What is the gaokao? A look at China’s daunting university entrance exams

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The gaokao is widely considered the most important exam Chinese students will face in their lifetimes. The test can make or break a young person’s future, since their scores largely determine if and where they can attend university and what areas of study they can pursue. While many critics of the gaokao say preparing for it is too gruelling, others still consider the exam a relatively fair system of meritocracy –  especially for students from less-privileged socio-economic backgrounds.