Jun 11, 2012 12:30 PM

Number of Gaokao Applicants Declines Again

(Beijing) – For the fourth straight year, the number of students applying to take the gaokao, or annual national college entrance exam, has declined on a demographic transition and the rising number of students going abroad.

The number of applicants fell by 180,000 this year compared to last year, the Ministry of Education said on June 5. Some 9.15 million students applied to take the test in 2012. The number of applicants peaked in 2008 at 10.5 million.

Students started taking the two- or three-day test on June 7. The test has different durations in different provinces and municipalities.


The exam is administered every June. Most high school students in China must take it to go to university.

Xiong Bingqi, deputy director of the Beijing-based consultancy 21st Century Education Research Institute, blamed the decline in test applicants on demographic shifts and more students opting to abroad.

This year, 75 percent of students who took the gaokao in June will be admitted into China's universities, the ministry said. The figure was 5 percent when the test resumed in 1977 following the Cultural Revolution.

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