55-year-old Chinese man takes entrance exam for 26th time in 40 years in hopes of dream school admittance

  • A 55-year-old Chinese man hoping to get into his dream school is taking his entrance exam for the 26th time.
  • Liang Shi has been taking the gaokao exam, a Chinese standardized college entrance exam, since 1983 when he was a teenager.
  • Due to work and policies that required students to be unmarried and under 25 years old, which were later removed in 2001, he skipped the exam 14 times.
  • Liang's highest score was just over 400 out of 750, and despite qualifying for a second-tier university, he continued to retake the exam in the hopes of getting into Sichuan University.
  • Liang initially applied as a science student; however, after failing the science portion of the exam multiple times, he decided to transfer as an art and human science student this year. 

For 55-year-old Liang Shi, age is no limit as he took an entrance exam for the 26th time since he was a teenager to get into his dream school.

While many people have reportedly told Liang that his “failing memory” would hinder him from studying textbooks like his younger peers, he is determined to score high enough on the gaokao exam this year to attend Sichuan University, which he first missed out on in 1983. 

He described himself as “still young” and reassured his critics that he has no issues with studying at his age.

“I just turned 55, and I’m still young. And I am having no trouble learning history and geography so far,” Liang said in a video posted to Weibo by Sino-Singapore.

The gaokao exam, which translates to “high exam,” is China’s annual standardized college entrance exam and is typically taken during the third and final year of high school. It is known for being notoriously difficult.

Liang had to skip the exam 14 times due to work and policies that required students to be unmarried and under the age of 25, which were later removed in 2001. 

In June of last year, Liang received a score of 403 out of 750 while the minimum admission score to attend Sichuan University is 521. Despite failing for the 25th time, Liang persevered and began preparing for this year’s exam shortly after finishing last year’s as his “desire to attend college was strong.” 

“I will continue to take the gaokao until it becomes obvious that my dream cannot be realized,” Liang said.

After failing the science portion of the exam for years, which is included for those who apply as science students, Liang decided to transfer as an art and human science student, as he believes it may be easier to prepare for.

Online users have nicknamed Liang as “gaokao Dingzihu,” which translates to “nail household,” in reference to people who never leave their home or give up despite numerous failures.  

Liang currently owns a building materials company in Chengdu, the capital of southwest China’s Sichuan Province. 

Similarly, in 2019, a 72-year-old Chinese man, Kang Lianxi, took the gaokao for the last time after failing it 19 times. Despite not receiving the score that he hoped for, Kang’s determination motivated some young students to believe that it is never too late to achieve objectives and life goals.


Featured Image via Sixth Tone

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