Although high school students in the US might view taking the SAT or ACT as an ordeal, those college entrance exams have nothing on China’s gaokao, a grueling two-day, nine-hour test that Chinese students spend years preparing for. This year, an estimated 9.75 million students will take the test, notes Reuters, and less than 1% will do well enough to earn a spot in one of China’s premier universities, reports the New York Times. Now, the University of New Hampshire plans to cull some of that talent. The school has announced that it will accept scores from the Chinese exam on entrance applications, making it the first "flagship" state school in the US to do so. But submitting the gaokao results will not be the only test criteria.
Students will also be required to take an English test, participate in a video interview and send their high school transcripts, reports the BBC, and they may still need to take the SAT or ACT exam. If admitted they would pay out-of-state tuition and housing costs of more than $45,000 a year. A few private institutions in the US as well as dozens of universities in Europe, Australia, and Canada already accept gaokao results on applications. The University of San Francisco has an early admissions program that allows June test takers to enroll in the fall semester, based on their grades, gaokao score, and personal interview in English. Not everyone is a fan of the gaokao. Critics say the test emphasizes memorization over creativity, but University of San Francisco president Paul J. Fitzgerald notes that the gaokao can assess a student’s determination to work “hard and consistently.” (She called a Texas standardized test a "big baloney sandwich.")