SATs cancelled in South Korea due to suspect cheating. First time an entire country has been banned from taking the test.

SEOUL—The recent cancellation of U.S. college entrance exams in South Korea—the first time SAT tests have been called off nationwide anywhere in the world for suspected cheating—is throwing the spotlight back on the country’s hyper-competitive academic environment.

The U.S.-based administrator of the SAT, the most widely used standardized evaluation tool for high-school students applying to American universities, scrapped the May 4 sessions in South Korea three days before the test date after it discovered questions from the tests circulating in test-prep centers in the country.

The cancellation has thrown college-entrance preparations for thousands of students into disarray. Some students now plan to travel to other countries in the region to ensure they are able to take the next test in the summer.

At least 10 staff members of test centers have been barred from leaving the country as part of an investigation by the Seoul Central District Prosecutors’ Office. The Seoul Metropolitan Office of Education has launched a separate inquiry.

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