The gaokao is China's notoriously tough entrance exam, which can also get you into western universities — check out its punishing questions

China's version of the American SAT and British A-level exams takes place in June every year.

gaokao students
  • It's called the gaokao, and is known as one of the toughest exams in the world.
  • Lots of Western universities now take Chinese students based on their gaokao scores, rather than have applicants take other standardized tests.
  • Scroll down to see past questions.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories .

Students across China are studying hard for the gaokao, the country's notoriously tough national standardized test that can get them into universities in countries including the US, UK, Italy, Australia, and Canada.

This year's gaokao which means for "high exam" in Chinese takes place between June 7 and June 9 this year. It's China's version of the American SAT and British A-level tests, and is known as one of the hardest exams in the world.

More than 9.7 million people across the country took it last year, the state-run Xinhua news agency reported .

Only Chinese universities accepted gaokao results in the past, but more and more Western institutions have started to accept them. Last year the University of New Hampshire became the first US state university to accept students based on their gaokao scores, rather than have them take other standardized tests.

Britain's University of Cambridge,Australia's University of Sydney, Canada's University of Toronto, Italy's Accademia delle Belle Arti di Firenze and some private US institutions also accept it.

The subjects on the test vary by region but typically include the Chinese language, mathematics, and a foreign language (typically English), Xinhua said .

The hardest questions are the essays which can range from the student's views on philosophy, history, the environment, and President Xi Jinping's policies.

A. -5

B. -5 or 3

C. 3

D. 5 or -3

Answer: B

Source: Gaokao 2018 via People's Daily

Google Maps/Business Insider

A. When passing through the South China Sea, the cruise will face continuous rain.

B. When passing through the Arabian Sea, the cruise will sail against winds and currents.

C. When passing through the Red Sea, large stretches of forests will be seen alongside the coast.

D. When passing through the Mediterranean Sea, the cruise will experience several days of rainstorms.

Answer: B.

Source: Gaokao 2015, via China Daily

A. 1/8

B. 3/8

C. 5/8

D. 7/8

Answer: D.

Source: Gaokao, year unknown, via Bloomberg

A. Something

B. Anything

C. Everything

D. Nothing

Answer: C.

Source: Gaokao, year unknown, via Bloomberg

Thomas Peter - Pool/Getty Images

I. Art originates from people's daily lives.

II. Art depends on innovation.

III.The way art reflects on society and its style is unified.

IV. Art is a form of ideology that reflects people's lives, while serving the people at the same time.

A. I and II.

B. I and IV.

C. II and III.

D. III and IV.

Answer: B

Source: Gaokao 2015 via China Daily

Joye~/flickr

A. Eradicate defect of federal system.

B. Establish republic system with check and balance of three powers.

C. Abolish constitutional monarchy.

D. Change the loose federal system.

Answer: D.

Source: Gaokao 2013 via China Daily

REUTERS/Tyrone Siu

A. Banks are a monopoly.

B. Bank credit is higher than commercial credit.

C. Capital offered by banks is a factor of production.

D. Banks are the hub of smooth production.

Answer: C.

Source: Gaokao, year unknown, via Bloomberg

A. 50

B. 40

C. 25

D. 20

Answer: C.

Source: Gaokao, year unknown, via Bloomberg

AP Photo/J. Walter Thompson

Source: Gaokao 2013 via People's Daily

Source:Gaokao 2018 via China Central Television

Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture

The "new era" is a catchphrase coined by Xi last year, which represents China's development in areas from technological advancement to foreign investment to environmental protection.

Source:Gaokao 2018 via China Central Television

CHANDAN KHANNA/AFP/Getty Images

Source:Gaokao 2018 via China Central Television

Rischgitz/Getty

Source:Gaokao 2018 via China Central Television

Sam McNeil/AP

China has been actively pushing its environmental and climate change mitigation policies under Xi's leadership.

Source: Gaokao 2018 via China Central Television

China Photos/Getty

Source: Gaokao 2013 via People's Daily

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