Tuesday, July 01, 2014

The Gaokao (高考)

In China, applying to college is about one thing and one thing only: the gaokao. Gaokao (高考) is short for 普通高等学校招生全国统一考试 (“The National Higher Education Entrance Examination”) and a student’s score on this all-important standardized test is pretty much the only thing that matters when it comes to determining whether or not they can GO TO COLLEGE -- and if they can, what schools they can attend.
Students waiting outside of the exam centre in Dongguan 
As you might imagine, preparing for and taking the gaokao is a grueling ordeal, and students are under huge amounts of pressure from their parents and teachers to do well. THE FINALyear of high school, especially, is often focused intensely on preparation for the exam, and it isn’t unheard of for parents to go so far as quitting their own jobs to help their children study during this year.

This pressure has even been linked to some cases of depression and SUICIDE amongst Chinese teens, especially those who perform poorly on the exam.
Art students draw sketches in Jianan, Shandong province 
Probably needless to say, because the gaokao is so vitally important, there are always students willing to attempt cheating on it.
Invigilators monitor examinees in Suining, Sichuan in case of any malpractices. 
And with modern technology cheating has become a veritable arms race between students, the authorities, and enterprising merchants who offer everything from false erasers and rulers to tiny headsets and CAMERAS connected to off-site helpers using the internet to scan questions and feed you answers. Authorities now often outfit test sites with a variety of signal-blocking electronic devices
These students took oxygen while studying chemistry at a hospital in Suining.
Leading up to the exam, students and teachers take part in 
pressure-release activities, like this trust-fall.
- Photos Courtesy: http://www.businessinsider.com/

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