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What's new for the millennium generation facing gaokao?

Tomorrow millions of Chinese students, most of whom were born in 2000, will sit for the national college entrance exam, or gaokao. Given that most of them were born at the turn of the new millennium, they are bound to attract attention. The exam is an important part of the country's talent selection process that has evolved over the 41 years since its restoration in 1977. So, what are the newest changes to the exam Generation Z will face this year?
 
More candidates, less bonus points
 
About 9.75 million candidates will sit for the exam this year, 350,000 more than last year, according to the Ministry of Education.
 
The ministry said in March that it would eliminate some preferential provisions that award bonus points to some students' total score, as part of its effort to promote a more fair and scientific selection process.
 
According to the statement, no bonus points will be awarded for exceptional sports ability, winning academic Olympiads or science and technology competitions, being named "provincial-level excellent students" or honored for "righteous and courageous deeds".
 
Previously, students with top performance in athletics or science were awarded up to 20 points on their total score, although some provinces had already canceled such provisions under a notice issued by the ministry four years ago.
 
Reforms of the enrollment process
 
Enrollment process will be streamlined in many places this year. Key universities and others will be combined into the same round of enrollment to provide more choices for different students. Tianjin, Guangdong and Liaoning will adopt the reforms this year, after the practice was put into place in Shanghai, Zhejiang, Shandong and Hainan.
 
New majors for the age of intelligence
 
There will be 2,311 new majors to choose this year, many of which are oriented toward science and technology's new front - big data and artificial intelligence.
 
Around 250 colleges will set up courses on "data science and big data technology" and around 60 colleges will add "robotic engineering" as a new major.
 
Cyberspace security is also a new option in this year's major selection.

Ban on publicity of top scorers
 
In recent years, over-emphasis or even hype of the top scorers and highest enrollment rate received negative reviews. This year, the ministry stressed its firm stance of banning the practice before the exam.
 
According to a notice published on its official website, violators would be punished severely.

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