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Eleventh-hour Exam Change Raises Questions

Some questions on the English paper of this year's postgraduate entrance examinations were changed at the last moment, the Beijing Times reported on Sunday.

The English to Chinese translation segment was nullified as soon as the exam started at 2 PM the day before, and examinees were issued a sealed package containing new questions worth 10 of the 100 total points.

The change did not affect the examination schedule and few students had time to compare the old questions with the new ones.

Examination organizers said they changed the questions according to a requirement by the Ministry of Education, but the ministry would not elaborate.

Some students suspected that the original questions were wrong, while others thought the questions might have been leaked. 

Beijing Youth Daily reported that on Friday, advertisements appeared on the campuses of Peking University, Renmin University and Beijing Normal University offering examination questions and answers for 10,000 yuan per test.

Students need to sit a total of five tests for the examination: three organized by the government, two by postgraduate education institutions.

The adverts claimed to have obtained the questions through "special channels," and published a contact telephone number. A man named Wang answered the call, promising to provide the questions and answers after receiving the money.

The Ministry of Education said the advertisements were placed by swindlers.

Almost 1.2 million people registered to sit the two-day postgraduate entrance examinations, up 24 percent on last year.

More university graduates are applying for postgraduate education, hoping that it could help them land a decent job.

(Shenzhen Daily January 24, 2005)

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