Superstitions Surrounding Gaokao, World's Toughest Exam

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Gaokao is China’s version of A-level exams and SAT, which is known as the toughest exam in the world. Moreover, for Chinese school graduates, Gaokao is the only way to enter a Western university. 

 

What Exactly Is Gaokao?

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Gaokao is formally known as the National Higher Education Entrance Examination. In fact, in Chinese gaokao literally means "high exam." The results of this very exam were only accepted by Chinese universities in the past, however, nowadays more and more Western schools accept gaokao certificates instead of international tests results. Among Western schools that accept gaokao results are University of Cambridge (Great Britain), University of Sydney (Australia), University of Toronto (Canada), Accademia Delle Belle Arti di Firenze (Italy) as well as some private US schools.

When is it Being Held?

Usually, gaokao is being held in June. This year the exam took place between June 7 and June 9.

How Do the Chinese Students Prepare for Gaokao?

In general, Chinese students prepare for the exam in their schools. But certainly, they do a lot of extracurricular preparation such as online tests, working with manuals etc.

 

Why is Gaokao the Toughest Exam in the World?

 

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This exam is considered to be the toughest one in the world, obviously, because of its insanely difficult tasks. Gaokao indeed is super difficult and some students even have mental breakdowns while preparing for it. In fact, there is a mental camp where dozens of “gaokao students” are being treated. So all the superstitions about the toughness of this very exam are true.

 

Gaokao Sample Questions

 

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Well, if you still do not believe us, just check out some of the past gaokao questions and try to answer them.

1. Between June and August, a cruise ship travels from Fujian province to Venice, via Mumbai, as part of Xi's "21st-century maritime silk road" strategy. Which of the following would it experience on the way?

A. When passing through the South China Sea, the cruise will face continuous rain.

B. When passing through the Arabian Sea, the cruise will sail against winds and currents.

C. When passing through the Red Sea, large stretches of forests will be seen alongside the coast.

D. When passing through the Mediterranean Sea, the cruise will experience several days of rainstorms.

Correct Answer: B

Source: Gaokao 2015, via China Daily

2. If x + y ≥ a, x - y ≤ -1, and the minimum value of z = x + ay = 7, what is a?

A. -5

B. -5 or 3

C. 3

D. 5 or -3

Correct Answer: B

Source: Gaokao 2018 via People's Daily

3. Four students can choose to participate in a charity event either on Saturday or Sunday. What’s the probability that there is at least one student at both Saturday's and Sunday's events?

A. 1/8

B. 3/8

C. 5/8

D. 7/8

Correct Answer: D

Source: Gaokao, year unknown, via Bloomberg

4. President Xi has said that while art can release the wings of imagination, it should still be down-to-earth. There may be hundreds of ways to create art, but the best way is to have it take root in people's daily lives, and create something based off of that. From a materialist point of view, this is because (pick two of the statements below):

I. Art originates from people's daily lives.

II. Art depends on innovation.

III. The way art reflects on society and its style is unified.

IV. Art is a form of ideology that reflects people's lives, while serving the people at the same time.

A. I and II.

B. I and IV.

C. II and III.

D. III and IV.

Correct Answer: B

Source: Gaokao 2015 via China Daily

5. To understand the academic performance of 1,000 students, the systematic sampling method is adopted to choose 40 samples. What should the sampling interval be?

A. 50

B. 40

C. 25

D. 20

Correct Answer: C

Source: Gaokao, year unknown, via Bloomberg

 

 

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