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The National College Entrance Examination (NCEE), or the Nationwide Unified Examination for Admissions to General Universities and Colleges, referred to as “college entrance examination” or “Gaokao”, is a selective examination for qualified high school graduates or candidates with the same educational level.

The NCEE is a national unified examination for the enrollment of ordinary colleges and universities, which is implemented from June 7 to 10 every year.

The candidates of the examination are full-time senior high school graduates and citizens of the people’s Republic of China with the same educational background.


The enrollment is divided into two categories:

1. Science, engineering, agriculture and medicine (including sports).

2. Literature and history (including foreign languages and Arts).


Colleges and universities will admit the best candidates according to the results of candidates and to the enrollment regulations and plans.


The NCEE is authorized by the competent department of the state or the provincial education examination institute with independent proposition; Under the unified dispatch of the Ministry of Education, the provincial admission and examination committees are responsible for the implementation and management.

The Ministry of education requires that the names of examination subjects in all provinces (regions and municipalities) must be consistent with the schedule of the national unified examination if they are the same as those of the national unified examination.


Basic Information of NCEE 

Chinese Name


English Name

Nationwide Unified Examination for Admissions to General Universities and Colleges

Main Subjects:

Chinese, Mathematics, Foreign languages

Arts Comprehensive

Politics, History, Geography,

Science Comprehensive:

Physics, Chemistry, Biology, Technology (only at Zhejiang)

Foreign language

English, Japanese, German, French, Russian, Spanish

Exam Time

7th to 10th, June, every year

Proposition organization

Ministry of Education or provincial education administration departments

Started from


The period of Abolition

1966 to 1977

Recovery time

21st, Oct 1977



Evolution of NCEE

China has a history of more than 1300 years of imperial examination. This system once showed the superiority of selecting talents, which deeply influenced the countries in East Asia. In 1905, in order to develop new education and cultivate practical talents, the Qing government abolished the imperial examination system and introduced the western school examination system. There are two important sources for the establishment of China’s modern college entrance examination system: one is the traditional examination thinking and value formed by the imperial examination system, and the other is the mode and means of the western modern examination system.


In 1952, China established a unified national enrollment system for ordinary colleges and universities. Unified college entrance examination enrollment can show fairness better, but also adapt to the needs of the national rapid selection of talents at that time.


On October 21, 1977, the first examination was held after the resumption of the college entrance examination (NCEE).

The examination was divided into two subjects: literature and history, science and engineering.

The subjects of literature and history were politics, Chinese, mathematics, history and Geography.

The subjects of science and Engineering were politics, Chinese, mathematics, physics and Chemistry.

Those who applied for the foreign language major should take an additional examination of foreign languages.

In 2003, with the consent of the State Council, the Ministry of Education decided to advance the time of the college entrance examination by one month from 2003. The time of the college entrance examination is fixed on June 7, 8 and 9 every year.

In 2021, 10.78 million people registered for the national college entrance examination

NCEE marking

NCEE papers are marked online. When the examination is over, the provincial education examination institute will collect all the exam paper answer cards, first hold a marking meeting, and then organize personnel to carry out marking in the computer office building of a designated University.

All the objective questions of the college entrance examination papers are corrected by computer, and all the subjective questions are subject to the double evaluation system.

If the score difference given by two teachers exceeds the threshold, the three-evaluation procedure will be automatically started.

If the score given by the three evaluation teachers also exceeds the threshold, the arbitration procedure will be started.




The admission method of the NCEE adopts of online admission and voluntary choosing. The universities devided into two batches, top universities and ordinary universities.

In addition, there are a lot of colleges and universities to recruit students independently, but selected candidates must participate in the college entrance examination, the results of candidates should meet the local admission control line.

Some provisions of the college entrance examination

1. The Ministry of Education stipulates that “students which already hold college certificates are not allowed to apply for the college entrance examination”

2. Traveling candidates cannot take the exam at the same time in the “inflow” and “outflow” places

Traveling candidates taking the voluntary in the local area can choose either the inflow area or outflow area, but cannot take the college entrance examination in two places at the same time. Specifics can follow to the local provincial or municipal college entrance examination method.

3. It is expressly stipulated that disabled candidates take the examination, and the examination should be fair

According to the Regulations on NCEE, college entrance examination centers in all provinces and cities across the country must provide an equal and fair examination environment and reasonable facilitation measures for disabled students.


4. The national exam paper was expanded to cover 26 provinces and municipalities, with Beijing, Tianjin, Shanghai, Zhejiang and Jiangsu separately assigned.

5. Don’t cheat in the exam. If you cheat, you will go to jail

From November 2015. The official implementation of the Criminal Law clearly stipulated: Organizing cheating in the national examination (including the college entrance examination), will be convicted in accordance with the criminal law, can be sentenced to a maximum of 7 years in prison.

6. Fingerprint or vein verification of new technology to prevent exam replacements

In 2016, the Ministry of Education issued the Notice on the 2016 College Entrance Examination, which required all provinces and cities to adopt the second-generation ID card to do on-site registration, collect candidates’ photos, fingerprints or finger veins and other biological characteristics on site, and strictly guard the behavior of cheating in the exam.



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