The 2024 Gaokao: A Landmark Day for Millions of Chinese Students



By
Sinomachining
07 June 24
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Gao Kao Jia You - Goo luck on your exams

Today, June 7, 2024, marks the first day of the national college entrance examination in China, commonly known as the Gaokao, equivalent to the SAT Reasoning Test in the United States. We extend our best wishes to all examinees, hoping they achieve excellent results and bright futures.

This year, the Gaokao sees a record-breaking 13.42 million candidates, an increase of 510,000 from last year. To accommodate this surge, 7,926 testing centers and 359,000 regular examination rooms have been set up nationwide, along with 22,000 backup examination rooms. Over 1.07 million invigilators are on duty to ensure the smooth conduct of the exams.

Uniform Examination Dates Across Provinces

The start date for the Gaokao is standardized across all provinces to ensure fairness. Since 2003, the exams have been scheduled annually on June 7 and 8. While most regions complete the examination in two days, some provinces extend it to June 9 or 10. This timing is strategically chosen to avoid the extreme summer heat and to provide ample preparation time for students. June offers a balanced climate across the country, minimizing the risk of weather-related disruptions. Beyond June, southern China experiences increased rainfall, while northern China faces intense summer heat, both of which could adversely affect exam conditions.

Exam Formats: Traditional and New Gaokao Regions

The Gaokao is divided into traditional and new Gaokao regions. Traditional Gaokao regions (all provinces except the new Gaokao regions) hold exams on June 7-8. The new Gaokao is split into two models: the 3+1+2 model and the 3+3 model.

3+1+2 Regions (Hebei, Liaoning, Jiangsu, Fujian, Hubei, Hunan, Guangdong, Chongqing): Exams span three days, from June 7 to 9.
3+3 Regions (Shanghai, Zhejiang, Beijing, Tianjin, Shandong, Hainan): Exams last four days, from June 7 to 10.

Traditional Gaokao (June 7-8)
June 7: 9:00-11:30 Chinese, 15:00-17:00 Mathematics
June 8: 9:00-11:30 Integrated Science/Arts, 15:00-17:00 Foreign Language

3+1+2 Model New Gaokao (June 7-9)
June 7: 9:00-11:30 Chinese, 15:00-17:00 Mathematics
June 8: 9:00-10:15 Physics/History, 15:00-17:00 Foreign Language
June 9: 8:30-9:45 Chemistry, 11:00-12:15 Geography, 14:30-15:45 Politics, 17:00-18:15 Biology

3+3 Model New Gaokao (June 7-10)
June 7: 9:00-11:30 Chinese, 15:00-17:00 Mathematics
June 8: 15:00-17:00 Foreign Language
June 9: 8:30-9:30 Physics, 11:00-12:00 Politics, 15:00-16:00 Chemistry
June 10: 8:30-9:30 History, 11:00-12:00 Biology, 15:00-16:00 Geography

Historical Context of the Gaokao
The first national Gaokao was held in 1952, with exams conducted over three days in mid-August. However, the Cultural Revolution halted the Gaokao in 1966, and it wasn’t reinstated until 1977. Initially, the exam dates were not fixed, with tests conducted in both winter 1977 and summer 1978.

From 1979 to 2002, the Gaokao was held annually on July 7-9. However, due to the extreme heat in July and frequent natural disasters, the date was moved to June starting in 2003. The decision aimed to provide more favorable conditions for both students and educators. The new date also allowed for a longer summer break post-examination, which was well-received by students.

Cultural Significance of the Dates
The choice of June 7-9 is also symbolically significant. The numbers “678” phonetically resemble “录取吧” (lu qu ba), meaning “get admitted,” which augurs well for the students. The number 9 symbolizes longevity, reflecting hopes for students to achieve enduring success through higher education.

Regardless of the exam date, what truly matters is the effort and preparation put forth by the students. The Gaokao is a pivotal event that can significantly impact one’s future. As the saying goes, “Work hard in June, and you won’t be working on a construction site in September.” To all examinees, face this challenge with your best effort and confidence. Good luck!

Post-Gaokao: Making Life’s Crucial Choices
Upon completing the Gaokao, students face another critical phase: filling out their college applications. This process involves selecting their “first choice” universities and preferred majors.

The Gaokao is more than just an exam; it is a rite of passage that determines the academic and professional future of millions of young Chinese students every year. Its historical significance, rigorous structure, and the crucial choices it leads to underscore its pivotal role in shaping the educational and career landscape in China. As students prepare and sit for this exam, they carry the hopes and aspirations of their families and themselves, aiming to secure a place in the country’s prestigious higher education institutions.

China Gaokao Registration and Admission Numbers 1977-2023

Gaokao Registration and Admission Numbers (1977-2023)

1977: Registered – 5.7 million, Admitted – 278,000
1978: Registered – 6.1 million, Admitted – 402,000
1979: Registered – 4.8 million, Admitted – 299,000
1980: Registered – 4.9 million, Admitted – 281,000
1981: Registered – 4.2 million, Admitted – 289,000
1982: Registered – 2.98 million, Admitted – 278,000
1983: Registered – 2.79 million, Admitted – 290,000
1984: Registered – 2.8 million, Admitted – 311,000
1985: Registered – 2.76 million, Admitted – 338,000
1986: Registered – 2.85 million, Admitted – 371,000
1987: Registered – 3.19 million, Admitted – 461,000
1988: Registered – 3.35 million, Admitted – 514,000
1989: Registered – 3.4 million, Admitted – 535,000
1990: Registered – 3.36 million, Admitted – 600,000
1991: Registered – 3.53 million, Admitted – 600,000
1992: Registered – 3.52 million, Admitted – 620,000
1993: Registered – 2.85 million, Admitted – 620,000
1994: Registered – 2.79 million, Admitted – 620,000
1995: Registered – 2.81 million, Admitted – 710,000
1996: Registered – 2.92 million, Admitted – 720,000
1997: Registered – 2.94 million, Admitted – 758,000
1998: Registered – 3.17 million, Admitted – 900,000
1999: Registered – 2.87 million, Admitted – 1.6 million
2000: Registered – 3.75 million, Admitted – 2.2 million
2001: Registered – 4.54 million, Admitted – 2.67 million
2002: Registered – 5.1 million, Admitted – 3.04 million
2003: Registered – 6.12 million, Admitted – 3.82 million
2004: Registered – 7.04 million, Admitted – 4.47 million
2005: Registered – 8.67 million, Admitted – 5.04 million
2006: Registered – 9.5 million, Admitted – 5.46 million
2007: Registered – 10.1 million, Admitted – 5.67 million
2008: Registered – 10.5 million, Admitted – 6.07 million
2009: Registered – 10.2 million, Admitted – 6.25 million
2010: Registered – 9.57 million, Admitted – 6.57 million
2011: Registered – 9.33 million, Admitted – 6.75 million
2012: Registered – 9.15 million, Admitted – 6.85 million
2013: Registered – 9.12 million, Admitted – 6.99 million
2014: Registered – 9.39 million, Admitted – 7.21 million
2015: Registered – 9.42 million, Admitted – 7.32 million
2016: Registered – 9.36 million, Admitted – 7.34 million
2017: Registered – 9.4 million, Admitted – 7.36 million
2018: Registered – 9.75 million, Admitted – 7.91 million
2019: Registered – 10.31 million, Admitted – 8.14 million
2020: Registered – 10.71 million, Admitted – 8.51 million
2021: Registered – 10.78 million, Admitted – 9.09 million
2022: Registered – 11.93 million, Admitted – 9.67 million
2023: Registered – 12.31 million, Admitted – 9.93 million

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