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2016 university entrance campaign begins in Belarus

For children, June 1 marks the beginning of summer holidays. With a sigh of relief, school students are packing suitcases in anticipation of summer camps, countryside fun or beach sand and water. I'm talking about those who do not need to sit university entrance exams. Our correspondent Alexandra Kulakova found out how Belarusian university applicants are meeting the summer of 2016. 

The school bell is the sound that divides our lives into "before" and "after". This is the time when school-leavers say goodbye to childhood and say "hello" to new adult life.

School graduate: 
We are all overwhelmed with emotions. Some even cried, I saw it myself! I myself cried a couple of times thinking about leaving school. Thanks to our teachers we have a chance for good and happy future.  

Galina, a mother of two, is now worrying not less than her kids: daughter is now completing the 9th form, while son is completing 11th. These June days will be nothing but school or university exams for both of them.

Galina is an English language teacher so she is working with her kids herself.

Galina Petrikovets, English teacher:
We are serious about the exams. I try not to press on them but I understand my share of responsibility.

Dmitry wants to become a programmer and enter the Belarusian State University of Informatics and Radioelectronics (BSUIR). He has only about 2-3 hours of personal time per day, while the rest is for exam preparation.  

Dmitry Petrikovets, school leaver: 
The main thing now is to get good grades, do well at the Centralized Test and enter the university. After all, this is your future and your career, your future work. This determines what you will do and your salary.

These ladies on TV refuse to be interviewed not because of star fever but because of secrecy. They are representatives of the Education Ministry, who announce the numbers of exam texts for school students minutes before each exam. In addition to TV and radio, this info is also published on the internet.

School-leavers in Belarus have to sit four exams (math and language, English and history of Belarus). Those in the ninth grade write a Belarusian and Russian dictation and sit a mathematics exam.

Fyodor Miron, ninth-grade student at gymnasium No50 of Minsk: 
This period of my life is very interesting, because I am very nervous before exams, and, accordingly, I had to do a lot of prep work. And the majority of my classmates were preparing for a long time, but the exam was easier than we had expected.

How to help children go safely through the non-stop examination period? Lilia Akhremchik, a psychologist and mom of an 11th-grader, says that she is actually not the best advisor in such matters. And here is why.

Lilia Akhremchik, psychologist and mom of 11th-grader:
See what she is up to? She is playing a videogame. This is because everything has been done. Why creating additional tension now? If you have worked well so far, so why will you have problems now? Just let your brains have a rest and concentrate.

Her daughter Elya is an independent person and she can decide herself how to prepare for exams.

Lilia Akhremchik, psychologist and mom of 11th-grader:
Elya came to me a few times this year and asked whether I would love her if she failed the exams or failed to receive a gold medal at school... Or something like that. In fact, I myself think that there is nothing to be afraid of even if your child fails to do well at exams. Life is long; there will be a number of options to enter the university later.

Proms will be held in Belarusian schools at school on 10 and 11 June. On June 13, there will be held the first Centralized Test (university admission test) in the Belarusian language, with 22,000 young people to take part in it. The Russian language test is set to be held on 14 June, with 78,000 former school students registered. 

2016 university entrance tests begin in Belarus