努力學習 – Learning for exams

Tsinghua University Library
The library of Tsinghua University is filled with students – even on a Sunday morning in April when I was taking this picture.

I still have some time to prepare the exams that I have to take in my classes – other students are in the middle of preparing them and high school students are in the middle of the nationwide “高考”, the university entrance examination.
9,5 million high school students are taking part in the rally for the spots at the famous schools – the odds don’t look great to enter Beijing University or Tsinghua University – they are accepting only 6000 students.

The exams were schedules yesterday and and the day before yesterday and after the results are out, the students can use the points to apply at the universities. For Beijing University a score of 660 out of 750 points is necessary, unreachable for the majority of students. But it’s not that plain and easy: My language exchange partner told me that there are quotas for the provinces how many students they can be send to the top universities and in some areas you need to choose the universities before having taken the exam. This means if the exam is worse than expected, and one might not get into the university of one’s dreams, so one is taking some risk to apply for the top universities – my language exchange partner stated that he might not have taken the risk of putting “Beijing University” on his list, but at his province, there he knew his score before choosing the school.

The exams have different profiles for the different subjects one is going to choose at University. In general on can say that most of the questions will have a multiple choice system and don’t have a lot of “creative” taskes like the German exams at high school. When in Germany the content of something written for the English exam counted for 50 percent, it might be much less in China. Also students don’t have to write a lot in their English exams: A few hunderst words will be sufficient.

The candidates at the exams are not very lucky with the weather – it’s been burning the past days, the temperatures might jump over the 40 degree Celsius (about 100 Fahrenheit) barrier at some point soon. The ACs are running, but still the heat is making me a little “懒” (lan, lazy) and the length of my attention span is declining the hotter is gets.

As the students at Beijing University are studying hard to prepare their exams, I get the feeling that there is not much time left for me in Beijing. I will stay in China until September and my exams are in late July, the exams for Chinese students are coming up soon and their Semester will end at the end of June, earlier than ours. Some students will stay in Beijing, take some summer courses, others are looking for internships that need a serious preparation for the interviews that the companies are holing while others might be abroad for the holidays.

On the web I recently found an interesting (but quite long) article that touches various points of the Chinese education system. If you don’t want to read it all, I thing the first two sections are the ones that describe the current situation quite well.

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