The Brazilian SAT
In Brazil, the closest thing to the national U.S. college entrance exam is the ENEM, or the Exame Nacional do Ensino Médio. In order to study at a university, students must take the vestibular, an entrance exam. But the vestibular varies from one university to another, so the Brazilian government implemented a unified exam, the ENEM, in 1998, which is now accepted at public universities and some private ones. The ENEM is held only once a year, and took place this Saturday and Sunday.
There’s a lot of news coverage about the exam, especially since the proctors are extremely strict. Once the doors close, you can’t get in – not even if you’re 30 seconds late. Globo had live news coverage this weekend, detailing the sad stories of students who arrived a minute or five minutes late and won’t be able to take the exam until next year. There were also a few who got thrown out for being on twitter during the exam. Also, since it’s only held once a year, several million students take it at the same time throughout the country.
It’s a very intense test. It lasts two days: four hours and thirty minutes on the first day, and five hours and thirty minutes on the second day. There are four sections of forty five questions each and an essay. The exam includes natural sciences (biology, physics and chemistry), human sciences (history, philosophy, geography, and sociology), math, and language (Portuguese language and literature). Because of the wide range of topics, students spend the year before the exam studying, and often take test prep classes. These are known as cursinhos.
Though it’s mostly students in their senior year of high school, or students who recently graduated from high school, the ENEM is open to anyone who wants to attend college. So you’ll also find adults in their 30s and 40s taking the exam to go back to school.
After students take the exam in October, they have to wait until the following January to get their marks. But the day after the exam, you can usually find an answer guide online to get an idea of how you did. This answer guide is called the gabarito. Each year after the ENEM, officials determine the average score for that year. Students who score at or above the average pass the test.
- Sua mãe disse que você tem que fazer o vestibular de novo. Your mom told me you have to take the college entrance exam again.
-Passei no vestibular. Depois falam que não sou capaz. I passed the college entrance exam. Yet they say I couldn’t do it.