Gaokao exam 2

The Gaokao Exam, 2




useful A-Level spare a thought
ordeal flash (2) think/thought/thought (2)
spare describe sit/sat/sat (2)
dread bright (3) university entrance exam
attend future (2) tough/tougher/toughest
test (2) over (4) make a difference
chance spark (2) make/made/made
digit handle (2) early/earlier/earliest
hamlet fearsome big/bigger/biggest
rural add (2) opportunity
urban dream (3) immortalize
scarce immense pressure (2)
tier score (2) feel/felt/felt (2)
barely champion fall/fell/fallen (2)
fail believe (2) say/said/said
stun pitch (3) enough (2)
cram intense forget/forgot/forgotten
cope come up prepare for
tale (2) nervous come/came/come
dozen success broadcaster
modest turn out correspondent
mortal all her life see/saw/seen
statue grade (2) gateway (2)
parade post (3) throw/threw/thrown
revere team (2) early/earlier/earliest
bit (2) rebel (2) meet/met/met
put in compete put/put/put
rote view (3) rote learning
ability narrow (2) intelligence (2)
useless film (2) go/went/gone
result session (2) do-does/did/done
regard way (2) begin/began/begun
avoid poverty leave/left/left (2_
option level (3) tell/told/told
blame wide (2) impressive






As Britain’s A-Level students reached the end of their exam ordeal, spare a thought for China’s teenagers, nine million of whom have just sat the universal and universally dreaded Gaokao university entrance test.

It’s described as the world’s toughest exam, and can make the difference between a life lived in poverty and a brighter future.

A Channel 4 News first reported earlier this month a pressure on the students in an exam that last nine hours over two days is immense.

Our Asia correspondent John Sparks reports on how they handled the biggest test of their lives.

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She’s lived here all her life — a simple hamlet in rural China where people are poor and opportunities are scarce.

From her modest home however, Zhang Sha Sha dreamed of a brighter future. Two weeks ago she sat the Gaokao, China’s fearsome university entrance exam.

And the results have arrived by text message; her future dependent on a three-digit score. But the news isn’t good: her grades barely enough for a third-tier college.

Zhang Sha Sha, School Student: “There was only one chance for me. And I failed. I feel like the sky is falling down on me. My mom didn’t say anything; she’s stunned too. We can’t believe it.

We found Sha Sha cramming for the exam earlier this month on her school’s football pitch at 5:30 a.m.

And she wasn’t the only one. These students just a few of the nine million competing for a university place this year.

The pressure was intense.

And Miss Zhang said she couldn’t cope.

Zhang Sha Sha, Student Student: “I told myself to relax during the test . . . but then I forgot everything. Many of the questions I prepared for didn’t come up. I got too nervous on the day.”

Chinese broadcasters were more interested in tales of success this week. One school in northern China turned out half-a-dozen Gaokao champions, their three-digit scores flashed up for everyone to see.

Last year a student called Yang Yuen was immortalized with a statue after posting an impressive grade; the school even threw a parade.

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Not everyone reveres the Gaokao however. Earlier this month, our team met Lin Shao Chen, a bit of a rebel — he wasn’t putting in twenty hours per day study sessions.

The exam is all about rote learning he says. It’s not a test of intelligence.

Lin Shao Chen, School Student: “Their view of learning is too narrow. Learning? What is learning? Studying textbooks is only one way to do it.”

After the exam our team went to Shao Chen’s home to find out how he’d done. They began to film but his parents soon asked the crew to leave: they said his results weren’t good enough.

For many, the Gaokow is regarded as a gateway out of poverty. But those with money can avoid it by attending foreign universities. But that’s not an option for the Zhang family.

Sha Sha says her dream has died, and her mother blames herself.

Mrs. Zhang, Mother of Sha Sha: “Sometimes she asked me for help with her schoolwork. But I had to tell her I never went to school. I have no ability. I am totally useless. I wasn’t any help at all.”

Sha Sha says she’s finished with studying. Her education is over. It’s time to get a job, she adds and helped out her family.

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Games. The most difficult scholastic exam is the British school-leaving exam. True or false?

Songs, Singing.
In China, do only students in major towns and cities take the Gaokao exam?

Art, Drawing, Painting. Every student receives the results of their Gaokao exam in a document by mail. Is this right or wrong?

ABC. Is Zhang Sha Sha very thrilled, ecstatic and overjoyed? What happened to her?

Children’s Stories. Do Chinese students take a relaxed, casual approach to the Gaokao exam, or do they take it very seriously?

Reading and Writing.
Sha Sha did not perform well on the Gaokao exam because she was lazy, carefree and didn’t study. Is this correct or incorrect?

PE, Physical Education. Does everyone think the Gaokao examination and the educational system is ideal, flawless and perfect?

Math, Mathematics, Arithmetic. Have the Chinese government and media also criticized the Gaokao exam and educational system?

Science. Does the Gaokao examination completely level the playing field? Is the Gaokao exam a great equalizer? Does everyone have a completely equal chance of going to university and succeeding in life, no matter where they are from or what their social-economic background it?
Social Studies, Sociology, Literature. My classmates and I have (had) to take quizzes, tests and exams. Yes or no? Describe your exams. What are your exams like?

Chemistry. What do students think about exams? Do students like taking exams?

Biology. How do people enter university? How do universities accept applicants?

How do you think universities should admit new students? How should universities accept new students?

Classical Literature.
What might happen in the future?

Algebra, Geometry, Trigonometry. Should schools and universities change or reform? If yes, what should schools and universities do? What could people do?

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