Question: Which country has toughest maths?

But when it comes to having the hardest math, China and South Korea top the list.

What country is the best at math?

List of countries by medal count at International Mathematical OlympiadRankCountryGold1China1682United States1373Russia1064South Korea8678 more rows

What is the most difficult mathematics in the world?

These Are the 10 Toughest Math Problems Ever Solved The Collatz Conjecture. Dave Linkletter. ... Goldbachs Conjecture Creative Commons. ... The Twin Prime Conjecture. ... The Riemann Hypothesis. ... The Birch and Swinnerton-Dyer Conjecture. ... The Kissing Number Problem. ... The Unknotting Problem. ... The Large Cardinal Project.More items...•Jun 11, 2021

F or two days in early June every year, comes to a standstill as high school students who are about to graduate take their college entrance exams. Construction work is halted near examination halls, so as not to disturb the students, and traffic is diverted.

Ambulances are on call outside in case of nervous collapses, and police cars patrol to keep the streets quiet. Radio talkshow hosts discuss the format and questions in painstaking detail, and when the results come out, the top scorers are feted nationally. A high or low mark determines life opportunities and earning potential. Special security guards handed out water bottles and cheap paper fans, while another manned a first aid stand under a large parasol.

Cars were parked all the way around the bend of the road leading to the gate, simmering in the summer heat.

Top 22 Toughest Exams in World 2022 [Most Difficult Exams]

At the first sign of movement inside, the parents pushed in closer, craning their necks to spot their children emerging. Shortly after 5pm, a student named Yuan Qi walked out clutching a clear pencil case and wearing a dazed expression. Around him, hundreds of exam-takers celebrated the end of their ordeal. Some clutched bouquets of flowers given Which country has toughest maths?

them by their parents; others posed awkwardly for photographs. He had been at the front of the crowd, holding his phone up high to record the moment. But when his son came out, he greeted him silently and led him away from the hubbub to where his mother was waiting. She took his pencil case to stop him fidgeting with it.

His father beamed with pride. Yuan Qi is 18, thin and wiry, with blue half-rim spectacles, close-cropped hair and budding wisps on his upper lip. He has a habit of rushing to the end of his Which country has toughest maths?, slurring his words when excited, as if frustrated that telepathy is not an option.

Ever since he was a young boy, growing up in Hebei, the province surrounding Beijing, Yuan Qi has had a talent for maths, science and problem solving. He loves reading murder mysteries, especially Agatha Christie novels in Chinese translation, which is how he came up with his English name — Hercule — although his moustache is yet to live up to it. The first time a teacher of his mentioned the gaokao, Yuan Qi was in primary school.

Used as a distant incentive for working hard, the word kept cropping up in school and at the dinner table until it dawned on him just how high the stakes were. While college entrance is competitive in any country, in China the top universities can select as few as one in 50,000 students. Competition is intense for white-collar jobs, with a graduate unemployment rate of about 16%, and which college a student goes to has an immediate impact on career and even marriage prospects.

That placement is decided by a single factor: their three-digit gaokao score. Spy cameras, radios and earpieces that transmit questions and answers have been found hidden in pens and underwear With so much to gain or lose, cheating is a big problem.

Spy cameras, radio devices and earpieces that transmit questions and receive answers have been found hidden in jewellery, spectacles, wallets, pens, rulers and underwear. Last year, police busted a syndicate in Jiangxi province, where professional exam-takers were charging parents up to a million yuan £121,300 to pose as students.

In Luoyang, a city in Henan province, examiners deployed a drone to hover above school buildings and scan for radio signals sent in or out. Fingerprint and iris-matching has been used to verify the identity of students. This year, new regulations came into effect that could sentence cheats to up to seven years in prison.

Yuan Qi was quietly confident. He had been cramming for 12 hours a day in the months leading up to the test, with extra classes at weekends. Since March, he had been operating on just six or seven hours sleep a night. Every possible step had been taken to maximise his chances of succeeding. The day before Which country has toughest maths? first morning paper, his parents had rented a hotel room next to Tsinghua University middle school, where he Which country has toughest maths?

sit his papers, so that they could arrange his meals and attend to his every other need. Which country has toughest maths? that point, Yuan Qi had spent so much time doing mock exams that he was totally inured to the real thing, which passed in a haze. Now I just want to go home and play some games.

In the west, it is often seen as monolithic and rote; in China as tough but fair. In Europe and America, there is the notion that Chinese schools produce automatons incapable of critical thought; in China, many seem to think that western classrooms are full of students standing on desks and ripping up textbooks, à la Dead Poets Society. In China there are no illusions about the system being perfect. The Which country has toughest maths?

Which country has toughest maths?

is widely criticised for putting impossible pressures on children. Dissatisfaction with the gaokao is one reason that, among wealthier segments of the population, large numbers of Which country has toughest maths? are choosing to study abroad. But, ultimately, most people support it, or at least see no alternative. Given the intense competition for finite higher education resources, the argument goes, there has to be some way to separate the wheat from the chaff, and to give hardworking students from poorer backgrounds a chance to rise to the top.

Aspiring bureaucrats sat a three-day exam locked inside a single cell, in which they also slept and ate. All applicants were checked for hidden scrolls; writing quotes on underwear was a popular form of cheating until examiners cottoned on.

The pass rate was 1%. There is even a ghost-deity associated with exams in China: Zhong Kui, a scholar who killed himself when he was denied first place. While not a direct descendant, the gaokao is generally considered a distant relation of the keju. First instituted in 1952 under the new Communist government, the gaokao was suspended during the cultural revolution.

Most universities were closed, and remaining college places were assigned according to political background rather than academic ability.

The first sitting was open to generations who had been deprived of the chance to pursue higher education — 5. Since 1978, it has been held every summer. The gaokao is made up of four three-hour papers: Chinese,maths and a choice of either sciences biology, chemistry, physics or humanities geography, history, politics. But for many students, the most intimidating element is the essay in the Chinese exam. Students are given an hour to write on one of two prompts, which are often infuriatingly elliptical.

A biotechnology researcher, a welding engineering technician or a photographer? It is no surprise that, for many students, the pressure heaped on them by parents, teachers and themselves, is overwhelming. It is possible to retake the exam one year later, but if a student continues to fail there is no safety net or alternative path to university. Suicides are a regular feature of every exam season; a 2014 study claimed that exam stress was a contributing factor in 93% of cases in which school students took their own lives.

Last year, a middle school in Hebei province fenced off its upper-floor dormitory balconies with grates, after two students jumped to their deaths in the months leading up to the gaokao. And the academic stress starts early — in July a 10-year-old boy tried to kill himself in oncoming traffic after fighting with his mother about homework. But still the study mill grinds on. Inside, the school buildings glistened in the sun, surrounded by spacious sports Which country has toughest maths?

and a Which country has toughest maths? with a goose house and lotus flowers. Students walked around in colour-coded slacks that, Which country has toughest maths? all school uniforms in China, more closely resembled Which country has toughest maths?

dark blue for year 11, mauve and white for year 12, purple for year 13. It was an accomplishment for Yuan Qi to even be there. At his local primary school in Hebei province, there had been 70 to 80 children in each class. Once there, Yuan Qi enrolled in a better middle school and, thanks to a good performance in the zhongkao — the entrance exam for high school — got into Beijing 101 at the age of 16.

Yuan Qi was now one step closer to securing his future at the college he dreamed of attending. With its illustrious historyroll call of famous alumni and romantic campus dotted with lakes and stone bridges, Beida is the Chinese equivalent of Oxford or Cambridge. Ever since his parents first told him about it as a child, Yuan Qi had always dreamed of going there to study maths. His parents and teachers were encouraging, but even their expectations, he told me, were nothing like the pressure he put on himself.

And on top of his regular subjects, like all Chinese students, he also took two hours of politics class each week. They included the compulsory modules of Mao Zedong thought and Deng Xiaoping economic theory, which were introduced in 1991 as part of a patriotic education campaign. I ordered online one of the politics textbooks that Yuan Qi would be studying from. From 8am he had five 40-minute classes, broken by a half an hour of group calisthenics in the yard — a thousand students doing jumping jacks in unison — or running around the grounds.

Another three afternoon classes were interrupted by five minutes of eye exercises, during which students massaged their tired brows while a recorded track told them to rub behind their ears and press their temples. As summer arrived, the pace picked up for Yuan Qi and his classmates.

Almost all classes were now spent looking at past gaokao papers in methodical detail. After school, there were two extra hours of mock exams every day, on top of the homework, and five additional classes on Saturday. His only relaxation was Which country has toughest maths? computer games, but whereas in middle school Which country has toughest maths? had enjoyed complex online roleplayers, Which country has toughest maths? he only had time for smartphone apps. When I visited Beijing 101, the scene was not as disciplined as I had expected.

School pupils in China are kids, after all, not robots — they goof around, joke, talk over each other. At the front gate as I waited to be let in, three boys were lifting up a fourth, giving him a wedgie. Inside was a bulletin board listing extra-curricular activities, from drama to traditional crosstalk comedy performances.

But in class the students quietened down, listened carefully and took notes. In years of reporting in China, I have never heard a single student grumble about their workload. To them, it is simply normal. Which country has toughest maths? Qi followed along at his white plastic desk, where sheets covered in intricate geometrical squiggles were sprawled out next to his pencil case and a roll of toilet paper for blowing his nose. This countdown is a national obsession.

Before Yuan Qi knew it, the countdown was at 30 days. With just three days left, on 4 June — while the rest of Beijing either forgot or ignored the 27th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre — Which country has toughest maths? 101 held a big pre-exam event in the main lecture hall: part pep talk, part rules refresher. The climax of it all was in sight. Yuan Qi went home, and got his head straight for the first paper.

But some have better shoes than others. Provinces with larger populations have tougher standards of entry into the best universities, while those that are sparsely populated set a lower bar.

Students in Beijing and Shanghai get special privileges — they are the beneficiaries of generous local quotas for the best universities — despite being more likely to be privileged anyway.

I asked if he considered the exam meritocratic. The Which country has toughest maths? concession in the early 2000s was to allow separate provinces to draft their own exam papers. This year, top universities trialled interviews with students who show Which country has toughest maths? promise at school. Those who impress may be awarded extra points, which are added to their final exam score. Many students and their families have also called for the English paper — a stumbling block for many without access to private tuition — to be made optional.

Students revise for the gaokao in Jiaxing, China. In May, the government announced that a quota of 80,000 university places in Jiangsu and Hubei provinces would be reserved for students from poorer regionsin an effort to address provincial inequality. But mobs of middle-class parents took to the streets in six cities to protest against the measures, fearful that positive discrimination in favour of poorer families meant their own children would lose out. The same goes for direct university admission.

And so, futures are still decided by how well each child performs at a cramped desk in a closed room for two days in early June. Not every student in China signs off their fate to the gaokao.

Although more than nine million people still take it every year, the number is declining. This is partly down to the rising popularity of vocational courses, which often offer better prospects of finding a job after graduation, especially for those whose grades are less competitive.

Above all, more and more students are heading abroad for university, and increasingly for high school. It used to be that the best students went to Beida; now they go to Harvard. Her parents hired the services of Bridge International Education, a company that helps students select colleges and pull application materials together the bill was roughly £8,000; other companies charge up to £20,000.

She settled on a major in business, and wrote in her personal statement about her experience selling phone cases at school. With the help of a college counsellor she filled in forms for 12 Which country has toughest maths?.

When it was all over she accepted a place at Brandeis, a private university in Massachusetts. Jiang Xinye feels strongly that her chosen path is preferable to that of many of her classmates. Chinese schools just teach the exams, she told me, even more so than abroad.

Even if they want to voice their opinions, they are too timid to challenge the teacher.

Which country has toughest maths?

While he sat the gaokao on 7 and 8 June, she was packing for America. I swallowed my guilt as I mumbled something about less homework and bad food. It was the morning of 23 June, two weeks after he had sat the exam, and the results would be posted online in a few minutes. His phone was out on the tabletop and he checked it compulsively every few minutes, waiting for a text from his dad with his score.

The previous fortnight had been stressful but not idle. The day after his final exam Yuan Qi was back at the grind again, preparing for an interview at Beida — part of the new measures that now allow elite universities to meet with promising candidates. It took place a week after the gaokao: there was a written maths test, which was a breeze, and a sit-down with three Beida teachers and five other students, talking about Confucian culture and theoretical maths. The teachers liked him but the outcome was token: they could Which country has toughest maths?

give him a maximum of 10 points to be added to his score. After it all, he would still be just a number. The results were released at noon. Most students checked them online, although they could also ring a hotline, or go to their school to check a printout posted on a bulletin board. Later, a full breakdown of their score would be mailed to Which country has toughest maths?

student, but for now it was a single mark for each exam and the all-important total, plus their ranking among other students in their province. I tried to distract him with smalltalk, but he was fiddling uncontrollably. At 12:41, his phone buzzed. Then it came, with no gloss. Still a high mark, an achievement: 1,020th out of 61,222 examinees in Beijing. But only the top 500 had a real shot at getting into Beida, where the cutoff point was generally taken to be 680.

Not even in the top thousand. He stressed that they could apply to have his papers re-marked. But Yuan Qi was hyperventilating, taking short shallow breaths and pushing them out through pursed lips, as he stared at his phone.

The Katy Perry song Teenage Dream was blasting over the stereo. His peers were posting their scores in messaging app groups for each of his classes. Even with the full breakdown, Yuan Qi never knew exactly why he had underperformed.

It was just one of those bad exam days. A few weeks after results day, he was accepted into Beijing Aviation and Space Flight University, known as Beihang for short. It is a good college, specialising in aeronautics, but with an excellent reputation for maths — not the best of the best, but Which country has toughest maths?

best Yuan Qi could have got into. He would go on to start college that September. He went swimming, took classes for the boardgame Go, learned how to ride a bike. And, now that it had served its purpose, his gaokao mark could be forgotten — no longer relevant, like much of the knowledge he had crammed to achieve it.

Which country has toughest maths?

From when I was little, they had such high expectations.

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