Up to 1,000 universities in 14 popular overseas destinations for Chinese applicants now accept gaokao test scores as admission criteria, according to a report released on Monday by an online portal for students. The findings reflect increasing overseas recognition for China's national college entrance examination, though it still lags behind other exams.
London-based MyOffer, which helps international students with university placement, overseas internships and career development, released the study as this year's gaokao scores were announced in some parts of China.
Earlier reports claimed that gaokao results were accepted in 20 countries and regions, but MyOffer's study contains by far the most detailed findings available.
Italy and France, according to MyOffer, are the most welcoming destinations. All of France's more than 180 universities and colleges accept gaokao scores.
Chinese applicants may apply for 206 Italian institutions through bilateral education arrangements operated by the Marco Polo Project and Turandot Program if their scores meet admission requirements.
Australia, where more than 30 universities accept gaokao scores for admission, and Spain, with more than 50, are both considered favourable destinations.
Chinese applicants must submit their scores to Singapore's 10 public-fund universities and polytechnics.
In Germany, which has more than 380 officially recognised universities, "most schools require gaokao scores", according to MyOffer.
However, Chinese students whose gaokao scores meet the admission requirements still need to study in a university at home for one to three semesters before enrolling for bachelor's degree courses in Germany.
Nine Canadian universities, including the top-rated University of British Columbia, accept gaokao test scores, although those who score below 75 per cent of the maximum mark of 750 are unlikely to be considered.
Recognition of gaokao scores is still quite low in the United States, where they are accepted by only four universities; in South Korea, by just three; and New Zealand, by two.
East London University is currently one of the few UK institutions to accept the scores, though dozens of university foundation courses require them for admission.
Applicants from the Chinese mainland will find that their test scores are more welcome in Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macao.
Up to 135 universities in Taiwan admitted mainland students with gaokao scores last year, while all eight universities in Hong Kong and six in Macao accept the scores.
MyOffer CEO Philip Hao said China's national exam "still has a long way to go compared to Advanced Placement examinations in North America and A-levels in the UK".
AP results are accepted by more than 3,600 universities in more than 40 countries, while A-level results are recognised by more than 11,000 universities in 160 countries, he said.
"Overseas universities evaluate applicants' overall performance with a comprehensive approach, while gaokao test scores play a decisive role for students who stay at home," he said. This different "education logic" poses a major challenge for gaokao internationally.
However, more overseas universities will be "forced" to accept gaokao results as an increasing number of young Chinese choose to study abroad, he added.
A total of 9.42 million Chinese students took this year's gaokao this month.
Nearly 460,000 Chinese students went abroad last year, up by 11.09 per cent compared with 2013, according to the Ministry of Education.
Related: Ministry pushing for acceptation of gaokao by overseas universities
An education official said in May that the Ministry of Education is pushing for the recognition of Chinese national college entrance exam, also known as gaokao, by more foreign universities, Beijing News reported.
Yu Jihai, deputy director of the international department of the Ministry of Education, said the plan is already underway although it will still take time before any results will be seen.
He said regular cultural and education exchanges between China and Russia, the US and the EU can be used to promote the acceptance of gaokao results by their universities.
An education action plan that goes along with China's Belt and Road Initiative is also brewing in the ministry to beef up the opening up of China's education.
Millions of Chinese students sit thegaokaoevery year but only a select few enter the top domestic universities. An increasing number of them are choosing to study abroad.
Many overseas universities already accept the test scores of gaokao to woo Chinese applicants.
Up to 60 per cent of colleges and universities in Australia now accept gaokao results after the University of Sydney led the way in 2012.
Earlier this year, the University of San Francisco announced Chinese students applying to the university will only need to submit gaokao scores with no additional tests required.