Chinese Exams

I don’t think I’ve mentioned  before just how important the end of high school exams are for Chinese students. The 12 hour school days, 5 hours of homework every night and extra classes in English, math and music exist for students to get as ahead in each subject as they can before they take their exams. In their last year of high school they have to take exams in their 9 areas of study: Math, Biology, Chemistry, Physics, English, Chinese, Geography, History, and Politics. These exams are taken so they can enter University. The higher the mark, the more choice they have in Universities. Their extra curriculars in music, english school and sports may help them depending on what they choose to study in University. The reason for such pressure to do well in the exams? If they don’t do well and fail to go to University, they basically become restaurant servers, factory workers, cooks, cleaners, clerks, or taxi drivers for life. I’m speaking in relation to life in Hohhot, which is a relatively small city for China. Getting into University is extremely competitive for a country with so many people, and finding well-paying jobs post-University is even harder. That’s why students are encouraged and expected to study so hard from the age of 7 – 18. If they don’t excel at school and find some way to stand out amongst the hundreds of other children in their classes, they will have less opportunities as adults. It’s no wonder that students are up to 2am every night doing homework. It’s for this reason that I never get too stressed or angry when my older TB students don’t do my assigned homework. I’m sure there’s an excellent reason for it.

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