Chinese students hang college entrance exams hopes on prayers to Confucius

Chinese students hang college entrance exams hopes on prayers to Confucius

High school student Fang Hongrui walked somberly over a 6-meter-long bridge to a statue of Confucius, the Chinese philosopher and educator, to pray for luck before he sits the national college entrance exam on Saturday.

Many believe that walking over the bridge, called the Zhuangyuan Bridge in the Confucian Temple in Beijing, will help them score high marks on a test. Zhuangyuan was the title given to the scholar with the highest score in the Imperial Exams, a system used in ancient China to select candidates for State positions.

Upon reaching the statue, the 19-year-old hung a small red plate on a fence at its base. In four golden characters, the plate reads "Du zhan ao tou", meaning, "To get the highest test score".

Quickly, the small plate nearly disappeared among thousands of others just like it.

Fang, who studies at Xiangyu Middle School in Beijing, believes the college entrance exam, or gaokao, will have a big impact on his future.

"I believe praying to Confucius can bring me good luck in the exam," he said. "Some of my classmates also came here to pray."

Fang has applied to an agricultural university in Beijing, but his gaokao scores will decide whether he will be admitted.

Over 9 million students will take the gaokao in China this year, 270,000 more than last year, according to the Ministry of Education. The exam starts on June 7 every year and usually lasts two days.

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