Entrance exams see record turnout

Source:Global Times Published: 2013-1-5 21:26:00

The kaoyan, China's national entrance examinations for graduate students, kicked off on Saturday with more than 1.8 million participants, the highest turnout in eight years. This year saw nearly 150,000 more test takers than in 2011, and in the last three years, the number of participants has grown by more than 100,000 annually, according to people.com.cn.

This year's kaoyan saw stricter regulations in comparison to previous years to ensure fairness. For example, different versions of the exams, with questions in different order, were given out to cut down on cheating.

Anyone caught sneaking communications devices into exam rooms would be punished according to relevant regulations. Those found cheating will face a maximum penalty of three years in prison, according to the China News Service.

There are nearly 7 million college graduates this year, meaning approximately one out of four recent graduates chose to take the kaoyan.

A senior student surnamed Dong who studies finance at Hainan University was one of the many to take the test in its record year.

He began preparing for the kaoyan when he was a junior because he wanted to land a good job in the future.

"A good education background is one of the key things employers look for," Dong was quoted by hinews.cn as saying.

Advantage in the real world

Some seniors seem keen to put off entering the real world, and many have no intention of sending resumes or job hunting in their last year of college.

A student from Hainan University said he sees no reason to start looking for a job yet.

"If I don't pass the exams, I can look for jobs in May or April. The kaoyan doesn't have any influence on my plans for job hunting," said a senior surnamed Zeng from the university's School of Management.

In addition to undergraduates, people who graduated college years ago also joined the kaoyan army.

Zhou Hai, a 41-year-old senior manager of a real estate company, went to the classroom where he would take the exam at Sichuan University in Chengdu on Friday, one day before the kaoyan, to get used to the environment, the Chengdu Evening News reported.

Zhou graduated with a degree in civil engineering from Tsinghua University in 1997 and has since worked in Beijing, Shanghai, and Qingdao in Shangdong Province. He failed to pass the kaoyan in 2001. While he is devoted to his career, passing the kaoyan has become a huge part of his life.

"Many of my classmates' lives changed via the kaoyan," Zhou was quoted by the Chengdu Evening News as saying.

"As a developing city in West China, Chengdu's real estate has great potential. I want to expand my business to this region," Zhou said. "The kaoyan has been one of my life goals."

In between his many obligations, Zhou worked hard to squeeze every minute he could to prepare for the kaoyan.

As it has been 15 years since he left college, he has had less time to study and faces pressures at work. However, his rich social experiences have taught him a thing or two.

"I couldn't understand parts of the kaoyan years ago. But now I understand because I have changed my approach to problem solving," Zhou said.

Broadening opportunities

Pu Yang, a 26-year-old bank employee, has been preparing to apply to an MBA program at Sichuan University this year.

"A master's degree will be helpful to my work-related skills and professional growth," Pu was quoted by the Chengdu Evening News as saying.

Since September, Pu had made use of his spare time to study for the kaoyan. "I could only study for two hours at a time, " he said, adding that preparing was a challenge.

Xiong Bingqi, a vice president at 21st Century Education Research Institute, said that test takers and universities alike approach the kaoyan without much of a plan, the Shanghai Evening Post reported.

Many of the participants don't know what they want to do and don't know how to plan their future academic life and career. Meanwhile some universities pursue more disciplines and develop graduate programs to improve their reputations, Xiong said.

The kaoyan boom will no doubt have negative impacts on graduate education and professional training, he added.

Global Times

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