Beijing, Jun 7 (IANS): Nearly 13 million young adults across China will sit for this year's college entrance test, or "gaokao", a record high since matriculation resumed in 1977.
The exact number of applicants for this year is 12.91 million, an increase of 980,000 from last year, Xinhua news agency reported on Wednesday citing the Ministry of Education as saying.
The exams will last from two to four days, depending on the candidates' choice of subjects.
China's college admission rate already increased to 94 per cent last year, compared to merely 5 per cent in 1977, when the country resumed the national college entrance exams.
But still, gaokao is widely recognised as the world's toughest college entrance exam, mainly because admission relies primarily on the exam results instead of an overall estimation of a student's academic performance over a period of time.
A high score in the college entrance exam is the only way to get into the country's top universities, and most Chinese students get just one shot at the grueling test.
Authorities have taken it a step further this time by imposing various measures to keep noise down and minimise disruption to the candidate, including prohibiting cars from honking near some exam sites, and suspending operations at nearby restaurants, CNN reported citing the state-run Global Times as saying.
They have also ramped up anti-cheating security, with some cities installing facial recognition technology to detect "surrogate test takers" hired to take the exam for someone else, and reducing signal transmission power near exam sites to block electronic cheating methods.