Exhausted, stressed out and thinner than she used to be, Duan Mengdi is enduring the most pivotal test of her life this week, and she's not even 18 yet .
Duan is one of nearly 10 million college hopefuls struggling through China's university placement exams, a pressure-packed, make-or-break ordeal that will propel her into the educated elite -- or trap her down in the faceless masses.
"The pressure comes from all sides -- from classmates, teachers, family, society and also myself," Duan said after completing part of her two-day test. She has taken supplementary classes throughout the year to prepare for the exam, known to all by its Chinese abbreviation "gaokao." She has lost five kilogrammes (11 pounds) this semester.
"Sometimes I can't sleep, though I'm very tired.
But it's worth it. This can change your fate," she told AFP outside her Beijing high school after sitting through more than four hours of exams.
The tests have been a rite of summer since their reinstatement in 1977 after a decade-long hiatus which was caused by the closure of all universities during the chaotic 1966-76 Cultural Revolution.
The 30th anniversary of their return has been marked by increasing debate over the stress placed on children by a test that runs up to four days in some areas.
A recent government survey said 95 percent of respondents support the gaokao system but 93 percent also want it reformed, state-run Xinhua news agency reported.
"Many talented students are excluded by very narrow margins.
It's very cruel," Zhou Hongbo, a Beijing college instructor whose own son is taking the test, told AFP.
China's rapid development is spurring record interest in a college education, and of the 9.5 million students sitting for this year's exams, only 5.7 million will achieve that dream -- about one out of every 230 people in China.
The pressure on Page: 1 2 3 Related medicine news :1
. College Student Commits Suicide After Failing In HSC Exams2
. Pelvic Exams without Stirrups May Improve Women’s Healt3
. Special Exams to Help Failing Medical Students4
. Fingers of Kids can Predict Their Performance in Exams5
. Royal College of Physicians Exams Now in India6
. Philippine Nurses Re-sit Scandal-tainted Exams7
. Stress reduces your immunity- startling but true!!!!!8
. Stress can make you overweight9
. Stress response increases suicide risk10
. Stress triggers acne11
. Stress make acne worse