Meanwhile, separate test sites are in operation for those in quarantine.
Anyone at regular test centers who show symptoms will be able to take the exam in segregated classrooms, away from others, to prevent any possible outbreaks.
Mask-wearing is also mandatory throughout the exam except during the identification process and when eating lunch.
Despite the extra measures this year, one thing that hasn't changed is how much the once-in-a-year exam means to test-takers and their parents.
"Most importantly, I want my son to get good grades and enter the university of his dreams He worked so hard to get here."
Examination committee chairman Min Chan-hong said in a briefing on Thursday morning that this year's exam resembles last year's in difficulty and was designed so that test-takers wouldn't go through too much hassle.
The eight to nine hour long exam will end at either 4:32 or 5:40 PM depending on how many subjects are taken by the test-taker.
And notification of test results will be delivered two days before Christmas on the 23rd.
Han Seong-woo, Arirang News.