The 7th June is a date many students in China will remember for the rest of their lives. It is the day of the 2012 Gaokao, China's college entrance exams. With over 9 million students sittng the exam last year, competition for places at China's elite universities is fierce. In the run up to the tests, many students will dedicate almost every moment to study in the hope of getting a high score. In some parts of China, the pressure to do well has lead to students taking extreme measures to increase performance; last month photos emerged of row upon row of students at a Hubei high school revising while hooked up to IV drips to help them increase concentration.
While the gaokao system has come under criticism in recent years our visit to a Beijing High school revealed that many students and teachers alike feel they have no choice but to accept the status quo.
"Maybe people who hear about the Gaokao will consider it is a nightmare for most of the Chinese teenagers, or graduates from senior high" says Mrs Zhu, a third year English teacher. "But I want to say that its a thing that everybody has to experience so the key is not whether you should avoid it, or give it up, but try to face it."
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