China’s college entrance exam, or gaokao, is taking place on June 7 and 8. As reported by the New York Times, the government is trying to keep Covid-19 out of this essential but grueling exam.

A record-high of over 11.9 million students registered to take the exam. All students must follow the state’s anti-pandemic measures even before the exam. For example, gaokao goers are discouraged from leaving their residences for at least two weeks before the exam.

Test takers from locked-down areas must travel to testing sites in specially arranged vehicles. They must also meet basic prerequisites such as temperature checks, masks, and negative P.C.R.

This year, isolation or hospital rooms are prepared for anyone who has tested positive or has been in close contact with someone positive.

Every June, the gaokao is a hot topic in Chinese news media and social platforms. This grueling test selects less than 2% of candidates who will be eligible to enroll in the nation’s top universities.

Years of intense studying come down to 2 or 3 nine-hour days of exams that will determine whether they will attend college. However, the COVID outbreak has repeatedly disrupted their study due to long-term lockdowns. 

A father surnamed Peng told the Washing Post, ​​“They’ve been taking online classes for three years. If they have to compete with students across the country, they will be at a disadvantage.”

According to The Paper, this year’s Beijing version of the exam includes a pandemic-related topic essay. It requires students to draft a slogan encouraging social distancing while waiting in line for coronavirus tests.

The college entrance exam has been organized throughout the country, except in Shanghai, which postponed the gaokao until July.

Sign up to receive our latest news!

By submitting this form, I agree to the terms.