What it is like to take the toughest exam in the world!!

With exams coming up, a lot of us have been feeling the pressure and seeing a stack of books all around does not really act as a calming factor anymore. Just like any other day filled with countless attempts on pomodoro sessions and motivating post-it notes plastered on the walls around me, i came across an article talking about the annual Gaokao exam, which is China’s National College Entrance Examination.The way the exam is held and the preparation for the same was phenomenally interesting to read about.

The Gaokao is considered to be one of the toughest exams in the world. It’s a 750 mark test held on June 7 each year. An unusual fact about it is that it is about 10 hours long and is taken over a span of 2-3 days!! Since the Gaokao is the sole criterion for admission in colleges in China, it’s almost like a do or die situation where you either have to pass with flying colours or wait for another 365 days to give the test since it’s held just once a year. As expected, everybody wants to excel at it since it’s a big deal, thus, the preparation for the test is as unimaginable as it could get.

The parents claim that the preparation starts even before the child has learnt how to write properly, most kids start from kindergarten and it continues with as much hard work as possible. A “Study Factory” (the local private school) located in the remote town of Maotanchang promises a 90% admission rate after giving the Gaokao. This makes it pretty clear why parents want their kids to study there. But all of this comes at a very high cost. The town of Maotanchang is considered to be one of the most boring places on Earth because it has no sources of entertainment whatsoever. A game shop once opened but had to be shut down because of a boycott by the local citizens. Simply put, there is nothing to do but study. Yet thousands of people shift to the town . There are no jobs whatsoever but the population doubled within the last decade.

The stakes are very high, the preparation needs to be such that gets you into a top tier college and the study factory ensures just that. It’s just at the cost that the school is run like a military training academy with the schedule consisting of 16 hour study days and almost zero distractions. Parents are allowed to visit just for three hours on sundays. Apart from the prep, the actual exam is very hard to crack. Any score above 700/750 is considered to be legendary. The paper itself consists of a Chinese literature section, a Math section and one foreign language section(usually english). Since the test is pretty hard, a lot of western universities have now started accepting Gaokao scores instead of the SATs or ACTs for Chinese students.

Here’s a sample of what the questions in the paper are like:

Write a letter to the 18-year olds of 2035.

Write an essay on the subject- The pictures of green mountains and clear water.

In a letter to James Madison in March 1787, George Washington wrote, “That thorough reform of the present system is indispensable, none who have capacities to judge will deny— and with hand and heart, I hope the business will be essayed in a full Convention.” What does the “thorough reform” refer to?

Scenes of students ripping their textbooks just before the exam because of intense stress were seen throughout the nation until the government had to ban the act altogether.

Even if you search on the internet regarding the ten toughest examinations in the world, Gaokao comfortably sits on the top, even above IIT-JEE and UPSC which take the second and third positions respectively!!

It seems that Dr Walter Pauk’s OK4R reading method i.e:

O- overview

K-key ideas

and the four Rs- reading, recall, reflect, revision

and some other such techniques can only help us crack such insanely hard tests 😉

best of luck to all

see you soon.

12 Comments Add yours

  1. Well that’s very true,
    And this sentence “Simply put, there is nothing to do but study.”
    Is really applied to all the students these days. 😞

    Liked by 1 person

    1. that’s the sad truth in today’s age of extreme competition:(

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Anonymous says:

    Wow! So interesting..

    Thankfully now we don’t have to appear in such exams!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. i know right 😂

      Like

    2. Rohini kapoor says:

      Didn’t know till date. Great info.
      Keep it up!👍👍👍

      Liked by 1 person

      1. thankyou so much:))

        Like

    3. seeratprabh says:

      The first paragraph does a spot on job at capturing the essence of a student’s ambience. So resourceful as whole. Spectacular…

      Liked by 1 person

      1. thankyou seerat💞

        Like

  3. Great work..keep it up

    Liked by 1 person

    1. thankyou very much ❤

      Like

    2. Seerat says:

      The whole first paragraph captures the complete essence so beautifully. So resourceful, spectacular…

      Liked by 2 people

      1. thankyouuu, means a lot<33

        Like

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