Are there similarities between US college admissions and the Chinese domestic college entrance exam?

College Admissions

Our counselors answered:

Are there similarities between US college admissions and the Chinese domestic college entrance exam?

Nina Berler
Founder unCommon Apps

U.S. and Chinese Admissions: How Similar?

The Chinese entrance exam, known as gaokao, is administered each June. The exam contains includes Chinese, math, and English along with history, geography, biology and chemistry and lasts nine hours over two days. It is the only criterion used for entrance to Chinese universities, generating much anxiety. In contrast, the SAT and ACT are shorter exams that, while important, are looked at along with many other requirements such as the transcript, recommendations and essays. While in a sense the SAT and ACT are similar with their emphasis on English and Math, U.S. applicants can select which SAT Subject Tests they want to take, allowing them to shine in their favorite subject areas.

Helen H. Choi
Owner Admissions Mavens

Are there similarities between US college admissions and the Chinese domestic college entrance exam?

The Chinese National College Entrance Exam ("gao kao" - big test in Mandarin) is a three day exam that is the sole determining factor for the vast majority of colleges in China. About 10 million students take this exam each year, and it has about a 40% failure rate. Many students study 12-16 hours each day for this exam. If they don't do well on this exam -- they must wait (and study) for an entire year before trying again. Makes the SAT look pretty great, doesn't it? A 4 hour test given multiple times a year. Not too onerous, right? Also -- consider that the gao kao is the ONLY thing that matters in Chinese college admissions. In the U.S., SAT/ACT scores provide only part of the picture, as grades, curriculum, teacher's recs, essays, interviews, extracurriculars, etc.. are all considered by admissions committees. In fact, there are some schools that are even test optional -- so you don't need to send in your test scores if you don't feel that they reflect your abilities as a student. (For a list of test optional schools, please check out www.fairtest.org.)

Dr. Skarlis
Owner/President The College Advisor of New York

Chinese domestic college entrance exam and US admissions

There are very few similarities between US college admissions and the Chinese domestic college entrance exam.

Tyler Burton
President Burton College Tours

Apples and Oranges

In the USA standardized testing is only a portion of the admissions process. Some schools do not even require standardized testing and are called "test optional" schools. Many of these schools do require some admissions testing for international students and that may range from the SAT to the TOFEL. When I work with international students I like to begin by showing students and their families an American college application. I show them the many different sections on a college application that students will need fill in to show a complete picture. I show them that there is a small space to list test scores. Test scores are an important part of an admissions application, but they are a part and not the whole part of a complete application. When Burton College Tours takes international students to visit schools I teach students about the elements of a good fit. "Fit" means is the school the best school for that student. The above question asked me to address the differences between the US and Chinese exams. There are differences in the testing approach, the length of each exam and the level of reasoning that the testing measures are different. I chose to address how each exam plays a role in the admissions process. In the US, at most schools the test scores are a part and not the sum total of the admissions process.

David Allen
Managing Director Global College Counselors Ltd

No idea

I am sorry I have no idea about this one.

Don Tamminga

Are there similarities between US college admissions and the Chinese domestic college entrance exam?

I have no idea but I am sure you can look it up on line.

Tony Bankston
Dean of Admissions Illinois Wesleyan University

No Answer

No Answer

Mark Montgomery
Founder Montgomery Educational Counseling

Play the American Game By American Rules

Too many Chinese students focus on examinations as a way to get into a US university. They spend too much time on SAT and TOEFL preparation, and too little on academic performance and on developing their academic and extra-curricular interests. Furthermore, too few Chinese recognize the enormous differences among universities in the US: they tend to believe that all schools are the same, and that all that differs is the ranking. I work with many Chinese students working toward admission at US universities, and I remind them that if they want to win at an American game played by American rules, they need to forget everything they know about the Chinese academic game. The two systems are completely different.

Pamela Hampton-Garland
Owner Scholar Bound

Chinese vs. US Entrance Exams

There are similarities but the Chinese domestic exam is the sole exam used for entry into college while in the USA the standardized exams are only one fraction of a greater pie.

Kathleen Harrington
Owner New Jersey College Consulting

Are there similarities between US college admissions and the Chinese domestic college entrance exam?

US College Admissions and the Chinese domestic college entrance exam are similiar in that a component of the application process involves a test score. In the US, each college requires a different standardized testing score from its applicants(either the SAT or ACT). In China, each providence requires a different score to gain admission to its area school . The more competitive of a providence, the higher the score needed by an applicant. The US college admission process is similar in that an Ivy League school, think Princeton, requires a higher SAT/ACT score than the state college, Rutgers University.