National College Entrance Examination (Gaokao)

The past two days are special for the 7.23 million examinees and their parents. It is the National College Entrance Examination (Gaokao in Chinese). Based on the current education system in China, the result of the two day exam greatly impacts the future of any students in China. The score will decide whether you can receive college education. For most places in China, only half of the students are eligible for college education (only 3.40 million will be admitted to colleges in 2003) and the rest has to start work after high-school. In cities like Beijing and Shanghai, students are lucky enough to have a much higher ratio (more than 70%) to enter colleges.

Tsinghua, Peking University, Fudan University and Shanghai Jiao Tong University are among the first class in China. But only very few people can go there.

To enter a college or not, or to enter a good college or not directly impact the first offer they can get after graduate and impact their career. So it is the most critical time for students.

Isaac recorded the “No Honking During Gaokao” sign. I saw the same sign near Henan Rd. and Zhaojiabang Rd.. Not only honking is not allowed. All construction sites around schools were ordered to work in limited time in the recent 10 days. Thousands of policemen are working around schools to make sure there is no noise or traffic jam during the two important days. Taxi drivers even offer free ride to transport examinees and their family.

My Gaokao

My experience with the College Entrance Examination was in 1995. It was sunny. I remember those two days clearly because there were stories. I remember I did very bad in the first exam – Chinese. I am not good at composing articles and reciting the poems. I even didn’t completed the article in the composing part :-( I felt blue when I stepped out of the classroom. The sunny day was not sunny for me. I didn’t go to my parents who were waiting form me outside the gate of the school. Instead, I rushed to the play field to adjust my mood. It helped.

Fortunately, I recovered from the negative impact of the first session. I performed pretty well in the following 4 sessions. The exam result came out. As I expected, I got only around 560 in the 100 – 900 point system in Chinese – it is a little bit better than the average. That is the reason I always feel uncomfortable to write Chinese content till now.

However, the other four exam results went super high. Each of them are near the full score. For English exam, I even got the highest score (900 in standard scoring system) among all the 500,000 examinees. The overall score is 825 point. According to the Stand Scoring System, it means, my score in that exam was higher than 99.942303% of other examinees. So I can say I was the among top 0.057697% of the 500,000 million candidate. :-D If I didn’t fail too badly in Chinese exam, maybe I can got higher overall score. It is a pity that I didn’t put Tsinghua, the best university in my mind, onto my application form, although the score turned out to be 60 point higher than their cutoff score.

I am still lucky to have chose Shanghai Jiao Tong University, since Wendy entered the school the same year. She also did excellent job in that exam. The China Southern Airlines offered three tickets to Shanghai to top 3 students to SJTU. Wendy also got the ticket.

Appendix

Here is the table to convert a standard score, like 825, to a position in all examinees.

Table to Convert a Standard Score to Position in All Examinees
T 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 T
500 50000000 50400001 50800002 51200002 51599997 51990002 52389997 52789998 53189999 53590000 500
510 53979999 54380000 54780000 55170000 55570000 55960000 56360000 56750000 57139999 57529998 510
520 57929999 58319998 58710003 59100002 59480000 59869999 60259998 60640001 61030000 61409998 520
530 61790001 62169999 62550002 62930000 63309997 63679999 64060003 64429998 64800000 65170002 530
540 65539998 65910000 66280001 66640002 67000002 67360002 67720002 68080002 68440002 68790001 540
550 69150001 69499999 69849998 70190001 70539999 70880002 71230000 71569997 71899998 72240001 550
560 72570002 72909999 73240000 73570001 73890001 74220002 74540001 74860001 75169998 75489998 560
570 75800002 76109999 76419997 76730001 77029997 77340001 77640003 77939999 78230000 78520000 570
580 78810000 79100001 79390001 79670000 79949999 80229998 80510002 80779999 81059998 81330001 580
590 80590003 81860000 82120001 82380003 82639998 82889998 83149999 83399999 83649999 83890003 590
600 84130001 84380001 84609997 84850001 85079998 85310000 85540003 85769999 85990000 86210001 600
610 86430001 86650002 86860001 87080002 87290001 87489998 87699997 87900001 88099998 88300002 610
620 88489997 88690001 88880002 89069998 89249998 89440000 89620000 89800000 89969999 90147001 620
630 90319997 90490001 90657997 90824002 90987998 91149002 91308999 91465998 91621000 91773999 630
640 91924000 92072999 92220002 92364001 92506999 92646998 92785001 92922002 93055999 93189001 640
650 93318999 93448001 93573999 93699002 93822002 93943000 94062001 94178998 94295001 94408000 650
660 94520003 94630003 94738001 94845003 94950002 95052999 95153999 95253998 95352000 95449001 660
670 95542997 95637000 95727998 95818001 95907003 95994002 96079999 96164000 96245998 96327001 670
680 96407002 96485001 96561998 96638000 96711999 96784002 96855998 96925998 96995002 97061998 680
690 97127998 97193003 97257000 97320002 97381002 97441000 97500002 97557998 97614998 97670001 690
700 97724998 97777998 97830999 97882003 97931999 97982001 98030001 98076999 98123997 98168999 700
710 98214000 98256999 98299998 98341000 98382002 98422003 98461002 98500001 98536998 98574001 710
720 98610002 98645002 98679000 98712999 98745000 98777997 98808998 98839998 98869997 98899001 720
730 98927999 98956001 98983002 99009699 99035800 99061298 99086303 99110597 99134099 99157602 730
740 99180198 99202400 99224001 99245101 99265599 99285698 99305302 99324399 99343097 99361300 740
750 99378997 99396300 99413198 99429703 99445701 99461401 99476600 99491501 99506003 99520099 750
760 99533898 99547303 99560398 99573100 99585497 99597502 99609298 99620700 99631900 99642700 760
770 99653298 99663597 99673599 99683303 99692798 99702001 99711001 99719697 99728203 99736500 770
780 99744499 99752301 99759901 99767298 99774402 99781400 99788201 99794799 99801201 99807400 780
790 99813402 99819303 99825001 99830502 99835902 99841100 99846202 99851102 99855900 99860501 790
800 99865001 99869400 99873602 99877697 99881703 99885601 99889302 99892998 99896502 99899900 800
810 99903238 99906462 99909568 99912602 99915528 99918360 99921119 99923778 99926358 99928862 810
820 99931288 99933630 99935901 99938101 99940240 99942303 99944288 99946231 99948102 99949908 820
830 99951661 99953347 99954993 99956578 99958110 99959588 99961030 99962419 99963760 99965048 830
840 99966311 99967521 99968690 99969822 99970913 99971968 99972987 99973983 99974930 99975848 840
850 99976742 99977589 99978417 99979222 99979991 99980742 99981463 99982148 99982822 99983472 850
860 99984092 99984688 99985272 99985832 99986368 99986893 99987388 99987870 99988341 99988788 860
870 99989218 99989641 99990040 99990427 99990797 99991161 99991506 99991840 99992156 99992466 870
880 99992764 99993050 99993324 99993593 99993849 99994093 99994332 99994558 99994779 99994987 880
890 99995190 99995387 99995571 99995750 99995923 99996090 99996251 99996406 99996555 99996698 890
  1.00000000

The table was quoted from ChinaSchool

P.S. Yesterday, for the first time, I saw the page view for this site goes up to 8000+ hits/day. It is nice.

15 thoughts on “National College Entrance Examination (Gaokao)

  1. It’s said that one won’t learn a foreign language well if he/she does not well at his/her native language. According to this saying, you are too modest when talking about your Chinese. :)

  2. Hello!

    For ages I was trying to find some information on how to interpret Gaokao scores (in English), and finally I came across your posting. I would really-really appreciate it if you could explain in detail how to use the table you provided, how the scoring system works, and what kind of scores would you expect from a good student?

    Thank you in advance!

  3. Very good job! Only one tip: The distribution of score of national entrance examination should not be the uniform but the gaussian. Your range would be more higher :-)

  4. Hi,

    I am a journalism student at Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism. I’m doing a story on your blog topic (Gaokao exams) for a trend story. I was wondering if I could use some information off your blog for my story or you could email me or call me so I could get some quotes from you or any other interesting anecdotes.

    Thank you very much for your attention to this.

  5. Hi,

    Could anybody provide a link to some scholarly articles which look at the Chinese model of unified entrance examinations?

    Many thanks!

  6. Can you please tell me when the 2007 gaokao will take place? Thanks, Song Ya

  7. June 5th 2007

    Can someone please e-mail me with the following information, please. My e-mail address is englishteacher_djp@yahoo.co.uk

    I am a British teacher working in China so I am not fmailiar with the intricacies of the Chinese ‘Gaokao’ system about to take place this week. I have two questions only:

    1) I have been informed by a student that she will receive a card prior to the examination and that once she receives that card, she MUST sit the examinations. The way she explained this made it seem that if she did not sit the exams having been given this card, she would be hunted down and shot. She already has a place at a university and claims to be sitting th gaokao only because of this card. My advice has been that she should not sit an exam that she has no need to sit.

    2) Approximately when will the 2007 exam results be published?

    Thanks

    Dave

  8. Hi all!

    Is National College Entrance Examination had a negative effect into a student??

    if yes why??

    please answer my question

    THANKS?

  9. What about transparency?

    Who guarantees that the whole pointing and grading procedure is fair?

    Am I allowed to see my exams after they’ve been graded?

  10. hi! can i have your opinion if you don’t mind? Is National College Entrace Examination should be abolish? yes or no? why? thanks!

  11. Very intelligent blog. A pleasure to read … and the English is so good;-)

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