高考 gaokao (university entrance exam in China)
Some poddies might be interested in the 高考 gaokao (university entrance exam in China.) Another 高考 has just come and gone. There are exams over four days; two Saturdays and yesterday and today. By comparison in Australia the Gr.12 exams are run over a number of weeks, to accommodate the huge subject choice available. Here in China subject choice is limited.
The other students (grades 10 and 11) at this time of year get a holiday (!), both to lessen congestion on the roads and to make classroom space. Classrooms that normally contain 50 or 60 students now have just half that for the exams, spreading the kids out to limit the opportunity for cheating.
In Grade 11 students take the 会考 huikao – to proceed to Grade 12 and university students have to get at least 60 in all subjects, covering the arts and sciences. However, students make a choice in Grade 12: 理科 (sciences) 或 文科 (arts). 理科includes 化学 (chemistry)，物理 (physics)， and 生物 (biology)。 文科 includes 政治 (politics)，历史 (history)，地理 (geography)。For the 高考 students take the following compulsory exams:英语 (English)，数学 (Maths)，语文 (Chinese) and one of 理科 (sciences) 或 (arts) 文科。
This does limit your choice of majors at university, but not as much as is commonly thought. A number of majors such as Economics will take students from either理科 or 文科. And some majors (eg. media studies, foreign languages) require an additional exam called 高考口语考试 (an oral English test.) The entrance test for higher degrees is called 试验 shìyàn.
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