Those Gaokao exam questions in full


Lunch break’s not a problem. She’ll have an IV drip later

Editor’s note: this year, nine million students sat their gaokao, a standardized exam that determines college admissions. This intense exam can be the key to a student’s social status and future. Here’s a selection of the questions.


China has four novels. Name them. [10 marks]


List ‘pi’ up to as many decimal points as you can. [20 marks]


Celebrate any dynasty from the following (Han/Song/Ming), then explain how much better things are today. [60 marks]


Boss Li has four factories making electronic parts. He smokes 40 cigarettes a day but usually gifts a box of 400 Chunghwas to his local inspector when they meet every month to discuss safety standards. His wife has a taste for expensive French clothes and Boss Li has two daughters who intend to study overseas.

His workers are unhappy, however, over Corporate’s decision to send a dispute resolution ‘baseball team’ to the family of a worker needing compensation for the arms she lost in a mechanical accident last year.

With a strike looming, the local environment bureau is also asking awkward questions about why Boss Li didn’t consult them before dumping toxins at a local beauty spot and his favorite mistress is demanding a new Jeep Cherokee. How big is Boss Li’s stability maintenance fee this year? [10 marks]


A 70-year-old grandpa in a rural village would like to donate his house to a local developer, who has good friendship with the municipal boss, county vice-magistrate, and a regent at a university who is a Party cadre. How far away, in kilometers, from the city center can the grandpa expect his new home to be located? [20 marks]


Who was Confucius? [10 marks]

Current Affairs:

‘Western media coverage of China is biased’ Agree. [50 marks]

Essay questions:

A horse walks into a restaurant. The restaurant manager says: ‘Why the long face?’ Discuss. [200 marks]

Please list, in bullet-point format, the Twelve Ways ‘to be creative’ in China. [300 marks]

What am I thinking? [500 marks]


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  • Daoist

    As amusing as this is…I’d be interested to see the actual gaokao English questions.  I’ve heard they’re so “advanced” that the average native English speaker would have trouble with them.

    • Administrator

      Both Danwei and Beijing Cream have recent posts on this subject that should serve your needs.

    • Eva

      Well… I´m spanish and sometimes I feel ”amused” about how some native english people anwer me or write …

  • Guest

    You had me until “China has 4 novels. Name them.” Fail.

    • Johnson

      Guest. Fail. 

    • Anonymous

      Even if it was a joke the “four novels” really exist.

      They are: Water Margin(???), Romance of the Three Kingdoms (????), Journey to the West (???) & Dream of the Red Chamber (???)

    • Abby Lee

      they’re the 4 great novels of China. My dad often brags how he read them way before his teachers assigned them.

  • anny

    lol at ‘Western media coverage of China is biased’ Agree. What if I disagree?

    • Greenbit

      You bring great dishonour to your family. You fail.

  • Aoi

    So this is Common Core China version or did the US just copy China? Did you know the people who create Common Core are anonymous? Maybe they live in China.

    It becoming clear that the US is becoming more like China instead of the other way around. Corporatism, Communism, whatever you desire to call it, is the wave of the future. They don’t need critical thinking humans any longer, nor entrepreneur types, just stupid sheep that won’t argue or rebel.

    Apple is manufacturing without “man” now. They are opening their first unmanned manufacturing plant in Texas. Jobs permanently cut both in China and the US. Things don’t look bright in the future, unless you’re in the 0.01%.

  • Manabu Watanabe

    You may find these interesting.

    Misunderstanding Asian education

    Educational enthusiasm in Japan, South Korea, and China

  • alexandra santiago

    how many question are in the gaokao

  • alexandra santiago