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National Higher Education Entrance Examination

The National Higher Education Entrance Examination (also translated as National Matriculation Examination or National College Entrance Examination or "NCEE"), commonly known as Gaokao (高考, "Higher Education Exam", Pinyin gāo kǎo, lit. "High test"), is an academic examination held annually in the People's Republic of China (except Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan, which have their own education systems). This examination is a prerequisite for entrance into almost all higher education institutions at the undergraduate level. It is usually taken by students in their last year of senior high school, although there has been no age restriction since 2001.  

The exams last about nine hours over a period of two days, depending on the province. Chinese literature, Mathematics, and English language (in most provinces) are required for all students. In addition, students have to choose between two streams, social-science-oriented area (文科倾向) and natural-science-oriented area (理科倾向). Students who choose the former take an additional paper on history, politics and geography (文综), while those who choose the latter take an additional paper on physics, chemistry and biology (理综). 

 In 2006, a record high of 9.5 million people applied for tertiary education entry in China. Of these, 8.8 million (93%) took the national entrance exam and 27,600 (0.28%) were exempted (保送) due to exceptional or special talent. Everyone else (700,000 students) took other standardized entrance exams, such as those designed for adult education students.  

The overall mark received by the student is generally a weighted sum of their subject marks. The maximum possible mark varies widely from year to year and also varies from province to province.  This year's examinations will commence on 7 June 2017 and will end on 9 June 2017.

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