Welcome to Stressville; Chinese college entrance exams 2012


It’s that time of the year again when over 9 million Chinese students prepare to go through emotional hell: the infamous college entrance exams.

Over 9 million students are at the end of their middle school lives – fighting it out with pen and paper for just 6.5(+) million spots in university. For those poor souls who are unable to find a place – god help them as they face their parents.

For the poor Chinese student, the college entrance exam can mean everything. Throughout their school lives they are put under ridiculous amounts of pressure to work hard and perform. In China, if you’re not extremely good at something, you’re simply one of the crowd – and in China, that crowd is absolutely massive.

Throughout their school lives, students work long hours, have minimal breaks and extreme amounts of homework. At Tianyi Middle School where I worked, students would only get approximately one or two weekend days off per month. On those days off, or on some of the lengthy week long public holidays, the students would be so loaded with homework that there was little to no time to actually just be a kid.

When it comes to social development, Chinese students are seriously lacking. They’re not given the opportunity to develop healthy social networks like western children. They’re under constant pressure to perform, to do well. While the parents might only have their child’s best interests at heart, in reality, it’s doing far more damage than good. But what choice is there? In China the opportunities are numbered, and the competition for them is fierce.  

All through school these kids are pressured to perform. They simply must do well in the exams to gain a place in a good university. Once they’re in university, they’re under pressure to find a good job where again, places are limited. And as they move into their early 20’s, the focus then turns to finding a suitable partner, marrying and having a child. There is no let up, there is very limited freedom, and it is any wonder why so many students succumb to suicide.

China is a fascinating country, but there are some serious social problems. When many of these kids become adults it will be interesting to see just how their lack of social development affects them. With China rushing to become one of the world’s biggest superpowers (if not the biggest), it’s more than a little scary to think that these younger generations of under-developed children may be one day calling the shots.


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5 Responses to “Welcome to Stressville; Chinese college entrance exams 2012”

  1. Eric Says:

    Yes,I agree with you about “they’re not given the opportunity to develop healthy social networks like western children”.
    It’s the same in Taiwan. Maybe it’s the common question in Asia countries! I believe children are much luck in Australia,right?

  2. Marcus Says:

    I don’t think its all Asian countries – maybe it is. I think China is certainly the worst due to the sheer size of the population.

    And that’s not saying other students in other countries don’t have their own problems – they do, but I think ultimately at the end of the day, a student from say Australia, the USA, UK etc can go home at the end of the school day and be a kid (while still doing homework) – while in China, that seems to be the lowest priority.

  3. Dee Says:

    All students to check / The Common Heritage of Mankind

  4. las artes Says:

    The students are from the Beijing Haidian Foreign Language Experimental School, an elite, private K-12 boarding school in China’s capital.

  5. ordinary malaysian Says:

    I think the situation in China is an exceptional one. There are just too many people like you said and one child per family aggravates the pressure on the child. Besides, Chinese societies everywhere have always put a premium on education. No much different in Singapore, although of course certainly not so bad as in China.

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