China's top universities start joint entrance exams

08:23, February 22, 2011      

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Chinese students wanting to get into some of China's most prestigious universities, began sitting independent college entrance exams last weekend, three months before the national one.

Saturday and Sunday respectively saw two joint independent exams by two leagues represented by Tsinghua University and Peking University.

Next Saturday, another alliance of nine universities, composed of Shanghai-based Tongji University and institutes of technology in Beijing, Harbin, Dalian, Guangzhou and Xi'an, will also conduct its joint entrance exams.

These three groups, of a total 29 universities, will use their own criteria to help them independently select five percent of their students rather than just using the results of the national exam.

It's an important step in the reform of China's college entrance exam system, said Lao Kaisheng, an expert on education policy at Capital Normal University.

Students who want to gain entrance to any of the seven universities of the Tsinghua league, or any of the 13 universities of the Peking league, only needed to sit one independent exam.

"This helps lighten the students' load, otherwise they must take exams for the different universities," said Lao.

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