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5 Differences Between A-level Students in China and USA (a Note for Educators)

In the past thirty years, China has risen to global prominence on the back of exponential economic advancement. However, to achieve an overall superpower status as it so evidently seeks, there is a need to achieve leading status in all areas of life for its citizens. One of these areas is education, being among the most important issues in the life of any citizen. Less than thirty years ago, the Chinese education system came under heavy criticism, seeing as there were only 3.4 million students in the institutions of higher learning. The government put measures in place that would see the number grow multiple times in less than ten years, designating education as a strategic priority for overall development. The idea was great, but while increasing the number of people accessing education there was also a need to improve the quality of education.

The Chinese government, in its enthusiasm, set out to address the problem of quality in education. The result was an education system that has risen in the time of its existence to be ranked as the best in the world. It is only natural that parents want the very best for their children and as such, despite China being the country with the highest number of students in American universities, more and more American parents are sending their children to school in China. There are definitely differences that have resulted in the different ranking of the two countries’ education systems. So are you one of those kids going to China for education? Here are some things that will help you emerge with straight A’s from the Land of Dragons.

The Chinese Education system focuses on Knowledge accumulation

This is probably something students already enrolled in the American system would have to get used to more than those who initiate their education in China. But it is just as well, this article is for them. So you are used to your teacher encouraging you to express yourself, right? Well, that is one of the main things that you will have to adjust. The American system is designed to develop how students utilize their knowledge in society. For this reason, it also focuses on improving the students’ independence, self-determination, confidence, and creativity. However, the Chinese system focuses on the accumulation and mastery of knowledge. It is designed to shape how much students retain, how they manage and use the attained knowledge, as well as their understanding of the structures and systems of knowledge. So it is important that you bear this in mind, it just might inform the approach you take to learning.

The Gao Kao is demanding

Could anyone possibly discuss education in China without mention of the notorious Gao Kao? The term Gao Kao loosely translates into “Higher test.”  If that does not give you a rough idea does not give you all the hint you need to realize that this is no ordinary test then, take note that describing it as demanding as this title does, is an understatement. You know how so many students in the USA are so apprehensive in the face of SATs? One article describes the Gao Kao as “China’s SATs on steroids.” The Gao Kao is the test that determines which students in the Chinese system get into the leading colleges and Universities. In 2016, more than 9 million students sat for the test yet only an estimated 2 million of them will gain a qualification for a Chinese University entrance. Should you be part of the Chinese system, you will inevitably have to face this and of course, you cannot be an A student at the college level if you do not gain entrance in the first place, can you? You must, therefore, be ready to put in long hours of hard work to be halfway ready for the Gao Kao.

The Competition is intense

The Gao Kao aside, the competitiveness of the Chinese is ordinarily immense. It is common to forward to find American parents and teachers encouraging students to focus on their areas of strength and talents. This eases the pressure of having to post exemplary performance in every area of life. However, it is inculcated early enough in the Chinese child that they have to be the best, with the focus going to those that fail. While the American system is not exactly lax, the competition in the Chinese system is on another level. Every child is after being the best and that could be why the children strive to master concepts first. You must, therefore, be in an extremely strong shape if mind to thrive in such an environment and manage straight A’s.

Higher teacher dependence

The American education level is such that the students are trained to be independent thinkers who are given assignments and endeavor to find answers on their own. In China, this is a little different as students are virtually spoon-fed with answers. The focus is largely on rote-learning and repetitive teaching, hammering in facts until they are engraved on students’ minds. The School will therefore not teach you to think to criticize and question authority, but rather to yield to it. It is not always about your method of studying, as the best online paper writing service writers say, and this is more evident in China than anywhere else. You must, therefore, put yourself in a receptive mindset to learn as you must in the Chinese education system.

Different Class structures

The American school day is roughly seven days long, but the Chinese day is much longer, varying between twelve and fourteen hours daily, dependent on one’s level. Approaching education in China without a clear sense of what to expect may affect your performance. It is, therefore, prudent that you rest as much as you can when you are not at school, all the while taking care to read as widely as possible to make straight A’s.

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