School System

As I promised last time, I’ll be writing to you about the Hungarian school system and the exams, everything that I know of. It’s actually very complicated, there are a lot of types of schools so I’ll be telling about the main types as shortly and understandable as possible. 🙂

school

 

Kids here start school at the age of 6-7. Before that, there’s kindergarten, which is now compulsory but it’s not a school. At 6-7 children start elementary school. Most of them go there for 8 years, but not all of them. Because is a possibility to go to a type of high school after the 4th year if you do the entry exam really good and you get in (so you have to be a really good student). If you do this (like I did), you’ll stay at this high school for 8 years, so that’s where you graduate. If you stay in elementary school, you can still go to another type of high school after the 6th year. In that case, you’ll be able to graduate from that new school. But you can also-and this is what most children do-stay in elementary school for 8 years.

During the eight year, in January/February these children have to write an entry exam from math and Hungarian literature&grammar and they have to choose the high school they want to go to. They can choose more and put them in order according to which one they want to go to more. The exam papers will be graded and the kids will be called into the schools for oral “exams”. These aren’t real exams, they have to solve a few exercises but mostly the school’s teachers just want to talk to them and get to know them, decide if they think the kid would do well in the school or not. After all of these, according to the points on the written and oral exams, all schools will put the applicants in order, and everybody will get in to the school which they marked and their points are high enough to get in. This can be the first on the kid’s list, but also the last, if your scores weren’t too high. But one thing’s certain: everybody will go to a school. Because until the age of 16, everybody is obligated by law to go.

Then comes the hard part. I don’t know much about the typical high schools because I go-sorry, went :)- to one which I started in the 5th grade and finished in the 12th, so it’s not typical at all. You have to be a good student to get in, therefore teachers demand more than in the normal, usual schools. So for me, high school wasn’t the easiest part of my life, as most people say. It was a big achievement that I graduated with almost straight A’s (I got a B from philosophy :/).  But this is still not the hardest and most difficult thing. That comes after you actually graduated from high school. Weird, right? I’ll explain.

This is my school (click on the picture to see the website):

Szilágyi_Erzsébet_Gimnázium_Budapest

In Hungary, we graduate from high school in the first days of May (or this year, the 30th of April). But that’s when everybody starts freaking out. Because the next week, we have exams. Yes, exams after graduation. Weird… And not any kind of exams. I guess if I had to compare it to exams from other countries, I’d say it’s possibly similar to GCSE’s in England or SAT’s in the USA. These are the exams that our future depends on. Nothing else. Only these. If you screw this up, you have no chance to get into university. How is it possible? Attempt to an explanation below…

At the graduation ceremony, we don’t wear these:

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Instead, we wear these (well, some schools don’, some schools do, but no one wears the caps they do in the USA)

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA

You apply to the universities you want to in February. But not only you have to choose which university you want to go to. You also have to choose what you want to study, which part of that university you want to go to (for example, I chose law but you can choose anything: arts, medical studies, languages, engineering, etc.) If I want to make it very simple: it’ something like if you had to choose your major in February, but it’s a bit different. Another important thing that makes it even harder: you can only choose 5 “majors” or the same one on 5 universities, the point is that you can only apply to 5 places, not more. This is the first step.

When you’re done with this, you apply for the exams (well, the two applications happen in the same month). You have to take at least 5 exams: Hungarian literature&grammar, Math, History, a Foreign Language and another one chosen by you. But when choosing the 5th subject and the level of exams you apply for, you have to pay attention to the demands of the universities‘ “majors” you applied for. They can ask for specific exams and advanced levels too. For example, if you choose medical school, you have to take advanced level biology and advanced chemistry/physics. Therefore, who goes to medical school will have to take 6 exams instead of the compulsory 5. Thank God, I only had to take 5. But don’t think it was easy (and I’m not even ready with the orals… I had to take advanced English (I’ve done that last year in advance, my result is pretty good, 93%) and advanced history (the hardest of them all).

After finishing these exams, all you can do is wait. You have your scores, and according to those, you’ll get in (or not) to a university. (I’ll explain later about the ways of counting the scores.) Because what happens then is that they see everybody’s scores and the places they applied for. And they count how many students the university can take. If there are (they usually are) more people applying than the available places, they draw a line and only the people with the highest scores will get in. We wait util the end of July to know how many points we need to have to get into the university. If you reach the points to the first one you applied for, you get in. If not, automatically, you can get into the second school, or the third…until the fifth. If you don’t reach the specified points for any of them, you’ll go nowhere. You screwed up, see you next year. :/
But also, there are 17 “majors” (law is one of them) for which they drew the score line in advance. It can go higher but it can’t go lower. So if you don’t reach that (for law it’s 464 points out of the maximum 500), you won’t get in.

One thing I haven’t told you about is that there are 2 ways to go to a university: you’ll either get to a “free” place-you get a “scholarship from the state- for which the scores you have to reach are higher, but you can also pay for it if your score isn’t high enough for the “scholarship. The problem with this is that the tuition fee is unreasonably high comparing to the average salary in Hungary. Problems, problems… And another thing: the government demands that those who take the state scholarship will have to work in the country or pay back the tuition (I understand the problem that a lot of students take the scholarship and go abroad to work after they finished, therefore it’s a loss for the country, but this is not how they should try to solve it because it’s nearly impossible for a person with a fresh diploma to get a job here, they won’t hire them. That’s why they go abroad.)

So now you understand why I say it’s hard. I have to get at least 464 points out of 500 to get in top law.

This is the law school I want to go to (ELTE):

elte_ajk_foepulet

Much better then my high school right? 🙂

And how do they count the points? That’s even more difficult. There are two ways. The system will count the way that it’s better for you. I’ll show both with my grades and scores as an example.

1. You take 5 subjects (Hungarian, Math, History, a Foreign Language and  science subject-Geography, Physics, Biology or Chemistry-and add the grades from the last 2 years that you studied them (instead of letters, we have numbers 1-5 and 5 is the best), then multiply it by two. To this you add the average of the 5 exams you took. Then you add the exam scores from the two subjects the university asked for. This together is 400 points max. The other 100 comes from extra points you can get in many ways, I’ll tell about it later. Let’s look at this with my grades as an example:
My grades from the given subjects were all 5’s. So I have 100 points from those.
The scores of my exams: Gym (yes, I needed a fifth subject…): 96%
English (advanced): 93%
Math: 77%
Hungarian: I don’t know yet, I’m hoping for 90%
History (advanced): I don’t know yet, hoping for 85%
The average of these is 88. So I have 188 points from these two things. Then I add the English and History results to the whole thing (that’s what I need for law school): That’s 178. Adding the to together I get 366 without the extra points.

2. This one is easier but it’s not good for everybody. The second way you only count the two subject’s exam scores that the university asks for. You add them and multiply by two. In my case it would be: 85+93=178. 178*2=356. So for me, the first one is better.

Than the extra points. You can only get 100, even if you have more language exams or anything, you can’t get more than 100. Extra points are given for advanced level exams-50 points each (so I have the maximum 100 points with history and English), language exams (28 points for a B2, 40 for a C1-but the max. you can get for language exams are 40 points), sports results, or a few kinds of other things, social status, etc.

So now you know why I said you have to be the best of the best. I have to get 464 points at least!

OMG I can’t believe I’m finished, it took longer than I thought. I hope you could understand at least half of it, and next time I’ll be back with a much easier topic 🙂 Now, I’m going back to studying.

Have a good day! 🙂

Check-In

Hi guys,

So sorry for the long break. It was very hard for me to stay away from the blog for this long, even though I just started, I kinda love it. But I had to study for the biggest exams of my life, at the end of high school. These exams are the ones on which it depends if I get in to the university I want to go to, or not. Yeah, I know, Hungarian school system sucks. I’ll tell you all about it later, I’ll try to explain but it’s not easy.

And these exams weren’t easy either. The government posts the exams of the last years on their website. I’ve done all of them at home as a practice. And the one we were given last week was the hardest one in the past 9 years. Even teachers say so… As a straight A student, I only got a B for this exam, as my teacher told me yesterday. I’m sad. 😦

From this week, I don’t have to go to school anymore. I’m finished. All I have to do is study for two oral exams: history and Hungarian literature&grammar. It sounds nothing, but it isn’t. It’s not gonna be easy because history is advanced level, and I have to be the best of the best to get into university (I’ll explain to you what this means) but at least, when I’m on a short break from all the studying, I’ll have time to come here and write. I missed it so much. My English missed it too, I’m getting worse 😦

So anyways, this was a short check-in, I’ll be back with more today or tomorrow early in the morning. (In my time-zone… 🙂 )

Have a good day, everybody!

No Inspiration

It’s Friday, yeah! I should be happy right? And I should be more happy because I didn’t go to school. In fact, I didn’t go to school yesterday either. Or Monday. Or Tuesday, because we had a 2-day break then. So basically the whole week except for Wednesday when I had a math exam. So I should be happy, right? But I’m not. I don’t know what I feel. Apathy, or what does it called. Is it possible?

I stayed at home yesterday because my dog was sick. Yes. And someone had to take care of her. Which was me, since my parents had to go to work, and my brother went to school. And I had an appointment at the dentist to get my stitches out (I had one of my wisdom tooth taken out last week), so I was already gonna have a note from him for missing school. How convenient? So I had to come home after the dentist. Don’t get me wrong. I have no problem missing school, sometimes you need it. And I needed it. I don’t learn anything in there anyway, I do that at home. In fact, I’ve been planning to use the doctor’s note and have another day off. But when I imagined it, I didn’t imagine the one I had yesterday. Or today. I wanted my day off to be like Monday and Tuesday. I thought I was going to study a little- OK, a lot. But I wanted to study history, which I like, so it would have been good. I even wanted to go out for a run, since I haven’t been able to do that for a week because of my tooth and the surgery. And I wanted to write something on the blog too.

Instead, I’ve had one and a half horrible says, with lack of any inspiration. Yesterday I woke up with this horrible headache, which I still have. (That’s the reason I’m skipping school today.) So I came home from the dentist and all I could think about was a cup of hot tea and a nice day in bed, watching movies, series or anything. But I had a  dog to take care of who was throwing up every minute so I had to clean up, and calm her down. On top of this, my mom gave me a list of chores too: laundry, cooking, stuff like that. Exactly the kinda things you want to do with a killing headache. But I did it. I took a pill, I felt a little better and I did all the stuff my mom told me while having a sick dog in the house, and answering my mom’s calls every second. After lunch (at least that was good: I cooked spaghetti) I felt a little better, and so did my dog. I was done with the chores but I couldn’t study, I couldn’t concentrate. So I thought, I should write. But I didn’t feel like writing about anything. I started with Budapest, nothing good came out of it. Then I read about this weekly writing challenge. I loved the topic, I wanted to write something. First I thought something personal. But then I thought: you’re going to here enough of me, whining about all the crazy stuff that happens in my life. So then I thought I was going to write a short fiction story. I even started one. But I didn’t like it. At all. So I threw it out and started thinking again. I had a bunch of different ideas and they were good too. But that’s it. They were good. Not great. I didn’t really like any of them. It’s like I don’t even want to write, I don’t even want to do anything at all. And it’s the same today. I still have this bad headache and I don’t know what’s going on, I’m out of ideas and inspiration. I’m still trying to write something for this challenge but now I don’t know what will come out of it. And I hope I’ll stop feeling like this soon because I want to write, and I do want to show you my country too, and I have a lot of things I’d love to share. But not now…

Now nothing can’t cheer me up or get me out of this state. Not even writing on my mom’s laptop. Usually when I do this, I feel like a pro 🙂 I don’t know why. I mean I like writing on my PC, but on this laptop it’s a different feeling and I usually love it, and I can get the best stories out of it. Sounds stupid, right? 🙂

But I want to get my inspiration back!!! Somebody help me, please!

Me, Myself And I

Second post today, and I’m about to tell you a few things about myself, to get started. I’ve already updated my contact info, so feel free to do anything with it 😉

I’m 18. I turned almost 2 months ago, and I love it! Here, in my country this is the age when you finally get to do every good thing legally: you can get into clubs, buy alcohol, smoke (that one thing I don’t do, I’m sorry, I need my lungs), so basically, you’re free, not a minor anymore, and it feels awesome. It comes with responsibilities too, though. But I can deal with those, in exchange that I don’t have to worry about getting into the hottest clubs in the city. The city, which is… I’m sure you have some ideas by now, but I’ll tell you.

You obviously noticed that English is not my native language, I’m still learning it, and I’m doing my best, I think I’m doing quite well. My native language is Hungarian. Yes, I live in Hungary. Haha, you’ve never heard of it, have you? 🙂 It used to be a big country, but now it’s a small one in Middle Europe, next to Austria, Croatia and a lot of other countries. Here, I’ll show you:

hungaryThe pink one in the middle is Hungary. But there are a lot of countries in Europe, right? My fellow Europeans, we know them. Others, in the US, don’t worry if you don’t, or if you’ve never heard about most of them before. I don’t know all the states in you country, either. Africans, Asians, Australians, etc., I don’t want you to be left out. I suppose you know a few things about Europe 🙂 I only mentioned you, Americans first, because there are these stereotypes that you know nothing about Europe, or the world. I just don’t believe that it’s true to everybody. That depends on the person. But I want to get back on my topic.

So I live here, in Hungary, in a town called Budaors, next to the capital, Budapest. Even though I don’t actually live in the capital, my school, my friends are there, and so are the parties and my trainings, so I spend a lot of time there. Most of it. And speaking about training…

I’m a dancer, as I’ve told you before. I’ve been dancing in the same group for 14 years now, it’s called ADOL. We go to competitions, championships all the time, and I think we’re kinda good. We must be, because we won the European and the World Championship, so it’s something. I’d tell you what it is exactly that we do, but it’s hard to explain, so I’ll just show you. Click here to see a video of us winning the World Championship (sorry, the title and other stuff are in Hungarian).

Besides all of this, I’m a senior student in one of the best high schools of Budapest, and I have these important exams coming in May, I’ll be telling you about them. I study really hard, but I always have time for a little rest.

I love movies, series, and music. That, as a dancer, I have to.

This is me in a few sentences, but I think you can’t get to know a person like this, but through my stories and other posts, you’ll be able to. So keep coming back if you’re interested in some fun.

xoxox

My First Post Ever

Hi,

So it is past 6 pm on a beautiful Tuesday, and here I am writing my very first blog post. I guess the 6 pm I just mentioned makes everyone wonder: Where the hell am I? Certainly not in the USA. 🙂 And if you look it up, you’ll see I must be somewhere in Europe. And for now, that’s enough. Stay tuned, and you’ll know more. Trust me it’s worth it..

I created this blog in a second, just out of the blue, I’ve never thought about it before. So I don’t even know what I’ll write here actually. What I think, is that I’ll show you a bit of me, my life, my country, which is interesting if you like to know more about the world, and I’m thinking about trying other things too. I like to write, when I have the time, so I might be posting stories that I wrote. And the other thing I like, or more like love is dancing. I’m  not the best, but my group is excellent, so I’ll be posting videos of us and our best performances.

So this is what I wanted to say for the first time, and if you’re interested, check later because I’ll be coming back with more stuff and information, and I’ll introduce myself properly. 🙂