Hello everyone. Welcome back to MaoMi Chinese!
When you hear this episode of the podcast, China's National College Entrance Exam(Gaokao) should have just ended. Every June 7th and June 8th are the days that determine the future of many students because these two days are the days of the National College Entrance Examination. I have also experienced Gaokao. Today, I would like to talk about my memories of Gaokao. I also interviewed some of my friends. Today, let's talk about what our Gaokao and our high school life are like.
In China, there are six years of middle school. Three years of junior high school, and three years of high school. The last year of high school is called senior year. Generally, June 7th and June 8th each year are the time for the college entrance examination. During these two days, all senior high school students in mainland China have to take the exam. The scores on this exam will determine which colleges these students go to. In the opinion of most people, if they can go to a good university, they will have better resources and a better life in the future. Because the results of the college entrance examination directly determine which university students go to in the future, it is really competitive every year. There are 11.93 million students taking Gaokao this year, but only about 1.8 million people are admitted to key universities each year, which means less than 19 percent of them are admitted to key universities. Some of the top universities among the key universities admit even fewer students.
In the first two decades of all Chinese people’s lives, Gaokao should be the most important exam. I remember when I was in my senior year of high school, I was in a boarding school and could only go home every two weeks. My classmates and I got up at 6:30 every day to start the whole day's study at 7:30, and ended at 10:00 in the evening. I also remember that I was very nervous during the two days of Gaokao. Even in the years after Gaokao, I sometimes still dream of it, and every time it is almost a nightmare. I also interviewed a few of my friends and asked them what their college entrance examination and high school life were like. Let's have a listen:
"Gaokao is a nightmare that I don't want to go back to. I didn't sleep for two days during Gaokao. There was a mental health counsellor in our school, and he said, ‘you are a talented person and you don't need to sleep to sit exams normally.’ I remembered that day was the mathematics exam. It was the most calming time for me to take the mathematics exam in my life. Whenever I have a nightmare, it is all about Gaokao and normally in the math exam classroom. I personally always bit my nails when I was nervous, so when I took the college entrance exam after I got out of the math exam, all my fingernails were gone."
My friend said that he hadn't slept for two days during Gaokao, and the school's mental health counsellor comforted him, saying that he was "uniquely gifted" and could take the test normally without sleeping. The idiom he said was "uniquely gifted", which means that he has a very special talent. He said that he was very nervous during Gaokao, and he would bite his fingernails when he was nervous, so his fingernails were almost gone after the examination in mathematics.
It sounds like that Gaokao is really stressful. Let's hear what other people have to say.
"I was very happy at the time. There were only two things to do every day, one was eating, and the other was working on exam papers. Hey, really, I was really happy. Maybe it's because I have a big heart. But the only thing that bothered me was that I didn't get enough sleep in high school. I only slept five or six hours a day. I was sleepy every day, but we had a nap at noon at school. I remember one time I didn't get enough sleep. When the bell rang for the class, our class mentor woke me up, and after he woke me up, I burst into tears, because I had a bad temper when I got up and it probably scared him."
"She has a bigger heart," said the friend. "The heart is quite big" is a fun way to say that a person is very optimistic and will not be under too much pressure. But because she could only sleep five or six hours a day in high school, she was very sleepy every day. One time after a nap, her class mentor woke her up, and she cried. "起床气", means that a person has a particularly bad temper when s/he just gets up and is particularly easy to get angry or sad.
Gaokao is an unforgettable experience for every child who goes to school in China. Are exams important in your country? What was your high school life like? Welcome to comment and share with us!