Nine million Chinese high school students face their toughest test

David R Arnott writes

More than nine million Chinese students embarked Tuesday on the gaokao, a make-or-break college entrance exam described by Xinhua as “the most pressure packed test in the world.” Ramping up that pressure a little itself, the local news agency continued:

Expectations are high. Only a fraction will make it to the top universities in the country. The result of the two-day test could define their fate in a fast changing world. They will face their fears and some will conquer them. With the support of a nation, the future rests on the shoulders of a generation coming of age.  

According to a report in The Christian Science Monitor, teachers at some schools have adopted what is described as a more Western approach, aimed at encouraging their students to chill out, instead of piling on the stress:

A school in Beijing is telling its Year 13 students to go out and lie on the grass for a while. Others are organizing pillow fights or games of blind-man’s buff or limbo dancing competitions. 

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