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Deciphering the Gaokao

Some odd questions from the gaokao


Deciphering the Gaokao

Some odd questions from the gaokao


This is it. The moment that decides your future in life. Your performance during these three rigorous days of testing could make or break you; send you soaring up to the heavens or spiraling into obscurity. You know exactly how important this is. But the essay questions staring you in the face aren’t making your life any easier.

You scream inside your head as you stare at the overwhelmingly vague questions laid in front of you, not knowing how you are supposed to answer to them. At this point, though, you have no choice. So you swallow back the anxious lump at the back of your throat and prepare to walk through the fire…

Here are some of the odder questions as reported on Shanghaiist:


“You can choose your own road and method to make it across the desert, which means you are free; you have no choice but finding a way to make it across the desert, which makes you not free.
Choose your own angle and title to write an article that is not less than 800 words.”

Sichuan Province:

“The world belongs to you only after you stand up.
Please choose your own angle and write about your thoughts on this sentence.”

Jiangsu Province:

“Some people say that nothing but the youth is immortal; someone say that the young people do not believe that they are going to die some days. This kind of thought is naïve. We keep telling ourselves and believing that there is actually some kind of eternity like the nature.
Please read the material and write an article.”

Fujian Province:

“When you mention “valley”, some people will think of “cliffs,” and others might think of “the ancient Chinese wrestle road along the cliff.”
Write a topic composition on this sentence that is no less than 800 words.”

Liaoning Province:

“Grandfather and grandson are watching views from the top of the hill. The grandson says that the Neon Light is really beautiful, because it makes the city colorful. The grandfather says back when the neon light didn’t exist, people are able to see the stars in the sky which are more beautiful.”
Write an article on this topic.

With questions like these, its no wonder that gaokao students find themselves resorting to extreme cheating.