As a fun little experience and because I need a job/source of income anyways, I decided to take the Global Samsung Aptitude Test (GSAT) for new business/marketing candidates. This is the 2nd stage of their 4 step employment process, the first submitting your materials including resume and work experience, and the other two being interviews with different executives and HR.
You can apply here: http://apply.samsung.co.kr/rec/apply/EngResumeServlet ,but you can only apply twice a year to my knowledge. You can also check out their job board(Korean) to find out if they are going through their hiring season, and also find higher positions that may have different hiring procedures.
Once you pass the first stage, you are given a test slip indicating your test location, room, and exact seat. Mine was at Sincheon Middle School.
As said in the test slip, you only need your test slip, ID, marker (that can be scanned by a computer), and correction tape to cover your mistakes. Having never used this marker, I didn’t quite understand what they meant. I ended up finding out last minute that it was a special marker that you can buy at a convenience store. They’re typically called computer pens (컴퓨터 펜).
If you forgot any supplies, there were some enterprising ajumma (older women) and ajussi (older men) selling drinks, pens, and anything else you would need outside of the gates. In my case, the proctors even had some pens and correction tape to lend.
The event was pretty organized with signs outside of the station and staff to help direct you. It was quite a weird feeling to be in a classroom, and as luck would have it my spot was right in front with the teacher’s desk wedged right over mine. I felt like the floor plan was terrible. The proctors weren’t terribly practiced as they didn’t seem to know how to proceed. All instructions were sent through the school’s PA system. While waiting to start the test, they thought it was a good idea to play classical music really loud which obviously wasn’t a good idea.
As a foreigner with very limited Korean speaking abilities, I struggled to find any study materials and finally decided to just take it cold turkey. I did find some materials which turned out to be for engineers and were highly irrelevant for my test. The test consisted of three categories, quantitative reasoning, logical reasoning, and visualization. Granted, I’ve never done anything related to standardized testing in 9 or so years, so I had my work cut out for me. Unfortunately, I don’t have any photos of the tests for obvious reasons, but I will do my best to explain them.
These were your typical math puzzle questions taken during middle and high school. They would’ve been stupidly easy, say if I did these 13 years ago. Unfortunately, yesterday wasn’t 13 years ago and I was literally struggling to do basic equations. A typical question would be something like “Person A and person B run to point C at the same time. Person A runs 5kph and reaches point C in 24 minutes. Person B reaches the point C 6 minutes later. How fast was Person B running?”.
I ended up having to relearn the math as I went, which was actually refreshingly fun, until I heard the 3 minutes remaining announcement while on question 8. Unfortunately they only gave me 30 minutes to do the 20 questions and I ended up only completing 9. It really crushed my spirit, and I know had I been given just one day of preparation I would’ve done a lot better.
I vaguely remember taking these in school, but they were pretty hard as I couldn’t remember a methodical method to solve them. I think they gave me 20 minutes to answer 20 questions. A typical question gave you 5 people, A,B,C,D,E, mixed with 5 houses A,B,C,D,E, with each person being 1 year apart. Then they would add conditions such as A is older than C, but younger than D, and C doesn’t live in D or B. You would then have to figure out which of 5 scenarios were impossible, and etc. I believe it involved a lot of combination reasoning, but at the time I couldn’t streamline the process. I also ended up only doing about half of the problems.
This was the real ridiculous one as I don’t think I’ve ever taken a test quite like this before. I don’t know if it was because I was in an Asian country, but they had tests that involved origami. Basically you would be presented with a square sheet of paper with diagrams of dotted lines over the paper indicating if it was folded inward/outward or was folded either or. Then they would present you with 5 diagrams and ask you what the backside would look like or which one the backside wouldn’t look like. At this point I was just ready for the PA to say stop.
While probably not one of the most pleasant experiences, I am left with a bittersweet taste. It really was quite refreshing to use those parts of my brain again, but at the same time I’m very disappointed in how much easier the test would have been if I had been given just one day to go over all these types of problems as they weren’t terribly hard (minus the visualizations). It’s definitely been quite a culture shock and I hope my experience may help those looking to work for Samsung and find information on this obscure test as I couldn’t find much info on it.
Have you taken this test before? Do you have any interesting experiences trying to get a job in Korea? Let me know through email or in the comments below!