Shanghai students prepare for important exams amid COVID-19
By Wang Siwen
The day begins early for Xing Tianhao, a high school student in Shanghai preparing for the national college entrance exam, known as Gaokao.
Xing signs into his first class at 7 a.m. and has nine more before his day is done. Then, after a quick break, he settles in for an evening of study. He expressed his appreciation for the extra time given as the city has postponed the exam by a month due to COVID-19, though he fears it may add to the uncertainty among students.
"The academic pressure for our college entrance exams actually starts from the beginning of high school. One extra month alleviates this pressure a little bit. It can help with our study and provide more possibilities," Xing said.
"But you may be distracted or discouraged during this time, and you won't be able to do your best in the college entrance examination. The delay will have a certain impact on us."
Li Runxin, who is studying for her high school entrance exam, is disappointed with the extension but wants to make the best of it.
"At first, I was sad. I originally expected to have a graduation trip, but there'll definitely be none now," Li said. "I feel a little better now, as I think there will be more time for revision."
Education has largely shifted online, be it at kindergarten, secondary school or university level. While many students have struggled with the changes, Li says she has actually strengthened her soft skills.
"I make a list of the plans I need to do every day, and then implement them strictly. I think I have adapted quite well, but some of our classmates may still struggle because it's easy to slack off," she told CGTN.
It can be a trying time for parents too, but Li's mother says it's important for families to stay positive and focused. "On the one hand, it allows precious parent-child time for families in Shanghai. On the other, it's inevitable that children and parents feel anxiety as the (virus) situation has dragged on for so long."
Born in the digital era, most high school students are very familiar with online study, but for some aspects of life, it's the same for every generation. Bonding with friends is one of them.
"What I miss the most are physical education classes, or more precisely, playing basketball. We are missing team sport. Maybe this kind of happiness is something I miss more," Xing said.
He told CGTN that although he's preparing for the exam alone, he's not lonely. When he has spare time, he talks with his friends online, which offers him a crucial source of encouragement and motivation.