It's been three decades since China resumed its nationwide college entrance exam. Its reintroduction was considered life-changing for many. Today, the country's high school seniors are still busy preparing for the summer test, but with different expectations and choices.
It's another busy day for Li Siran. His big exam is still six months away, but millions of students like him are already counting the days.
With good grades and an award-winning scientific project under his belt, Li is one of the lucky few to get an exemption from the test and automatic entry into the top universities. But he wants to sit the exam anyway.
Unlike in the past, when the college entrance exam was the only means to higher education and decent jobs, Li says he and his peers now have other alternatives.
As he gets ready for the summer test, he's also applying to Harvard and Yale.
He thinks the exam is a good idea, but says it's not perfect. When he gets into the Chinese composition part, he often wonders what he should write to please the judge.
Li Siran, 12th Grade student of Beijing Huiwen High School, said, "Different raters will perhaps, according to their preferences, give some subjective evaluation to the students' writing. And I know in the exam, even one point means a lot."
Selecting talent through exams goes back to sixth-century China. During the past three decades, reform has extended to universities, such as enrollment expansion, college mergers, and exam format. But the issues of equal opportunity and fairness still remain. Many are wondering about the specific consequences of reforms and where exactly the road leads to.