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    Across China, a Test of Futures: The 2024 Gaokao in Photos

    A selection of photos from exam sites in Shanghai and across the country.
    Jun 07, 2024#gaokao#education

    Starting Friday, a record 13.42 million students across China will face the gaokao, the country’s rigorous college entrance examination. The stakes are high: their scores will not only determine their university placements but also shape their professional futures for years to come.

    Along with 510,000 more students than 2023, this year also marks the first time seven provinces are implementing new gaokao reforms.

    Announced in 2021, the revised gaokao policies enhance flexibility in subject selection beyond the core of Chinese language, math, and English. Students can now choose between physics and history, as well as two additional electives from chemistry, biology, politics, or geography.

    Previously, the gaokao divided students along distinct academic tracks: humanities students concentrated on politics, history, and geography, while science students focused on physics, chemistry, and biology.

    To ensure a clean and fair exam environment, local authorities across China have implemented a range of security measures, including real-time surveillance systems, facial recognition, and fingerprint scanning in exam halls.

    Documenting the first day of exams nationwide, Sixth Tone captured scenes from exam sites in Shanghai and across the country.

    (Header image: Mothers in traditional Chinese garments hold sunflowers for good luck while waiting for their children to finish the exam in Nanning, Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, June 7, 2024. VCG)