College entrance exams for Chinese art schools postponed amid epidemic
By Ai Yan

Every year in early spring, tens of thousands of high school graduates swarm art academies across China to take part in possibly the most important exam of their career life, the yikao.

Only those who pass the exam can expect to enter the art academies. However, this year amid the outbreak of the novel coronavirus, the exams might be postponed for quite a while.

According to a statement from the Chinese Ministry of Education on Thursday, all art academies should postpone in-person exams until after the national college entrance exam, the gaokao, is over. The national exam is usually held in June every year.

It is estimated that this year's art exam will see at least 1.15 million applicants. To prevent the gathering of such a large number of people, the ministry suggested that art academies encourage their applicants to submit their work via the internet and organize online interviews.

For majors with higher standards of professionalism that require face-to-face interviews, the ministry suggested that the primary exams be held online and in-person interviews wait until the college entrance exams are held.

Also, taking into account that students in underdeveloped areas might have difficulties registered for or participating in the exams, the art academies were asked to provide their plans to ensure a level playing field for all applicants.

The ministry also emphasized the transparency and fairness of the exams, asking that the entire process be recorded both in audio and video file format. 

Starting March 16, parents and applicants will be able to seek information and ask questions on the ministry's gaokao website ( The service will be available for a month.

Cover image: A file photo of a student participating in the art exam held at Nanjing University of the Arts, January 1, 2020. /VCG