This Chinese college entrance exam is probably the most difficult test in the world.

Schooling is really boring. If you’re a school-going individual, then exams might be your worse nightmare, but its inevitable. That awkward moment when you’re about to sit for that exam that’s seems life-threatening. But just imagine for a moment if that test was completing one grueling 9-hour test. In comparison, your college exam feels like coloring books as against the Chinese college entrance exam: The Gaokao.

Related media: China’s Gaokao — One Exam, 10 Million Examinees

The World’s Toughest Test

The Gaokao is like … Most Chinese students spent their entire lives studying for this heck of a demon threatening test that happens every June. It’s not just a long ass heck of a test, but it’s impractically difficult as well. There are many students who have aced the SAT and ACT exam — including Bill Gates — however, no one has ever had a perfect score on The Gaokao yet.

The test requires candidates to have mastery in Chinese history, English grammar, and complex calculus — that’s just the prerequisite. Science students seeking to study pure science will be tested on biology, chemistry, physics, and with abstract algebra. Liberal arts students must show their proficiency in political theory, history, and geography. (No wonder this test is meant for the Chinese only).

How Tough Is The Test?

Image: CGTN News | Chinese final year student sitting for the Gaokao exam

According to the state news agency Xinhua, some 9.4 million students take the test each year, competing to get into the country’s top universities amidst incredible pressure from their parents and families. How fortunate that we’re not Chinese. No offense Chinese.

“It’s impossible to get full marks,” Zhang Yi, a Chinese language high school teacher in Zhuhai, Guangdong province, told Bloomberg. “You may get all the answers right in math, but for Chinese and other liberal arts subjects, students write many things, and that’s highly subjective. Even bad handwriting will cost you points.”

Now, The Gaokao Exams

We have a sample of some of the questions you’re likely to meet in the Gaokao exam. Though most questions are multiple choice, it’s almost unfair how hard this 750-point test is.


If x + y ≥ a, x – y ≤ -1 and the minimum value of z = x + ay is 7, a = ?

A. -5

B. -5 or 3

C. 3

D. 5 or -3


Between June and August, a cruise ship travels from Fujian province to Venice, passing by Mumbai. Which of the following would it experience on the way?

A. When passing through the South China Sea, the cruise will face continuous rain.

B. When passing through the Arabian Sea, the cruise will sail against winds and currents.

C. When passing through the Red Sea, large stretches of forests will be seen alongside the coast.

D. When passing through the Mediterranean Sea, the cruise will experience several days of rainstorms.

English Grammar

It’s a … clock, made of brass and dating from the 19th century.

A. charming French small

B. French small charming

C. small French charming

D. charming small French

Essay Prompt

You are free because you may choose how to cross the desert; you are not free because you must cross the desert either way. Write an 800-word essay on this.

We now understand why Jack Ma became an entrepreneur.

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Written by: Nana Kwadwo, Wed, Apr 24, 2019.


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