I mentioned in one of the earlier chapters that in high school, the students choose one of 2 main streams: STEM or Humanities (there’s also arts and athletics but those are the minorities). From then on, the students in each stream would be in different homerooms, and take different classes, but the most important difference (that informs their decisions in choosing streams) is the uni entrance exam and the uni programs. That’s because you get different exams based on what stream you’re in.
Humanities exams: language arts, mathematics, foreign language (English), and one comprehensive Humanities (history+geography+civics).
STEM exams: language arts, mathematics, foreign language, and one comprehensive Science (physics+chemistry+biology).
The first 3 subjects are 150 points each, and the comprehensive subject is 300 points, which brings the total to 750. That said, even if both streams share the same 3 core subjects, they don’t get the same test papers, and don’t have the same level of difficulties. Exams also vary across the country, with certain provinces sharing the same exams. The Humanities programs in universities tend to be fewer and more difficult to get into, and it’s harder to get a high score on the Humanities exams. Overall there are more STEM programs and STEM-centric universities across the country, and more applicants. This also means that the STEM scores tend to be higher than the Humanities scores.
** this model is in the middle of being reformed, probably because it forces the students to pretty much choose what they want to take in University as early as grade 10 (9 in some places) **