Latest News:  

English>>Life & Culture

The quest for sensible questions

(Global Times)

11:02, April 10, 2013

(Global Times)

How many demons are mentioned in the novel Journey to the West? Who do you think hold more power, the Jade Emperor or the Buddha? If Confucius and Lao Zi get into a fight, who would you support? Can you write a couplet about Beijing's fog?

Wacky as they may sound, these were some of the questions high school students were asked in the independent college entrance exams by top universities in China. These universities use their own criteria to select 5 percent of students rather than relying solely on the results of gaokao. The first two questions were asked by Fudan University, and the latter two came from professors at Tsinghua University and Shanghai Jiao Tong University.

While I believe that the independent exams are a meaningful step in China's education reform, these questions made me wonder: what were they trying to test in the applicants?

The examiners asking these questions would probably say that they were not expecting a single correct answer and wanted to encourage students to think outside the box. But as far as I'm concerned, only those with a really quick response and a sense of humor could impress the professors when they were asked such questions. I also doubt if these are the qualities these famous universities are looking for. After all, it's not the mission of higher education to produce talk show hosts.

As the purpose of the independent exams is to give colleges more power in deciding what kind of students they want to admit, it seems to be the schools' own business to decide the type of questions they want to ask.

However, since they were introduced 10 years ago, independent exams have sparked controversies regarding their fairness and criteria, showing how difficult it is to push through a thorough education reform in China. Against such a background, I would advise the universities' admission committees to be more cautious in designing their exam questions to facilitate the healthy development of the hard-earned reform.

I would also urge them to explain to the public the purpose of these weird interview questions, in case students devote time and effort in preparing for these seemingly meaningless questions, which contradicts with the initial purpose of the exams.

After all, 95 percent of students still need to go through gaokao to enter universities, and the independent exams should be fair to the remaining 5 percent of students.

Fortunately, these bizarre questions only account for a small percentage of all the questions asked. Actually, most of the interview questions are quite sensible. For example, one question asked a student to discuss possible ways to monitor the amount of PM 2.5 in the air, and another question asked a student's understanding of equality in education. For me, these are the questions that can reflect a student's independent, critical thinking and the extent to which they care about social affairs.

We recommend:

Beauties in China Fashion Week

Rare photos tell stories of Leslie Cheung

Sexy female stars with long legs

Bikini-clad girls move on Robstep

Beautiful actresses in TV series

Female star: Zhang Li in casual style

"Journey to the West" staged in NW China

Creative sculptures made of vegetables

Ten most beautiful islands on Earth

Email|Print|Comments(Editor:YeXin、Chen Lidan)

Leave your comment0 comments

  1. Name


Selections for you

  1. Chinese Marines in military skill training

  2. French, Cote d'Ivoire soldiers attend drill

  3. Milan International Furniture Fair kicks off

  4. The job of building heavenly homeland

  5. An outbreak of the H7N9 strain

  6. Firefighters working to extinguish forest fire

  7. An old town on the tea-horse road--Du Kezong

  8. The best smiles may be all wet

  9. Stunning models at Bangkok Auto Show

  10. China's inflation drops from 10-month high

Most Popular


  1. Errors in urbanization must be avoided
  2. What kind of public diplomacy does China need?
  3. Today's youths will prove their mettle
  4. Chinese spend less on hotels, still flash the cash
  5. Soros upbeat on China's economic transformation
  6. Chinese innovations to benefit the world: Bill Gates
  7. Reflecting on rules that allow bad apples
  8. Cold food honors loyal man with a warm heart
  9. Safety concerns over state-owned coal mines
  10. New age of gender blending in China

What’s happening in China

Stand in face of bulldozer
With water and electricity cut, lonely 'Nail House' struggling to stay

  1. Fake talent agent gets nabbed as extortionist
  2. Dead fish likely released by Buddhists
  3. Sitting in car won't stop illegal parking fine
  4. Japanese newspaper's Weibo hot in China
  5. No positive samples of H7N9 found in pigs