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May 31, 2013

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Hotels, taxis in demand ahead of big exam

WHILE high school students are busy preparing for the college entrance exam next week, their parents are booking hotels, taxis and nutritious meals to help their children through the stressful period.

Shanghai Educational Examination authorities yesterday announced this year's college entrance exam will take place on June 7-8. About 78,800 students will sit the exam.

Shanghai topped a rating of hotel room bookings for the college entrance exam, with 5,550 reservations made during the two-day period on an online booking website under, China's biggest e-commerce website.

"It's normal because there is only one week ahead of the exam," said Chen Jian, a 51-year-old father whose daughter is in her first year at Shanghai Normal University.

In the past two weeks, Chen said he shared his booking experiences on the Internet, where parents gathered to prepare as much as possible for their children during the exam, often dubbed the "test that determines a student's fate."

Though the college entrance exam is not the only way to get into a college or a university - there are pre-admission tests which require lower scores than the exam - it is still considered the biggest and most important exam by many children who want to enter university.

"A good location is an obvious advantage for test-takers. Booking a hotel next to the exam venue can give your child more time to study and have a rest rather than dealing with Shanghai's awful traffic," Chen told Shanghai Daily.

Distance between home and hotel is the main reason that parents decide to book a hotel. As for Chen, he said it took an hour to get to the exam venue from his home by bus.

"You can never predict traffic or the weather in June," Chen said. He said parents were willing to spend several hundred yuan to ensure there was no accident on the exam day.

Taxi reservations

Starting tomorrow, parents can also book taxis to take their children to exam venues.

Due to the Dragon Boat Festival, both exam days will be work days and parents fear traffic will be bad during morning rush hours.

Taxi companies said they will confirm the time and venue with parents three days before the exam to ensure their children will not be late.

The number of hotel room bookings on the two days increased 135 percent from last year, according to statistics released by

Budget hotels are the most popular choices as room rates range from 150 yuan (US$24) to 300 yuan, prices affordable for most parents.

Apart from distance, hotel environment and price are the second and third biggest concerns for parents since the plum rain season is in June. Many parents fear the hot and humid weather will make their children uncomfortable.

Chen said restaurants around the hotel are also an important consideration because students have no time to go home for lunch and the food must be "clean" to prevent diarrhea or other problems.

"After all, the college entrance exam is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Parents don't want their children to have any regrets," Chen said.


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