Hopeful insurance professionals brave a cold South Korean soccer field to take exam

PhonlamaiPhoto/iStockBy HEEJIN KANG, ABC News

(SEOUL, South Korea) — Wearing masks, they held their test papers tightly, protecting them against the wind. They zipped up hoodies and donned hats, hoping to stay as warm as possible. Shivering from the cold, some even relied on blankets — all to finish an exam.

The national examination for insurance agents took place on a soccer field Saturday in the school yard of Seokyeong University in Seoul, South Korea. Amid COVID-29 protection, test takers sat more than 10 feet apart from each other.

“There was an urgent need for the test takers to receive the insurance planner certificates in order to make a living, so further delays were canceled. We rushed to announce the schedule just a week ahead of the exam,” Ahn Sungyong from the General Insurance Association of Korea told ABC News.

To follow the social distancing campaign by the government, the association prepared measures for a safe examination environment.

In addition to being seated apart from others, all test takers had their temperature checked and masks were mandatory during the hourlong exam period. Desks and chairs were disinfected during recess. The association even formed a hotline to the closest COVID-19 test site just in case anyone showed symptoms of fever or coughing.

Safety measures were put in place, but it was up to the applicants to endure the weather.

“Although it was not too windy, it was still cold to fully focus on the exam.” Yoo Jeong-wook, a 32-year-old applicant, told ABC News.

“I have long-waited to take tests since February, but unfortunately the exam was delayed for almost three months now. I just feel thankful that I had the chance to take the exam although it was cold during the test,” Jung Sung-il, who said insurance planning was his dream job, told ABC News.

Normally, the Insurance Agent Licensing Exam takes place every month, with an average of 20,000 participants hoping to become insurance planners. Because of the coronavirus outbreak in February, the test schedule was delayed for over two months.

It was the first time since the examination began in 1972 that it took place outdoors in a field. Across the country, over 20,000 people applied for the exam this weekend.

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