The Yomiuri Shimbun

Starting next year, Keio University will no longer use the National Center Test, a unified college entrance exam, to screen those seeking admission to the prestigious private university.

Keio’s decision will make it the first major institution to stop using the examinations, administered by the National Center for University Entrance Examinations, to help choose successful applicants.

The decision comes despite a continued increase in the number of universities using the unified tests over the years. More than 800 colleges and universities nationwide, a new record, have joined this year’s exams, the 22nd of their kind.

Keio’s move is expected to spur other universities to take similar steps, finding their own ways to screen examinees.

Center test organizers said they were shocked to hear of Keio’s withdrawal.

Keio is one of the 16 private universities that have utilized the National Center Test since the test was conducted for the first time. Parts of the test have been given to those who apply to the university’s faculties of law, medicine and pharmacy.

However, from the 2006 academic year, Keio stopped using the English exam portion of the center test for its medical department, and the same test will be abolished for the other two departments from the next academic year, which will leave Keio free from any part of the National Center Test.

“We’ll give an original, distinctive test to enroll smart students,” said a Keio faculty member.

A member of a cram school staff said, “The National Center Test only reveals slight differences in abilities among examinees who apply for top-notch universities.”