Gaokao’s Top 5 Toughest Questions of All Time

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The last few days’ Dragon Boat Festival has not been friendly to all, as this year it has coincided with the much dreaded University Entrance Examination, known in Chinese as the “Gaokao”. Each year, the exam becomes a talking point, more often than not descending into a scandal for the severity of the questions that adults and professors alike cannot correctly answer.

Therefore, The Nanjinger presents today the five toughest Gaokao questions of the past few years, questions that reflect that the key to getting a good grade is not necessarily related to mere hard work, but rather plain luck.

5. 2015 Geography

The green belts on either sides of a city road are planted with shrubs according to the same standard. The shrubs on one side are trimmed neatly, while the other side is overgrown. 

Q: The reason for the different landscape may be:

  • A. Different land use   
  • B. Personal preference
  • C. Different landscape planning 
  • D. Different administrative jurisdiction

4. 2016 Geography (Jiangsu)

The photo shown above is the Earth image on WeChat when users log in. 

Q: According to the distribution of cloud system near the equator and the latitude position of location “M”, the most probable time for shooting the image and the wind zone of location “M” is:

  • A. June; Southeastern trade wind belt    
  • B. June; Prevailing Westerlies 
  • C. December; Southeastern trade wind belt 
  • D. December; Prevailing Westerlies

3. 2015 Mathematics (Hubei)

In the “Nine Chapters of Arithmetic”, the quadrilateral pyramid with a rectangular surface and a side edge perpendicular to the bottom is called Yangma, and the tetrahedron whose four facades are right triangular is called 鳖臑 (biē nào).

In the Yangma P-ABCD shown in the figure, the side edge PD is perpendicular to the bottom ABCD, and PD = CD, point E is the midpoint of PC, connecting DE, BD and BE.

Q: Prove that DE is perpendicular to the plane PBC, and try to judge whether tetrahedral EBCD is 鳖臑 or not.

2. Chinese Writing (2012; Anhui)

“A ladder for work was placed in the corner of a company’s workshop. In order to prevent the ladder from falling down and hurting people, the staff members wrote a banner ‘Caution’ on the side. Nobody cared about it. Several years passed and no ladder fell and hurt people. On one occasion, a client came to discuss cooperation. He noticed the banner and stopped for a long time. Finally, he suggested that the banner should be changed to ‘Put ladder across when not in use’”.

Q: Choose a good angle from which to write, make style clear (except poetry), create a title; do not divorce from the scope of material content and meaning of composition; do not copy, do not reveal personal information, use punctuation marks correctly.

1. Reading (2011; Fujian)

On the afternoon of June 13, 2006, after a heavy rain, Zhengyang Gate Arrow Tower was tightly surrounded by both scaffolding and mist. The landmark building on the central axis of the old city of Beijing is undergoing the largest renovation since the founding of New China.

Looking north from the Tower, Chang’an Street is full of traffic. Along with North-South Street and the North-South Chi Street on the left and right sides of the tower, they constitute the east-west and north-south main roads of the old city.

Q: Why did the author mention the rain of 13 June?

This question takes top spot on account, after the Gaokao exam paper released, the author of the question, Lin Tianhong, said on Weibo that it was just because when he set the question, it was raining outside.

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Kristen Wang
A Nanjing local, Kristen studied Media and Public relations in Newcastle University (UK), has researched social media and online publishing and previously worked for different new media platforms. She is passionate about discovering new stories and helping expats involved in this city. 南京人Kristen毕业于纽卡斯尔大学,媒体与公共关系硕士学位。她的研究专注于社交媒体和网络发行,在不同的新媒体平台工作。她喜欢发现新鲜事,也希望帮助在南京的外国人融入这里的生活。