Could you pass the world's toughest school exam?

Could you pass the world's toughest school exam?

China’s annual National College Entrance Exam, otherwise known as Gaokao, takes 12 years of preparation. It's notoriously tough, and it’s rumoured that students regularly spend 12 hours a day revising before the nine-hour exam.

Spread over two days at the end of high school, it tests students on their Chinese, foreign language, maths, science and the arts. The exam consists of a mixture of multiple choice, short answers and essay questions.

It’s a high-stakes scenario. Last year, officials went as far as deploying a drone to catch cheats, according to the BBC.

Some previous questions have been published online for you to have a go at:


Given f (x) = sinx - (2sqrt(3))(sin^2(pi/2)):

A) Find f(x)’s smallest positive revolution;

B) Find f(x)’s smallest value, given that the period is [0,2pi/3].


Write an essay on either of the topics in no fewer than 700 words:

a) There are numerous heroes in Chinese history who set examples. Please write an essay with the title "If I were given a chance to spend a day with my hero." Select a hero and imagine spending a day with him/her.

b) For what object you have a "passion deep in the soul?" You can choose a plant, an animal or a utensil to write about.


Choose one question to answer in 150 words or less:

a) Review a Chinese classic

b) Write a poem on "circle"

c) Comment on uncivilized behavior in Beijing


Please write an essay on the following:

Who do you think is the most glamorous person? A biotechnologist who led his company in international research, an ordinary welder who gained international fame through his work, or a photographer complimented widely for a series of photos?


A teacher asked the students to look at butterflies under a microscope. At first, they thought the butterflies were colorful, but when they looked at them closely, they realized that they were actually colorless.

Based on this story, write an essay.


A father was talking on the phone while driving on a highway. His daughter reminded him repeatedly to stop doing this, but her father would not listen. The daughter called the police and reported her father at last. When the police arrived, the father was reprimanded. This generated heated debate among the public.

Write a letter of 800 words to either the father, the daughter or the police officer.


Last October, President Xi Jinping said that while art is based on imagination, it should still be down-to-earth. There may be hundreds of ways to create art; the best way, however, is to trace back to the people's daily lives and create something based off of that. From a materialism point of view, this is because:

1. Art originates from the daily lives of people

2. Art depends on innovation

3. The way art reflects on society and its style is unified

4. Art is a form of ideology that reflects people's lives while at the same time serving the people

A) 1 and 2

B) 1 and 4

C) 2 and 3

D) 3 and 4


What happened in Soviet Russia in the 1920s?
A) Private enterprises began to emerge 

B) State-run businesses had more autonomy

C) The government prohibited the sale of food 

D) Peasants were active in collective farming

Scroll down for the answers.


1: A) 2pi B) -sqrt(3)

7: B

8: C

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