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UPDATED: June 6, 2014
Gaokao: Make or Break Exam Awaits Nervous Student

The Gaokao—China's national college entrance exam— is just three days away, with more than nine million students are expected to sit this year's exam.

After 12 years of schooling, those students'academic futures will depend on the results of one final test.

Unlike the majority of students, Wang Dongying has to take an extra exam, on sport, to enter his first choice university.

Wang is running toward his dream. For him, sports are about more than keeping fit: he's preparing for this year's Gaokao and a potentially life-changing chance to get a place at the prestigious Beijing Sports University.

His teachers say that he is an excellent student, but even if he's good enough to be one in a thousand, there at least ten other students from his province alone who may be just as good.

"The competition is fierce. The Beijing Sports University only enrolls only five to six students from Hebei Province, but there are over 10,000 graduating sports students in the province taking the Gaokao," Wang said.

Teachers say that Wang is likely good enough to do very well on the Gaokao, but he has to learn how to keep his nerves in check, and that means a lot of practice ahead of the exam.

Wang needs a shot put toss of 12 meters — five meters short of the junior record— to get a full mark, so he practices often. Wang says that he takes his practice sessions very seriously, and as a sports student, he'll have to perform well on the field and in the written exam taken by every university hopeful in the country.

Meanwhile, Wang's parents also have their hopes pinned on their son's dream. They're migrants who wake early every morning to eke out a living selling breakfast in a Beijing food market.

"If my son can enter Beijing Sports University, we can live together in Beijing. He can also help us during his vacation," Wang's father said.

Back home in Hebei, Wang knows what's riding on his Gaokao results: if he can control his nerves and do as well he's able to, it may eventually mean that he will never again have to make breakfast to sell at the market.

(CNTV.cn June 4, 2014)


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