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March 17, 2012

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Home » Metro » Education

University interviews bewilder students

"Which is more powerful - the Jade Emperor or the Tathagata Buddha?

"Are you willing to marry a man born with a silver spoon in his mouth?

"How will you arrange the seats if your parents and stepparents attend your wedding?"

These are some of the questions asked by professors in ongoing university pre-admission interviews to decide whether candidates can enter some of China's most prestigious universities.

The pre-admission tests are intended to reduce the academic burden on students by offering more opportunities to show their abilities, instead of everything depending on the national college entrance exam in June.

However, many Chinese students, accustomed to solving difficult math and physics problems, were baffled by the apparently "ridiculous" questions and became tongue-tied. Parents and critics doubt whether universities can select top students through such questions.

Zhang Zhebin, one of the 1,700-plus interviewees of Shanghai Jiao Tong University's pre-admission test, was yesterday troubled by the question "How can you prove you are good enough for our university to admit you?"

Zhang, one of the top 10 students at Gaoqiao High School, tried to persuade a panel of professors with his academic scores, piano certificates and interest in the subway, but failed. He was challenged by professors again and again.

"I don't know what they want from me," he said.

Tao Zhengsu, director of the university's admission office, said the questions are open-ended and don't have one correct answer.

"The questions can test a student's overall ability including their imagination and creativity," Tao said.

Students are welcome to challenge professors but few do as they are accustomed to being lectured, he said.

However, many complained it might cause unfairness and nurture corruption in the admissions process.

"I've read some of the interview questions," said a mother surnamed Wei. "It is so subjective. It might be easier for families with money and influence to corrupt the professors to give them high scores.

"The national college entrance exam is more fair. You will certainly make progress if you work hard," Wei added.

Other questions

The following questions were asked during Shanghai Jiao Tong University pre-admission interviews yesterday.

What does PM2.5 stand for and how can this problem be solved?

It took a bear two seconds to fall to the bottom of a 20-meter-deep well, what is the color of the bear?

Recite the poems Premier Wen Jiabao cited in his news conference after the legislative session and explain their meaning.

Is it a waste of county's resources when so many university graduates opt to work at foreign companies after graduating? What will you do after graduation?

Where do you see yourself 10 years from now?


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