BEIJING, June 7 (Xinhua) -- More than 9.5 million Chinese students on Thursday started the national college entrance examination, the largest of its kind in the world.
Students walk into a test centre to take the ongoing National College Entrance Examination in HaiNan Overseas Chinese Middle School in Hainan province, on Thursday, June 7, 2007. (Xinhua Photo)
The exam is regarded as one of the most important events for the participants, and could change their lives in a fiercely competitive society.
The examination will last for two days for students in 26 provincial areas, and three or four days in Shanghai, Shandong, Guangdong, Hainan and Jiangsu.
The Ministry of Education said earlier that a record 10.1 million people had applied to take the exam, and 5.67 million would be able to enter college.
It is not only a fight for the candidates, but also an impact on their families and the whole society.
In Beijing, nearly 20 sections of road have special traffic controls during the examination to ensure the students can arrive at venues on time.
The parents will be anxiously sweating outside exam places in temperatures expected to exceed 35 degrees Celsius.
In Huangshan City, east China's Anhui Province, an aircraft was required to change route on Thursday afternoon, as parents worried the noise could affect their children's listening comprehension in the English test.
Nutritionists are recommending diets that can help students keep energetic, and psychologists are offering advice on how to relax.
This year marks the 30th anniversary of the restoration of the national college entrance examination, or "gaokao" in Chinese. Chinese universities did not enroll students from 1966 to 1976 through the extensive exam, due to the political turmoil of the Cultural Revolution.
Over the past three decades, almost 60 million Chinese took part in gaokao, with 10 million enrolled at universities.