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What’s Different About This Year’s “gāokǎo”?

Jul. 7, 2020

Introduction

The “高考(gāokǎo)” is China’s official college entrance examination, and is taken by qualified high school graduates (or equivalent) from mainland People’s Republic of China as a prerequisite for matriculation into nearly all undergraduate programs in China. The dates of 高考(gāokǎo)”college entrance examination” are generally June 7-8 each year, though in 2020 the test dates were postponed due to the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic.

高考 (gāokǎo) : College entrance examination

Example:

yì nián yí dù de gāokǎo zài jīntiān kāishǐ le
一年一度的高考在今天开始了。
The annual college entrance examination begins today.

History and Subject Areas

China has a national examination history of more than 1300 years, a practice which has influenced academic and talent selection in countries across East Asia.

While most of the examination history was in the form of an imperial civil service exam, in 1905 the Qing government introduced the western school examination system instead in order to promote new education and develop practical talents for the modern era.

The current iteration of the test, China’s modern “高考 (gāokǎo) college entrance examination” , created in 1952, has two main sources:

1) “传统 (chuántǒng) Traditional” Chinese philosophy and values based on the original imperial examination system;

2) “现代 (xiàndài) Modern” models of testing based on a western examination system.

The main subjects of the 高考(gāokǎo) are: Chinese, mathematics, and English (or another foreign language), each worth 150 points. In addition, students are further tested on comprehensive area studies of “Arts” or “Sciences”, having selected one of the tracks to focus on starting their second year of high school.

Exams subjects for students who focused on “Arts” are politics, history, and geography, while “Science” subjects are physics, chemistry, and biology. Each of these are worth 100 points, meaning the total possible高考 score is 750 (3*150 from main subjects + 3*100 from comprehensive subjects).

现代 (xiàndài) : adj. modern

Example:

kēxué wèi xiàndài jìshù zuò chū le jùdà gòngxiàn
科学为现代技术作出了巨大贡献。
Science has contributed much to modern technology.

This Year

On June 19, 2020, China’s Ministry of Education announced that the 高考(gāokǎo) would be postponed to July 7-8 from June 7-8, 2020, due to the outbreak of the coronavirus. This was especially significant given the fact that the 高考 is set to be, “the largest organized collective activity in China since the since the outbreak of the coronavirus.”

Given the stakes, the Ministry of Education, in close cooperation with the National Health Commission, will make “严格的( yángé de ) strict ”and “有序的 (yǒuxù de) orderly ” arrangements for temperature detection, opening and closing conditions, examination room layouts, personal protection, disinfection and ventilation, and preparation of epidemic prevention materials.

严格的 (yángé de) : adj. strict

Example:

yángé de xùnliàn shì wǒmen de mìmì wǔqì
严格的训练是我们的秘密武器。
Strict training is our secret weapon.

有序的 (yǒuxù de) : adj. orderly

Example:

tā xiàngwǎng píngjìng yǒuxù de shēnghuó
他向往平静有序的生活。
He yearns for a calm and orderly life.

HSK 3 quiz

Please choose the best option to fill the blanks.

1.māmā duì wǒ yǒuzhe______ yāoqiú.
妈妈对我有着 ______ 要求。

2.dàjiā zhèng ______ páiduì.
大家正 ______ 排队。

A.有序的 (yǒu xù de)
B.严格的 (yán gé de)

See Answer Analysis

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HSK 1 quiz

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