The exact number of applicants for this year is 12.91 million, an increase of 980,000 from last year, according to the Ministry of Education. Their exams will last from two to four days, depending on their choice of subjects.

China’s college admission rate has seen a significant rise in recent years. Even so, the gaokao is widely recognized as one of the world’s toughest college entrance exams, mainly because admission relies primarily on exam results, rather than an overall estimation of a student’s academic performance over a period of time.

The whole society seems mobilized to give a helping hand to the gaokao candidates. In Beijing, 58,000 candidates are taking the gaokao exams at 100 test centers from Wednesday to Saturday. City authorities have banned construction sites from working at night, while those within a 500-meter radius of any test center will also suspend operations during the day.

Drivers have been told to refrain from blowing horns near test centers, and approximately 800 traffic police officers patrol the streets on motorcycles carrying an extra helmet, ready to shuttle any test-takers that have been stranded due to traffic jams. At some secondary schools, when the classes of 2023 start the exams, students in the lower years are dismissed, taking their courses online from home or leaving for school trips.

According to the