1.5 mln sit China's graduate school entrance exam

15:25, January 16, 2011      

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Students wait to enter examination rooms before the National Entrance Examination for Postgraduate (NEEP) in Beijing, capital of China, Jan. 15, 2011. The NEEP rolled out around the country on Saturday. Over 1.51 million applicants, or 0.11 million higher than that of the last year, made the total applicants a record high since 2001. (Xinhua/Yang Le)

Some 1.5 million Chinese began sitting this year's graduate school entrance examination Saturday, a 7 percent increase over last year.

The number of test takers was the highest since 2001, Ministry of Education statistics show.

Chinese college students and college graduates have to take a written examination to enter graduate school.

Since landing a job after graduation has been difficult in recent years, the number of college graduates applying for graduate studies has increased.

China has expanded graduate studies for professional degrees, asking graduate schools to shift students out of research-oriented degrees into profession-orientated ones.

Of the 1.5 million test takers, around 20 percent, or 305,000, hope to enter professional degree programs.

Some 38 professional degrees are available in China and include Juris Master and Master of Translation and Interpreting.

Authorities are waging war on cheating with an electronic surveillance network. They are also conducting security checks on students arriving for the examination.

The two-day examination ends Sunday.

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