50,000 Shanghai students set to take college entrance examination

Starting tomorrow, 50,000 Shanghai students will appear for a three-day college entrance exam, probably the most important exam of their life.

Starting tomorrow, 50,000 Shanghai students will appear for a three-day college entrance exam, probably the most important exam of their life.

The students who will be appearing for this year’s exam are the pioneers of Shanghai’s pilot reform scheme, in which students will no longer be divided into science or liberal arts categories. They have to take unified tests in Chinese, math and foreign languages, and choose another three courses based on the requirements of university majors.

Across China, a total of 9.4 million high school students will sit for this year’s exam, also known as the gaokao, the Ministry of Education said.

Since college entrance exam resumed 40 years ago after the end of the Cultural Revolution in 1977, it has always been the pivot of China’s education system.

Shanghai Daily photographer Wang Rongjiang has documented some unforgettable moments of students and their parents at examination venues down the years.

Wang Rongjiang / SHINE

1998: Invigilators prepare ice to cool the temperature in examination halls before the college entrance exam. The exam was held on July 7-9 then. Very few venues were equipped with air conditioners at that time. After students and parents complained about the scorching heat, the exam was shifted to June 7-9 in 2003.

Wang Rongjiang / SHINE

2000: Volunteers wave anti-noise flags and persuade motorists to shut down their engines as they pass the examination sites. 

Wang Rongjiang / SHINE

2002: Anxious parents wait outside an examination site in rain. 

Wang Rongjiang / SHINE

2002: Accompanied by her parents, a girl does a quick revision from her textbook before the start of the exam.

Wang Rongjiang / SHINE

2003: Invigilators check the temperature of examinees following the outbreak of SARS epidemic that year.

Wang Rongjiang / SHINE

2003: Huang Zhuo, who broke a leg in a road accident just three days before gaokao, takes the exam in a specially arranged classroom. 

Wang Rongjiang / SHINE

2003: A man holds a placard of his restaurant, urging students and parents to try it out during the mid-day break. 

Wang Rongjiang / SHINE

2006: A student prays for good scores at the Confucius temple before the college entrance exam. 

Wang Rongjiang / SHINE

2006: A parent tries to get a closer look inside the examination venue.  

Wang Rongjiang / SHINE

2009: Students have much to talk and smile about as they walk out after giving their examinations. 

Wang Rongjiang / SHINE

2016: A boy gets a hug from his mother after the exam. The Chinese character on his relatives’ red t-shirts says “win.” Red is regarded as lucky and part of celebrations in China. 

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