How would YOU fare answering this essay question from this year’s Gaokao?
Today is the first day of China’s two-day college entrance exam extravaganza, known in Chinese as gaokao (高考). If you’re a Chinese high school student, you’re probably sitting in an exam room right now sweating and wishing it was all over, but the rest of us –too old, too young, or too foreign to take the test — can only play armchair quarterback each year as hundreds of thousands of Chinese high school students face their destinies head on.
And what better way to play armchair quarterback than to try to answer the test’s infamous essay questions? The full list will probably appear tomorrow, but for now, you can whet your appetite with this question, which Xinhua says students from Henan, Shanxi, Jilin, Heilongjiang, Ningxia, Xinjiang, and Hainan have already faced. Please write your answers in essay format in the comments section, using a number 2 pencil. You have 45 minutes. Good luck!
The Traits of China’s Rise (translated from the above-linked Xinhua story)
Stories about China’s economic and political rise appeared on a list of “the ten biggest news stories of the 21st century” published by American Global Language Reseach, and are thus considered big news. The 750,000 print, digital, and internet media organizations that follow this published over 300,000,000 reports based on this information. So what aspects of China’s rise are the most worthy of commendation and attention? The China Youth Daily and Sina did an online poll and the six winning traits were: economic development, international influence, improvement of the peoples’ lives, technological [advancements], the new progress of cities, and China’s [overall] degree of openness. Following the above information, discuss your own thoughts. Choose an appropriate angle, draft your own title, select any style of writing you like (except poetry). Don’t stray away from what’s covered in the question, don’t quote/take from others, and don’t plagiarize.
How would you take on this question? Feel free to let us know in the comments. (Your comment can be in any writing style you like, even poetry!)
By the way, we wrote an in-depth feature for the magazine last fall called “The Pressure is On” that you should check out if you’re interested in the Gaokao. And if you want to find out how a gaokao question doubled the circulation of China’s leading sci fi magazine, pick up a copy of the magazine’s current issue!
Learn more about Gaokao over here.