Student Carla Soares turned up at the front door of her local school on a Friday night, in Santarém, donning a pointed black witches’ hat. “I thought a lot about what would be the best costume to wear,” she said. Although it might look like it, this isn’t a kids Halloween party. Carla is there to study.
Across Brazil, thousands upon thousands of students have pulled all-nighters in preparation for the National University Entrance Exam, or Enem, which began this Sunday all over the country. The exam is so comprehensive and challenging that an entire industry has sprung up solely to prepare teenagers for the Enem.
In Santarém, Carla attended the “Viradão do Enem,” or the Big Enem All-Nighter, at which students spent a whopping 24 hours revising material for Sunday’s test. With lectures on over a dozen different subjects, the organizers hosted live music events, dance displays, and other entertainment to keep the kids awake.