I just finished the Ministry of Education´s writing test. It´s a bit like the SAT essay, but easier. You get 2 hours instead of 25 minutes; 1 of 4 prompts to choose from instead of 1 of 1. I guess it´s not much like the SAT at all. This gives me time to jot down ideas, make a rough draft, check and edit my rough draft, make a final copy, check that, and still have time to spare. It´s also worth 30% of my Spanish grade.
My prompt was: Is it necessary to be competent in various disciplines to enter the work force?
Answer: No. The disciplines are all one.
Very zen, don´t you think?
It does have a lot of annoying little rules. 300 word extension (which doesn´t actually fit on the 3 pages they give you, I got to 296), perfectly aligned margins, no lines between paragraphs, no mixing cursive and print, which seem logical (and are) except that they´re very strictly graded. You can lose points because the little tail on your "a" was too long, and looks vaguely cursive-ish. It´s scored on a 1-100 scale, a pass is a 70, and kind of hard to fail, really. Unless you go off on a different subject, then you get a 1.
En fin, I have to get used to writing essays, and writing them fast.
Note: this doesn´t actually affect college admisions, aside from the fact that if I flunk the Ministry tests I get held back.
Unrelated, but cool: One of the students from my high school (who was graduated 2 years ago) alog with my classmate went to the 42nd International Chemistry Olympiads in Japan. The latter received the highest score in the Americas, olym. By which I mean the whole continent. Which means he got a gold medal. He came back with a huge stuffed Pikachu. I´m really proud, kind of because he´s the guy preparing my group for the National Math Olympiads, but mainly becuase he is really smart and studious and really deserved this. He also has medals from math, more chemistry, physics, and geography.