Gaokao Essay Earning “Zero Mark” Is Among The Best

Gaokao essay scores 0 points

Scores are in for China’s National College Entrance Exams. But as 9 million test-takers are assessed by a number, it’s interesting to note that the one exam garnering the most attention from the press features an essay that scored no number at all — a zero.

Please take a look at the work of one Sichuan student who dared to provide an honest, original answer to a question about “Chinese equilibrium.” As translated by chinaSMACK, the answer begins:

When I saw this essay prompt, I suddenly felt an urge to laugh. Yes, that’s right; I wanted to laugh. It’s as if I could see the deathly grim face of the grader through this piece of test paper.

Does he have your attention, test-grader?

It goes on.

When the second-generation rich drive their sports cars, flowers in hand, into school campuses chasing after chicks, when the exhaust of the sports car roars and blows into my face, I think, why isn’t my dad Li Gang? This kind of cynicism spread through my body, and made me dispirited and downcast. But then, the feats of Guo Meimei reinvigorated me. When there isn’t a biological father to rely on, there’s always someone called a “godfather” ["sugar daddy"]. Unfortunately, godfathers don’t take on godsons.

You get the idea. Perhaps intimidated by this high schooler — displaying more critical thinking in one paragraph than most Chinese students over a dozen years — the grader gave this a 0. Better to deal with those who break ranks by barring them from rejoining the ranks.

What is it that gaokao tests again? Obedience?

When we posted sample gaokao questions last month, we noted that “you have to train yourself to be the perfect little tool to score well on them.” The converse is true as well, it seems: if you elect not to be a trained seal, you’ll get the cudgel. A perfect little zero. And China still wonders why it doesn’t have innovators, specifically its own Steve Jobs? Newsflash, guys: there is a Steve Jobs somewhere in China, because there are 1.3 billion people here, and so by mere probability, there should be at least a handful of creative, success-driven, ambitious individuals who can change the world. You’ll never find them, of course, because the Chinese school system smothers this country’s future, one fact, one historical fib at a time. If Steve Jobs had gone to school in China, he would have, if lucky, found an entry-level position with Microsoft.

Although there is reason to be heartened. This kid’s essay made news, didn’t it? “Perhaps most tellingly,” reports the Economist, “the online response to such essays as these is overwhelmingly positive. Many of the posted comments say the individual efforts should be marked high for creativity.” Hopefully — and this is a long shot, but dream with me — fame and the feeling of doing honest intellectual work will make the test-taker feel like his or her effort was worth it.

‘Chinese-Style Justice’ – 0 Points Gaokao Essay from Sichuan (chinaSMACK)

2 Responses to “Gaokao Essay Earning “Zero Mark” Is Among The Best”

  1. Amanda R.

    I hope someone out there sees his essay, appreciates his honesty and creativity, and gives him a job. He sacrificed his chance at college for his integrity. Hopefully his scarifice will be rewarded.

    Reply
  2. Michelle

    The essay didn’t get a 0 because of the politically sensitive topics it ridiculed..it got a 0 because it is riddled with errors and does not make sense AT ALL. The above translation is a perfected version and has been dramatically edited to make the essay sound better than it is. The original uses poor grammar, vocabulary and is borderline incomprehensible; thus it received a 0. I’m all for integrity and honesty..but this essay deserved the mark it got. Sorry :/

    I’ve included the direct translation with no additional changes made to it…People should decide for themselves what they think AFTER reading the actual translation.

    Actual translation of essay:
    “Don’t use the ladder, put it sideways. Was the teacher a stonemason? I’m not brilliant, but I’m not SB [expletive term for someone stupid] either. Which idiot came up with this dumb question? Don’t wear your shoes, put it in a pot. The taste of China is not as attractive as old yogurt! Love doesn’t come, perhaps it is divine conception. Beautiful girls only love rich guys. Poor, ugly men? No chance. Don’t wear short skirts, keep wearing super short. Ganlulu’s mother [the mother of a model who posted a nude video of her daughter to find her a boyfriend] and Guo Degang [a Chinese comedian] have everything to do with each other. Xiaosan’s [slang term for mistress, usually of officials] fight, everyone says Xiaomi [personal assistant] is wronged. There’s nothing wrong with my cell phone. There’s not much rice, but put it in your pocket. The central bank lowered exchange rate, poor second generations are even more unfortunate. Does it matter how good this essay is? Didn’t you see, kids born after the 90’s are already heading up bureaus? Time is short, so I will stop here. Give me whatever score, I don’t care!”

    I do agree with parts of the article though!(The parts which talk about issues in China) So good job!

    Reply

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