Gaokao Questions Are Ridiculous

Gaokao unhappy face

Global Times is running a neat feature on its Facebook page (yes, Global Times has a Facebook page) in which it posts sample questions from China’s National College Entrance Exam, i.e. gaokao. Its headline asks:

So you think you’re smarter than a Chinese high school student?

Oh hell no, no one thinks they’re smarter than Chinese high school students. We’re all reeling from years of alcohol abuse and our heads are no longer filled with facts.

But even if we were smarter, would we be able to answer labyrinthine questions such as…

Global Times gaokao question 1

“High school must have been a wonderful time” — just a little leading and presumptuous, eh? Hey, question-maker: do you know how long they studied for your stupid, shitty exam, wasting away their youthful vigor and creativity? Have the common decency to not rub it in their faces while they are taking your exam, wouldja?

We’ve always known that gaokao questions were insane, and that you have to train yourself to be the perfect little tool to score well on them, but did you know some gaokao questions were thought up by third graders doing thought experiments? Look:

Global Times gaokao question 2

“If Edison was able to visit the 21st century” is a short stone’s throw away from, “If Jesus were alive today,” or, “If dinosaurs landed in San Diego…”


Old McDonald’s farm was glorious and prosperous, except for foreign agents who hated cell phones. Explain your high school existence, keeping in mind Isaac Newton loves apples.

In conclusion, WHAT WOULD YOU DO if donkeys could mate with the skeletons of pigs?

And check out this explosive diarrhea of a question:

Global Times gaokao question 3

Again, that’s:

Everyday [sic] we strive for what we think is important, but there are more important things in this world. People have different opinions on the matter. Please select a point of view and write an essay about your thoughts.

Can I pick the point of view of a rubber duck?

Every day, afloat upon the patchy waters of Victora Harbor, I wake to a red sun that speaks to the cold flame of my solitude. There is an everlasting sadness that you cannot know, burning fierce in the east where the schoolchildren of our country once tilted their heads to sing. Where is that joy, now?

I look west, and the pebbly eyeballs which glance back are not round with a child’s wonder but flat like a jianbing, grown-up but not mature. The adults that stand at their side flick the butts of cigarettes at me, as if my skin, though made of rubber, does not react to the embers of their scorn.

They speak to me, too. They squawk and squeal and cluck in coarse imitation of language, but I do not understand because I am a duck and do not speak Cantonese. I turn my back, face south, the tears glistening behind plastic eyes, yet they do not stop. Nothing stops them. They come. More of them come. Like a great tsunami, the waves do not wane, they come, oh they come.

I am a duck. What do they want? What spiritual void can a duck fill? What dialectic truth can we discern, them on the shores, me on these choppy waters of Victoria Harbor, staring into a horizon that reflects the recesses of the human condition? Boundless, bottomless, what is the difference? Infinity that wallows, sinkholes of the soul which drag us down, past paper bills that flutter like falling butterflies. Their problems are copper, less real than these eyes under God’s blue sky.

I am a duck, a humble duck. The sun sets in the west and the cool comfort of night’s veil is pulled over my head. In this silence, I listen. There is the sound of water. The faraway exhale of a tugboat. And if I really try, something sweeter, something like laughter, from a child who was here, and thought it important.

Holy shit I would’ve flunked so hard.

(H/T China Digital Times; also see: this GT article)

    9 Responses to “Gaokao Questions Are Ridiculous”

    1. Tortue

      I don’t want to play the “who’s got a bigger one” but take a look at the mind fucking philosphy question that french have for their “Gaokao” (Bac), it’s way whole another level

    2. Meh!

      Nah, the Chinese Gaokao questions are harder. At least the French Bac questions can be understood.

      How would someone answer this: “Everyday we strive for what we think is important, but there are more important things in this world.”

      I can’t even figure out the question and combined with the probability any attempt at an answer would need references to ’5,000 years of culture’, harmonious society, sacred motherland and the self-sacrificing Communist Party of China. Not forgetting that Chinese essay style has an introduction as a conclusion and therefore no conclusion at all and contains nothing of any relevance except mindless patriotic drivel: it’s a tough ask.

      Hang on:

      Six score years ago the evil Western running dogs were expelled by the moral and upright virtue of the CPA guided by the spiritual, almost godlike touch of our founding helmsman. This gave all Chinese, in the known universe equality and strength. Although Rightists and Leftists have tried to smear our loving founder with revisionist slurs, truth will always emerge. The Party loves and cares for us all. We are all equal under the banner of freedom.

      Single-handedly the glorious CPC defeated all enemies and has kept invaders at bay. Without the Party’s guiding light we would once again be slaves of imperialism: Chinese people would be imprisoned in work camps without trial, placed under surveillance and even tortured under the oppressive yoke of foreign invaders.

      Therefore the Party is China and China is the Party, for over 5,000 years all Chinese have been united in the bosom of the sacred motherland and have never been conquered or defeated. Solely because of the CPA sacrificing everything for the people we now live in a harmonious society and these things are more important than other important things.

    3. KopyKatKiller

      This is silly. Chinese can’t write essays! Whoever heard of such a ludicrous suggestion? Writing an essay requires thought. China, its education, its culture, its government, its “everything” is diametrically opposed to “thought”. Thus Chinese cannot write essays. Thank you for reading my essay…

    4. jahar

      It does seem pretty nonsensical, but if they grade it based on structure and reasoning, I don’t see it being too difficult to ace these questions. Your opinion is your opinion, it cant really be wrong, unless, you know, this is China.

    5. DaXiong

      I would give all my everything to some student who answered either ’62′ to every question, or taken something from:

      “Class is fundamentally impossible,” says Debord; however, according to von Ludwig, it is not so much class that is fundamentally impossible, but rather the failure, and eventually the futility, of class. In a sense, if subcapitalist semanticist theory holds, the works of Burroughs are postmodern. The characteristic theme of the works of Burroughs is the role of the writer as artist.

      Therefore, the premise of feminism suggests that culture is used to reinforce outmoded perceptions of sexuality, but only if subcapitalist semanticist theory is valid. Drucker implies that we have to choose between cultural nihilism and the neotextual paradigm of narrative.

      It could be said that the main theme of d’Erlette’s essay on feminism is a self-fulfilling totality. The within/without distinction which is a central theme of Tarantino’s Reservoir Dogs is also evident in Jackie Brown, although in a more mythopoetical sense.

      Blah blah blah.


    Leave a Reply to Mike

    • (will not be published)

    XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

    + nine = 17