Second Day of College Entrace Exam

This is the second day of the nation wide College Entrance Exam. This is the very important day for middle school students in China. The 48 hours will be big impact to their future: Whether they can get higher score in the exam? Can they attend a university? Can they enter the university they want?

I talked with my friends who wanted to learn the university entrance processes in China. It works this way: Before the students know the score of their exam, they have to select three colleges as the proposed school to enter. Sometimes, and in some provinces, the selection happens before the exam, and other times, in other provinces, the selection happens after the exam (like in Henan in 1995). The trick is, since you don’t know your score yet, you have to estimate which kind of school you want. Typically, students have to be very careful to select the schools.

For example, when I faced the selection, I have two choices: Tsinghua University AND Shanghai Jiao Tong University. I think Tsinghua is a much better choice, but SJTU is a safer bet since it does not require as high score as Tsinghua. To put Tsinghua as the first choice was too risky, because if I fail, no school (including SJTU) will accept me and I risk having no university to choose. If a student put Tsinghua as the first choice and failed, the university on the second choice typically won’t accept the students since there are more than enough students put their name on the first choice. To keep the university competitive at the second year, the strategy most university take is, they would rather accept a student with lower score other than the students who put their name on the second or third choice. Maybe the student has to either enter a not-well-known university, or wait for the second year for the second try. Meanwhile, if I choose SJTU, it is a much safer bet, because I am 100% sure that I can enter this university.

Well. Obviously, my choice was the safer choice. So although my score finally turned out to be about 60 points higher than Tsinghua, since I didn’t put it on the first choice, I entered SJTU (as the first place of the province). It is very cruel that I cannot attend the university I wanted, but it is pretty fair – it was all about the choice of taking risk or not.

Whenever the exam comes, I thought about the experience and understand the importance of taking risks if I really want something.

Silence for the Students

In the morning, at many of the street corners, police put on sign to prohibit horning, like the sign above. And there are blackboard everywhere on the street reminding drivers that the entrance exam was going on and keep silence. You can see the black board right of the policeman in the picture below. Some smaller streets were completely closed to reduce the noise. It was a war for the students, and it was a war for the parents and the police.

Good luck to the students!

19 Comments

  1. Thanks for the interesting insight into the college entrance system in China! So…since you scored higher, is there a possibility of students using that score for the following year? Once you apply to the 2nd school, is there a way to go to the first school at all?

  2. Maybe it is the entrance system that distinguish Chinese students from the ones from other countries. :)

  3. to Yumi:

    score can only be used in that year only:)

    the process is: the 1st school see if your score is ok —if not—> the 2nd school see if it’s 1st-choice student who reach its score is enough —if not—> you have possible to enter the 2nd school, just possible —>…

    to Jianshuo:

    I’v been in Hangzhou before 17 then go to XJTU(Xi’an Jiaotong University) then:)

    I faced nearly the same situation as you:) though my score was not so high, hehe

  4. I think part of things changed nowadays, at least in our province–Zhejiang Province. Since last year or the year before last, I can’t remember clearly, the students make their choices after they know the scores of exams.

  5. yes, situation are different from province to province:)

  6. … I didn’t take a safe bet years ago, but chose a top school and top faculty

    … something went slightly wrong, I didn’t get in

    … dropped to my second choice

    … and I was unbelievably careless – I chose a faculty that didn’t exist in that school… just because my score was a lot higher than that school’s acceptance line, they decided one faculty that they thought might be good for me (or ‘normally for girls’), thus I was informed I could stay with my second choice

    … this was how I turned to be a finance majored student… hehe…

    I can’t imagine what I would be right now had I succeeded in my first choice, but really, I have nothing to complain about my life, especially my career now…

    Jianshuo, did you regret that you went to SJTU?

    I figure Tsinghua cannot guarantee a future as bright as you are having now, no school can…

    Everything did go quite well with you even you were not able to get into Tsinghua… so you yourself make what you are, not only the school… you agree? :-)

  7. choice is always much more important than ability:)

  8. Although I regreted a lot in the first two years in SJTU, but it was the best lesson I have ever learnt in my whole life to realize nothing is perfect, and what we can do is it try my best to improve in the current base. Meanwhile, it granted me another opportunity to skip a lot of classes (since I don’t like it), and really spend time on what I think is the most important (like computer and study the stories of the Silicon Valley). It is another benifit from it. We cannot go back to history. No one knows if I choose Tsinghua, my life will be better or worse. My personal guess is, I am more than happy with what the life has granted so far – everything: my family, my wife, my friends, my job, including this piece of interesting experience about choosing the school.

  9. Any one as a middle school student who have experienced the exam, I think he will has his own idea of it. Success or loss, we cannot perorate it in haste.

  10. To most students the exam is so funk.I have a classmate who is still can not wake from the nightmare of examming nowadays.We all hate the examination.

  11. rachelmitchell

    June 9, 2005 at 7:10 pm

    I know a few students in my high school were one of the best students, but somehow they failed the exam. most of those students were girls. I didn’t do well in the exam either but good enough to be picked up by my second choice. Today I have nothing to complain. God has decided it for me this way. It couldn’t be better for me. I met my future husband as I was still in the college. If I didn’t fail my exam the first year,I’m sure my life now will be different. Always do your best, but don’t regret about the past.

  12. Yes. Only one reason is good enough for me not to complain SJTU at all – I met Wendy there. :-)

  13. Mr. Wang,

    I read news on BBC today that Chinese goverment is ordering the registration of all personal blogs before June the 30th, with their personal information.

    Such policy is unthinkable in Europe…

    Does this affect you or your blog in any way?

  14. I watched the news this week and it mentioned that the students make sure they do not take cabs/taxis with the “inauspicious” numbers (0, 4 & 6) during exam-days.

    As I understand from that news, these numbers are avoided for the following reasons:

    – 0: looks like an egg, and therefore, no one wants to score a “zero egg” for their papers

    – 4: pronounced as “si” in Chinese which sounds like “die” in Chinese

    – 6: i think it’s because it sounds similar to a Shanghainese word that means “slipped away”.

  15. SJTU without a question, none a-flicker of thought-motion-reflection or otherwise. Unless your with “The Family” readily well-entrenched or just correctly well-networked aiming for a glorious return of central governance, national nepotism and the free-wheeling day’s of 80’90’s free unchecked central bank lending policies. SJTU most definately has regards as a better of the two compared to TsingHua (if your looking into a future corporate servitude role mind you… definately not of a new new new central nation revolutionary commander-future-in-chief thinker-doer) atleast inwhich my managed investor capital would flow into, regardless amoung these two institutes of very different genera’s.

    TsingHua’s lineal grapevine’s represents well the ineptness of both it’s past and present alumni’s, yet holding a deathgrip tight admist the remains of state enterprises and subsidiary. Perhaps rightly soo, as well as the uncompetative pyramid iron rice bowl, “devil you know is better then the one you don’t to many”

    Amany ghastly army-shaven crew cut’s of a beijing charlatan have i seen, tauting their glorious TsingHua tribal polka or eerier still amany RenMing Univ. journeymen claiming TsingHua-ism. I believe that gener’as almer mater was something like “take down the old elite thinkers, soo all will become common’ers and now equally free to struggle or starve while having everything taken from them by this new charlatan tribe” (pretty close idiology…)

    SJTU might still have some original Shang Hai RenMing attending, though few, very few ((another great leap foward policy of TsingHau ilks))… to deny education to the few original intellecutal urban SH’ers that remained behind. As if the notion of birthing another bunch of futuriest-thinking sun yat-sen cliche is heretic.

    Sadly enough SJTU will not teach you enpowerment or leadership, which is of-course is very well suited for those international corporate benefactors of the institution. Nonetheless there is always hope on ground spotted with twinkles of enlightenment against a heaven of nepotism ideals.

    Perhaps true social-capitalism will find middle ground.. ahhh that would be salvation to taut about..

    now where to find that ideal?

    ** WJS, met wendy at SJTU? Sounds good!

    Soo many pretty mm+jj’s at a (geeky engineering) school, im flustered – Now why didn’t i attend there? hmmm :) **

    JJJ 6/2005

  16. Hi Jianshuo, after writing my post last night, I watched again on SG tv, a newsclip from China, saying that the university students can get hold of the ANSWERS (!) to their papers a day (?) after their exams. But there are many parents who cannot wait that long and pay for these answers instead.

    Is this true?? I’m really amazed answers are given!

  17. SJTU is also a great school through out of China!

  18. kind of sad to seen this post even though I have always been holding respect for u, I just feel it’s another way of showning off.

    Not mention that most of the 1st and second year courses in SJTU were very similiar to Tsinghua, which means you will probably feel bored as you claimed even if you entered the Tsinghua. As far as I can recalled, most people get bored with those core courses, and most of fun we have at SJTU were not likely to be coming from classroom.

    Besides don’t you remember that your skipping classes actually brought you somewhat bad consequences.

  19. I’d like to know how the different subjects are “weighted” in the ranking process….. and especially the role that english plays (this would be the CET 4/6 exams i think, but i might be wrong). I have read that people with great talent in their other majors, can’t get in because of low marks in english, even though english is not langauge of instruction. But that was a post grad studies story. How important is a good college entrance english test result in china these days? Do employers really take any notice?

    xie xie

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *