Today and tomorrow marks probably the most important days in the lives of millions of young Chinese. After years of preparation, many study hours, tutor meetings, and sunday classes, today is the moment of truth: the National Higher Education Entrance Examination, better known as the gaokao 高考. The results of the test decides, to a large (too large, some experts argue) extend, the future of the students. It is the outcome of this test that influences which university you will go to, which major you will “choose,” what job you eventually will get, and how your career will develop. Of course, there are many other factors that contribute to all this, but more so than in most other countries, the gaokao is the center around which all of this revolves.

Each year, stories surrounding the gaokao make the news, including students on IVs to keep studying, sleep deprivation, mental breakdowns, you name it. The Shanghaiist gives a nice overview of this year’s examination madness in this article.

The newest Berkshire Essential, Education in China, includes an article on the gaokao, explaining its design and social importance. It also includes on what can be considered the predecessor of the gaokao, the imperial or civil service examinations; a system that was in place throughout  many dynasties and that shaped the way imperial China was ruled.

To read more about Education in China, or to order a copy at the limited-time discount price of only $99 (hardcover), visit our website.

ChinaConnectU wishes all gaokao takers the best of luck! We keep our fingers crossed for all of you! 加油!