The 50,000 high school students sitting the three-day gaokao in Shanghai this week are taking part in a new model of the college entrance exam.
This year, Shanghai students have already been tested on three subjects they chose from politics, history, geography, physics, biology and chemistry. This week, they will take exams in three mandatory subjects — Chinese, math and English.
Previously, students chose just one subject from the list of six but all four exams were taken in the gaokao period.
Also this year, there are two English exams, one in January and another this week. This week's is optional, and those with good scores in January can elect not to take it.
One mother outside Xuhui High School welcomed the reform. "The new model which arranges the three tests before the gaokao allows my son to have more time focusing on the three majors."
However, some parents believe the reform to be more of a challenge. "In the past, the students need only select one from the six but now they need three separate tests," said another mother.