eTALK China Insights: Gaokao in China

Gaokao China etoc 1
Source: Globaltimes

Every Chinese must take this exam once in his or her lifetime.

The standardized college entrance exam in China, better known as 高考 (gāokǎo) – “Higher Education Exam” is held annually. This year’s exam will be held on June 6 and 7, setting a new record.

Why is Gaokao so important for the future?

World Toughest Exam

It is also known as the world’s toughest final exam. In 2022, 11.93 million students are expected to take the exam, about two million more than last year. This sets a new record.

The result of the exam determines the further educational path of the students. Only the best graduates make it to the universities of metropolises such as Shanghai or Beijing.

A total of 750 points can be earned in the exams. Students take exams in mathematics, English and Chinese. In addition, they choose an elective subject. A high score does not necessarily guarantee a top university. Additional interviews are often required.

All or Nothing

For most students, it’s all or nothing. The importance of the exam is also reflected in the arrangements:

Driving bans and noise restrictions near the school are not uncommon.

Not only does the Gaokao participant’s own future depend on the exam, but often that of their parents as well. A good score will lead to a good university, and eventually to a high income. Many rural parents depend on their children to support them financially.

In theory, the Gaokao offers equal opportunities to all students in China.

However, students often benefit from their wealthier parents, who allow them to afford private tutoring.

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