China / Society

Nearly 10 million take gaokao

By Zhao Xinying (China Daily) Updated: 2014-06-08 07:38

Nearly 10 million take <EM>gaokao</EM>

Students take the Chinese test at an examination hall in the Guizhou Water Conservatory and Electric Power School in Guizhou province's capital Guiyang on Saturday. Qin Gang / for China Daily

The road became quiet once the exam began. Dozens of parents waited, chatting in low voices, reading newspapers or sitting silently, doing nothing at all.

There were also police, urban management officers and doctors at the ready.

Nearly 10 million take <EM>gaokao</EM>

 Chinese national college entrance exam begins

Nearly 10 million take <EM>gaokao</EM>

Slogans prepare students for gaokao 

The gaokao is one of China's most important exams. Families take it very seriously, since it determines children's higher education opportunities. Students invest vast amounts of time and energy preparing for it.

The gaokao was suspended during the "cultural revolution" (1966-76) and has been held annually since 1977.

The number of test-takers has been dropping since it peaked at 10.5 million in 2008. This year's total of 9.39 million is 270,000, or 3 percent, more than in 2013. It marked the first increase in five years.

About 6.98 million of the students who take this year's test will be admitted, according to an overall plan.

Outside the school traffic policeman Liu Feng said it was a busy morning. He and two colleagues started at 6 am, since many people arrived as early at 7:30 am for fear of being late, causing congestion.

"We guided drivers to park appropriately to ensure test-takers' convenience," Liu said.

Head of an urban management officers team Fu Changquan said his responsibilities included stopping venders from hawking and drivers from beeping their horns to ensure quiet in the hall. It was his fourth time working outside a gaokao testing area, he said.

"My work isn't that hard this morning because everyone nearby knows they should be quiet because of the test," he said.

"But I'll be very busy during the English test on Sunday afternoon because we should make sure it's absolutely silent for the listening part."

Volunteer Li Sujie was busy handing out newspapers and water to parents. The 24-year-old, who works for a community nearby, arrived to serve the parents at 7 am.

"I just want to make a contribution," he said.

"It reminds me of when I took the gaokao in 2007. The difference is that day was extremely hot, while today is comfortable. I wish the students good luck."

In most places, including Beijing, the gaokao lasts for two days - Saturday and Sunday. The results will come out in late June.


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