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Failure not an option for the girl with 4 watches

(Shanghai Daily)

13:59, June 08, 2013

Worried that she would lose track of time during her college entrance exam, one Shanghai girl took four watches with her yesterday.

Should one, or even three, stop working, she'd still know how much time she had left to answer the questions.

Her mother said her daughter was so nervous she had spent more than 2,000 yuan (US$326) to ensure she was prepared for every eventuality, buying the watches, pens, and radios and earphones for her English listening exam.

"The exam is a very special occasion. I don't think it is extravagant because I don't want my child to risk any technical problems like a signal failure," the mother said outside the exam venue in Weihai Road.

Though passing the exam is not the only route to success, many parents still regard it as an important hurdle to clear on the way to a bright future.

More than 50,000 students sat the exam in Shanghai yesterday. Among them were 1,563 already promised a university place but still having to reach a certain set standard, although one usually lower than for other students.

Hu Yibing, father of a 18-year-old, said his son had been offered a place at East China Normal University because of his sporting talent.

Hu, who lives in suburban Qingpu District, booked a hotel near the Weihai Road venue to avoid morning rush hour and ensure his son get enough sleep.

However, he said his son was full of nerves and didn't get to sleep until 4am yesterday.

Other parents who booked hotel rooms for their children said they didn't get a good night's sleep due to the change in environment.

Despite yesterday's heavy rain and strong winds, there were no traffic problems reported near exam venues.

But traffic police were pressed into action nonetheless. One officer in Huangpu District took a student's mother back home after he realized he had forgotten his exam admission ticket.

Another student who had gone to the wrong venue in Minhang District managed to arrive at the right one in time on the back of an officer's motorcycle.

Some venues, such as Shanghai No. 2 High School, set aside a room where parents could relax while they waited for their children to finish the exam.

Many parents took the day off work so they could be with their children on what would be one of the most important days of their lives so far.

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