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'Fortunetellers' guide students through exams

By Tong Hao (China Daily)

13:31, May 22, 2012

As the annual college entrance examination approaches, some high school students in Beijing are turning to "fortunetellers" to help them get prepared for the exam, widely deemed as the most important test in their student careers.

These "fortunetellers" are companies that offer solutions about selecting universities and majors, an emerging business in the capital city in recent years.

They base the solutions on students' scores in the two simulation college entrance examinations and the results of questionnaires.

The college entrance examination is held on June 7, 8 and 9 every year in China, before which schools organize simulation exams. In Beijing, students must make up their minds which universities and majors to choose and submit their choices between the simulation exams and the formal one.

This year, about 73,400 students in Beijing will attend the exam, according to Beijing Education Examinations Authority.

These companies charge handsome prices for their services, with the highest price for a solution costing up to 20,000 yuan ($3,100).

"Based on the students' scores in the simulation exams and analysis of their overall conditions, we'll get some ideas about their potential and foresee their performance in the final exam. In addition to our continuous research on enrollment policies of universities, we can come up with a solution for students," said a consultant from Lighthouse Education who gave her name as Shen.

The company's consulting services cost from 1,000 yuan to 6,000 yuan.

Despite the high price, Shen said all the consultants at her company receive three or four students every day during the first half of May, while the company has at least five consultants offering such services.

Although the company's homepage listed many examples of students who successfully entered distinguished universities with the company's help, Shen said their service cannot guarantee that each client will enter the universities listed as their preference.

"There is risk in everything, and our job is to help students reduce risks," she said.

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