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Ministry of National Defense Starts 2023 Royal Cambodian Armed Forces Student Exam

PHNOM PENH: The Ministry of National Defense has started the 2023 cadet exam, with about 6,000 candidates in Phnom Penh.

On Sunday morning, 5 March 2023, student candidates for the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces (RCAF) exam arrived at examination centers before dawn.

The Bak Touk exam center is one of five locations where students can take the exam this year. Students waiting there, most not even over the age of 25, expressed some fear for what was to come.

"I came to take this exam because I have loved [the military] since I was a child," said 23-year-old Srey Oun. "I'm feeling scared and only have about 40% hope, because this year, they are recruiting less and there are more candidates taking the exam."

"My hopes are only that I will pass 50% because there are many candidates coming to take the exam," said 20-year-old Sitha.

"I have loved [the military] since I was a child, I want to serve the nation, but I only have hope to pass 50%," said 20-year-old Sun Srey Nuch.

The opening ceremony for this year’s exam was held on Sunday morning at Bak Touk High School, with the Deputy Commander-in-Chief of the RCAF, and the Commander of the Army, Lt. Gen. Hun Manet, in attendance.

The Lt. Gen. encouraged all candidates to make an effort in their respective exams and to have self-confidence.

"Trust in yourself with pride and your own ability," he said. "If you do not pass, do not be afraid to acknowledge it, [because] we are satisfied that you tried and that you have worked hard."

"[Remember that] those who do pass will do so because of their own efforts, not because of their parents' money or by relying on an intervention," he further reminded.

The cadet exam consists of three subjects: general knowledge, English and sports.

Lt. Gen. Bun Sopheap stated that 2,753 candidates out of a total of 6,399 were women this year.

Speaking with the media after opening ceremony, Lt. Gen. Bun Sopheap confirmed that the exam would be well-supervised, transparent, rigorous and fair, with only the most qualified candidates passing.

"When we begin the exam process, the exam [content] is no longer a secret, so it is important that candidate exams are confidentially packaged elsewhere, and that [the exams are anonymized, removing candidate names and replacing them] with codes," he said.

"The exam worksheets will go to a secret place, the names will be removed, then the exam sheets will go to another place, receive new letterheads, then will be corrected in another location — no one will know who corrected the exam, who [anonymized the paper], and who added up the marks," explained Lt. Gen. Bun Sopheap.

This year, the military academy will recruit 100 25th generation active duty officers, 100 13th generation infantry officers, 150 14th generation alternate officers and only 30 technical officers. 

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