Every November in South Korea, there's a day where everyone makes silent to help students concentrate for the most important exam of their lives. This day is called Suneung.

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All across South Korea, at exactly 08:40 local time (23:40 GMT Wednesday) on Thursday, more than half a million students take the exam for which they have been preparing their entire lives.

The infamous Suneung, an abbreviation for College Scholastic Ability Test (CSAT) in Korean, is an eight-hour marathon of back-to-back exams, which not only dictates whether the students will go to university, but can affect their job prospects, income, where they will live, and even future relationships.

Every year in November, Suneung brings the whole country to a standstill. Silence descends across the capital Seoul as shops are shut, banks close, even the stock market opens late. Most construction work halts, planes are grounded and military training ceases.

Occasionally the stillness is broken by distant sirens because police motorbikes race to deliver students running late to their exam.

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