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  • Write a composition on the subtle

  • philosophy of the round and-

  • No.

  • (mellow percussion music)

  • The gaokao is China's intense

  • two-day college entrance exam.

  • Students' marks on the exam are said to determine

  • their entire future life opportunities

  • and earning potential in China.

  • With the belief that those who Excel on the test

  • will have the best careers and even marriage prospects.

  • College entrance is especially competitive in China,

  • where the top universities only select

  • as few as 1 in 50,000 students.

  • - Wow!

  • That's pretty low.

  • That's like 0.002%?

  • The test is so important

  • that factories and buildings

  • will shut down while the exam is underway

  • as police cars patrol to keep streets quiet.

  • Ambulances are placed outside exam facilities

  • in case of nervous collapses.

  • The multiple choice questions are notoriously hard

  • with questions such as...

  • Last October,

  • President Xi Jinping said that

  • while art is based on imagination,

  • - It should still be down-to-earth.

  • There may be hundreds of ways to create art,

  • the best way, however,

  • is to trace back to the people's daily lives

  • and create something based off that.

  • - From a materialism point of view, this is because

  • One, art originates from the daily lives of people.

  • Two, art depends on innovation.

  • Three, the way art reflects on society

  • and its style is unified.

  • Four, art is a form of ideology that reflects people's lives

  • while at the same time serving the people.

  • - God, this is confusing.

  • - I don't-

  • I have no idea.

  • - It's like kind of a logic question,

  • but it's also a grammar question

  • and it's also related to current events and politics?

  • - Just reading this gives me anxiety

  • so I can understand why people have ambulances outside.

  • - I don't know.

  • I'm gonna say A.

  • - I'm gonna go B,

  • one and four.

  • - D.

  • - [Man] You're correct!

  • (bell ding)

  • - Heck yeah!

  • - But literally, it's saying the same thing.

  • The gaokao has been seen as symbolic

  • of the Chinese education system as a whole,

  • and both the exam and the system itself

  • have been criticized for putting

  • impossible pressures on teens.

  • Outbreaks of suicides accompany every exam season.

  • - Wow.

  • - If your whole life depends on this exam,

  • that's so much pressure for one person to handle,

  • especially if you're still growing as an adult.

  • - I mean if this one test determines

  • what happens in your life,

  • that is really intense.

  • The exam also includes a number of essays

  • with prompts than can be notoriously obtuse,

  • such as...

  • - Do butterfly wings have colors?

  • - Hold up.

  • - Why is this an essay question?

  • Who do you admire the most?

  • A biotechnology researcher,

  • - A welding engineer technician,

  • - Or a photographer.?

  • What the heck?

  • That's just a personality question.

  • - I'm so stressed.

  • Cheating has been a rampant problem,

  • including the use of spy cameras

  • and radio devices to transmit questions and answers.

  • Those who are caught cheating

  • may spend up to seven years in prison.

  • To try to prevent students from pursuing their

  • increasingly creative methods of cheating,

  • drones have been used as hall monitors.

  • - Whoa!

  • - Drones!

  • - People are cheating so much

  • that they have drones in charge?

  • - This reminds me of Minority Report,

  • like robots are surveillance.

  • - The containers for milk are always square boxes.

  • Containers for mineral water are always round bottles.

  • - Round wine bottles are usually placed in square boxes.

  • - Write a composition on the subtle philosophy

  • of the round and square.

  • Oh my God,

  • what?

  • These are so broad!

  • What do you even say here?

  • - I think just humanity has gotten

  • way too obsessed with tests.

  • There are other ways to evaluate people.

  • - Compared to what we have here in America,

  • we're pretty, pretty lucky.

  • - It just seems like if

  • you're putting so much pressure on a young kid,

  • about a standardized test,

  • something's not right.

  • - I hope they relax their systems at some point because

  • I can't imagine even going through that.

  • - [Male Interviewee] I'm just thinking more about

  • what is the sole philosophy of the round and square?

  • (lighthearted music)

Write a composition on the subtle

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