The whole country goes respectfully silent during the exams. Flights are re-routed, and people are banned from honking car horns near the exam rooms nationwide. Outside the exam halls, anxious parents wait, many having spent weeks attending temples to make offerings to ensure success. Exam hall monitors are not allowed to wear high heels or perfume for fear of distracting the students.


The gaokao is one of China's most important exams. Families take it very seriously, since it determines children's higher education opportunities. Students invest vast amounts of time and energy preparing for it.The road became quiet once the exam began. Dozens of parents waited, chatting in low voices, reading newspapers or sitting silently, doing nothing at all.There were also police, urban management officers and doctors at the ready.


A "gaokao" candidate prepares for the national college entrance exam outside Beijing No. 8 Middle School, an exam site, in Beijing, capital of China, June 7, 2014. The exam, known as the "gaokao", began on Saturday. A total of 9.39 million people have registered for the exam this year to vie for 6.98 million vacancies in universities and colleges. [Photo/Xinhua]


Children and parents anxious about results of National College Entrance Exam. Zhang Libing's son was among the 9.39 million students registered to take the National College Entrance Examination, or gaokao, this year.

The exam began at 9 am.More than 70,000 students were scheduled to take the exam in Beijing alone. Chinese is the first subject tested.Zhang said he felt even more nervous than his son."My boy usually doesn't get up if nobody wakes him, but he got up on his own at 6 am today," Zhang said.

He worried how his son will perform on the test, since Chinese was not his strongest subject.Zhang felt a bit relieved when the boy smiled as he entered the hall.


A "gaokao" candidate (R) embraces her teacher before entering an exam site of national college entrance exam at Zhongguancun Middle School in Beijing, capital of China, June 7, 2014.


Transformers: Age of Extinction will open in China day-and-date with its June 27 U.S. release, a week after its world bow in Hong Kong.

"The annual college entrance exam is coming, so I’d like to wish all of you students out there lots of luck, and don’t forget to catch Transformers 4 -- after the exam!”Nicola Peltz and Jack Reynor also wished the students luck in achieving high scores in a joint video.