The multiple changes and hopes brought by the Gaokao reform

高考改革新方案多项举措欲动真格

Source: Caixin 财新, September 4th 2014

On September 4th, the Ministry of Education published the “opinions on the deepening of examination and students’ recruitment procedures reform” (关于深化考试招生制度改革的实施意见). The reform aims at resolving some of the system’s long criticized issues such as the popular view according to which “one exam determines one’s life”, the fight against the practice developed by certain elite universities of recruiting students through alternate ways and the “special policies” put in place by local governments to have their students get bonus points.

As a result, from 2015, bonus points from sports, artistic activities and other will be cancelled. Students will sit maths, Chinese, and English and will choose three other topics from other classes they have followed during high school.

Elite universities will not be allowed to form alliances, establish their own exams and organize trainings for “skilled” students they want to recruit. Each elite university will have its own procedures and these students will go through them after the <em>gaokao</em>1 .

Finally, exams for technical institutes and general universities will be separated, so that the view according to which students registering in these institutes are those who have failed the <em>gaokao</em> will be mildened.


  1. Universities can organize exams for students having skills they are looking for (Ex: music skills, language skills, sports skills…). Currently, these “special” exams take place before the gaokao, therefore students who go through them already know they will be recruited by a university before sitting the national exam. 

Translated by CDB Staff

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