YONGSAN GARRISON, South Korea — U.S. Forces Korea and the Combined Forces Command will curtail training and flight operations Nov. 17 to “provide the best environment” for South Korean students taking a crucial college entrance exam, given once a year throughout the country.

The exam determines which institutes of higher education students can attend.

In a statement issued Monday, USFK officials said no military aircraft would take off or land on test day unless they are on mission-essential or emergency operations.

Activities such as artillery training, heavy equipment moving, aviation and cadence calling will be limited severely, as they have been for the past three test days, the officials said. Shooting ranges also will close from 8:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.

More than 610,000 South Korean high school students will take the 2005 Korean University National Examination, or College Scholastic Aptitude Test, according to the South Korean Ministry of Education. The exam, to be given at hundreds of locations across South Korea, covers such areas as social studies, mathematics, science, and — most importantly — Korean and foreign language oral exams.

The day has become pressure- packed, with many families believing the test can determine a student’s entire future. In recent years, a few students even reportedly committed suicide after scoring poorly.

“It is extremely important that noise be kept to a minimum during the tests — especially during hearing tests — so CFC and USFK forces will work hard to reduce noise so the students have the best environment when taking these important tests,” the USFK release read.

The training ban was organized through cooperation with the Republic of Korea Ministry of National Defense and Ministry of Education.

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