How do students succeed in national college entrance examination (Gao-kao) in China: A qualitative study

2016 IJRSE – Volume 5 Issue 3


Tsegay, Samson Maekele*
Beijing Normal University, China (

Ashraf, Muhammad Azeem
Beijing Normal University, China (


This qualitative study examines the factors that affect students’ success in National College Entrance Examination (Gao-kao). China has tremendously expanded its education system in the past three decades. A large number of students are being admitted to Chinese Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) using different admission categories. However, Gao-kao has been the dominant means of admitting students in Chinese HEIs since its resumption in 1977, affecting both students’ choice of university and program to join. This research explores how Chinese students succeed in this very competitive and important national examination. The study showed that students’ success in Gao-kao is the result of different and interrelated factors emerging from the students, with the support of the school and parents. Moreover, the study indicated that students’ peer or group discussion could be more advantageous than attending private tutoring. The study contributes in enabling educators in general and students in particular to focus on the effective ways of preparing for Gao-kao and other related examinations.

Keywords: Gao-kao; higher education institutions; students’ success; schools; parents; China



*Corresponding Author