Are you taking the junior high school entrance exam? Or not?


Families opting for junior high school entrance exams are on the rise, particularly in the Tokyo metropolitan area. Many parents are likely grappling with whether their child should take the exams or not. Parents who have gone through the experience of junior high school entrance exams have compiled a list of its pros and cons, which I will send to you.

Why do people take the junior high school entrance exam?

Motivation for Junior High School Entrance Exam

While the motivations for taking the junior high school entrance exam vary from person to person, the following reasons can be considered:

  • Wanting to provide the child with six years of freedom to pursue club activities or hobbies (in the case of university-affiliated schools, this may extend to university level).
  • Ample time and flexibility to prepare for university entrance exams (in the case of integrated middle and high schools).
  • Wanting to select a school that suits the child’s individuality.
  • Seeking a school with a well-equipped educational environment (facilities, etc.).
  • Wishing to have the child attend a school that is a bit farther away (for various reasons).

Roughly, these seem to be the main reasons.

The benefits of taking the junior high school entrance exam

So, what about the advantages? There might be some overlap with the motivations, but there are also aspects that are separate.

Here are the advantages:

  • No High School Entrance Exam: With no high school entrance exams, students can fully immerse themselves in club activities and school events for six years (applies to affiliated schools up to university level).
  • Ample University Preparation: Students have sufficient time to prepare for university entrance exams, especially in the case of schools that offer both middle and high school education.
  • Choice of School Aligned with Child’s Personality: Parents can select a school that aligns with their child’s personality and preferences.
  • Selection Based on School Philosophy and Atmosphere: Parents can choose a school that resonates with its founding principles and educational atmosphere.
  • Cultivation of Cultural Knowledge: The knowledge gained through junior high school entrance exam preparation becomes a part of the child’s cultural education.
  • Transferable Learning Experience: The efforts put into junior high school entrance exam preparation can benefit the child’s subsequent learning experiences.

Regarding point 2, it might work well if not only parents but also the child themselves have that awareness. However, it’s not guaranteed that the desired school will be decided upon early. The timing of when the educational path is determined could depend significantly on the school’s career guidance and the family environment. This could also become a crucial factor in choosing a school.

Drawbacks of Junior High School Entrance Exams:

While listing potential drawbacks, it’s important to note that these may not apply to everyone universally. Additionally, some of these challenges can be addressed through preparation and innovative approaches.

  • Cost: It can be expensive.
  • Intensive Study at Cram Schools: The study load at cram schools can be demanding.
  • Obsessing Over Grades and Percentiles: There might be excessive concern about grades and percentiles.
  • Strained Parent-Child Relationship: There could be tension in the parent-child relationship.
  • Complex Relationships with Other Parents: Interactions with other parents, especially within social circles, might become challenging.

Points 1 and 2 are self-evident, but for point 3, a certain level of resolve is indeed necessary. Rather than comparing oneself to others, it’s important to examine areas of improvement after the test, make a commitment to carry forward those lessons, and settle one’s emotions. This ties into point 4 as well. Parents should continually devise ways to interact with their children, ensuring a comfortable and conducive learning environment. When parents find themselves struggling, it’s beneficial to consult with tutors or school teachers. Utilizing the internet to find expert advice and articles from those with experience can also be valuable. Point 5 involves maintaining a healthy distance from others, avoiding comparisons with other children, and closely observing one’s own child’s growth. In any case, the way parents approach these aspects can significantly impact whether an environment is created for their child to showcase their capabilities.

Let’s watch over the growth of your child.

After It’s Over:

If your child succeeds in getting into their desired school, it will bring a sense of accomplishment and joy to both you and your child, as the efforts put in so far have been rewarded. There will be a sense of optimism and hope as you all look forward to their journey through middle school.

On the other hand, if your child doesn’t get into their desired school, they might feel discouraged and regret their choice of schools. After entering a school that wasn’t their first choice, some children might struggle to find motivation and might have difficulty transitioning emotionally. However, it’s these situations where children have the potential to exhibit remarkable strength later in life. Initially, it’s crucial for parents to shift their mindset and offer positive support to their child. By nurturing their self-esteem, children can feel confident in thinking and acting independently. Moreover, the experience of facing exams can serve as a stepping stone toward pursuing future goals with determination.

After the exams are over, one profound realization is the significance of choosing the right school (desired school). The process of exams isn’t about competing with others or showcasing parental prestige. It’s about selecting a school that aligns with your child’s abilities and the school’s educational approach. This decision shouldn’t be influenced by tutoring centers or societal expectations; it should be made by the parents and child together, ensuring a choice that leaves no room for regret. Delve into the decision-making process until you’re content and choose the most fitting school (while acknowledging that luck plays a role in outcomes). I hope for a fulfilling and unique exam experience, one where you can eventually say, “Taking the junior high school entrance exams was a good decision.” Whether you feel this way depends on your positive attitude and interpretation of the experience. If this article proves useful as you contemplate these matters at home, I will be truly pleased.


Thank you for reading all the way to the end.