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KANAT ATKAYA >Alternative tips before Turkey’s dreaded university entrance exam

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The University Entrance Examination (YGS) will be held across Turkey on March 12, and the Student Selection and Placement Center (ÖSYM) has issued its classic pre-exam warnings and advice. 

These warnings are very useful, including such advice as “don’t carry a bag,” “be present at your exam center one hour beforehand,” “do not wear clothes with metal accessories,” “dress simply and comfortably,” and “have a valid ID with you.” 

I wish all success to all the bright minds and young people who will sit the exam. And I have some other tips and warnings for the YGS, as well as after the YGS. I hope you find these suggestions and warnings practical, realistic and useful. 

For example, if you’re planning to enter a faculty of languages, history, geography, or theater, I advise you to think again. From what I gather from the news, there are almost no teachers left in these departments as a result of dismissals. Still, you may say that you already have a “minimalist approach” to the theater, which is a different matter entirely.

In fact, in several other departments of several schools across Turkey, respected academics have been dismissed. It’s OK though, officials say they are “replacing them with others.”  

My dear young friends, if your family’s financials means are limited and if you have not received any scholarships, I have to tell you now that being a university student is difficult. It always has been and will continue to be so. 

You will have problems finding a place to live. Once you do, you will have other problems living in the place you find. Indeed, even after many years have passed the agony of living in student accommodation is remembered by many people. 

When you are a student, you open the door of the refrigerator with hope only to see that it has been hosting a jar of jam for weeks. At the time I don’t remember saying, “Oh, I’ll have fun telling this in the future.”

I don’t know how many of you still believe you will be in a university environment where wisdom, science and freedom compete with each other. Many centuries ago, when I entered university with oversized enthusiasm about the academic riches I would experience, I ended up going through giant disappointment. I don’t even want to think about what the situation is like now.  

The cost of living is expensive for everyone in Turkey, but it is that little bit more expensive for the student. There are books to buy, magazines, tickets for movies, plays, concerts, etc. You will find that even the ones you truly want will most of the time exceed your means. All I should say is that whenever you come across a free activity, don’t miss it.

I have plenty more that I could write, but I should shut up because I don’t want to dishearten you from university. 

Create your own luck, challenge your circumstances, never be satisfied with what is given to you at school, learn to use correctly the blessing called the Internet, and you will excel.

The rest is obvious…

As the ÖSYM advises, “you must use a soft pencil and soft eraser,” “you should take care about your sleep and what you eat before the exam,” etc.

Well, good luck to all of you.

March/10/2017

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