QUIZ: Could You Pass the Gaokao?

By Bridget O'Donnell, July 7, 2020

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Each year as classes wind down, millions of students take the gaokao, China’s National College Entrance Examination. This week, more than 10 million are expected to take exam across China.

The lone criterion for admission into Chinese universities, the gaokao is a high-stakes exam on which students’ entire future depends.

READ MORE: Everything You Need to Know About the Gaokao

Scored on a scale of 750 points with questions varying from province to province, the gaokao generally includes tests of Chinese literature, mathematics and a foreign language (in most cases English). If students choose liberal arts as specialty in high school, they need to take additional tests related to history, politics and geography. If they choose science, they’ll take physics, chemistry and biology tests.

Lasting 10 hours over three days of grueling multiple choice, fill-in-the-blank and essay questions, the exam is something students spend 12 years studying for in hopes of getting admission to their university of choice (most of which only select one in 50,000 students). Every college has a lowest intake score which varies by province, and if students meet that requirement, they can be admitted. Otherwise, they will be rejected and passed on to another nominated school to see if the score meets their requirements. Check out this college matcher (in Chinese) to see what types of scores China’s universities are looking for.

But just how tough is it?

Find out how you would score on China’s notoriously difficult college entrance exam with our quiz below, which features real multiple choice questions that have appeared on previous tests.

(Quiz not loading? Try switching on a VPN).


Question sources: CNN, China Daily, Quora, Baidu 


This article was originally published on June 9, 2017. It has been updated and republished on July 7, 20