June 7-8 in China

June 7 is a big day for people in China aiming to undertake higher education as the National College Entrance Exam, or gaokao, falls that day. The exam has long been controversial for imposing uniformity in picking talents. Do students in other countries have to suffer similar pressures to win university places? Let's have a look.

1.Each year, millions of Chinese sit the exam which is held normally on June 7-8.

It is taken by students in their final year of senior high school without age restriction. Last year 9.12 million students took the exam. Although university admission is rising, with more than 90 percent in some provinces, to enter a good university one still needs go through fierce competition.


2. The American College Testing assessment (ACT) and Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) are the two main college entrance exams administered in the United States.

While the SAT measures a student's ability to learn, the ACT was created as an alternative, measuring a student's educational development. Although many US colleges accept both exams, most students take the ACT. Each year nearly two million students pay a registration fee of about $50 to take the test, which is administered six times throughout the year. Students can also retake the exam for a better score.


3. The United Kingdom does not have a specific standardized test for determining college admission.

Instead, each college sets up its own admissions criteria, which often only involves submission of transcripts and participation in an interview. There are subject-specific exams used by some colleges, but they are not as comprehensive as tests like the ACT and gaokao. High school academic performance is by far the main determining factor, rather than test scores or other credentials.


4.The so-called college entrance examination is equal to the baccalaureate in June in France.

Students interested in higher education have to choose between two types of educational institutes: Universities and Competitive Institutes (Grandes Ecoles). French universities are open to all students who have passed their baccalaureate. But getting into a "grande école" is a whole different game where entry is at "bac+2" level, the level of the third year of university studies.


5.In Japan there is a National Center Test for University Admissions, a standardized test used by public and some private universities.

Because students only have one chance to take the test each year, there is great pressure to perform well and the majority of senior high school education is devoted to this single test. This year, 561,000 students sat the entrance examination in January.

South Korea

6.College Scholastic Ability Test (CSAT) or college entrance exam is held in November each year in South Korea.

CSAT plays an important role in the country's education and it is commonly believed that the test paves the way and life of most high school graduates. On the test day, the stock markets open late and buses and subways are increased to avoid traffic jams that may prevent students from getting to testing sites. Students who are late for the tests are escorted by police officers.


7.There is no common college entrance exam in India.

Tests, a must for every university and college, are conducted by several institutions and students are selected on different criteria. The exams are based on various syllabi and are mostly conducted for the higher level of education.


8.High School National Exam (ENEM) is a non-mandatory, standardized Brazilian national exam, which evaluates high school students in November.

The ENEM is the most important exam of its kind in Brazil, since it has been used as an admission test for enrollment in federal universities and educational institutes. Also it's used for certification for a high school degree. In 2013, about 7 million people registered for the exam.