Secondary education grading system

Pupils must obtain a total of 144 credits in order to be able to leave high school:

  • 116 credits for compulsory subjects;
  • 28 credits for electives.

Each subject is comprised of modules requiring 36 hours of study, with each module being worth 2 credits. The modules making up the art and physical education and health subjects are only worth 1 credit each.

One hundred points can be obtained for each compulsory subject. Fewer points may be awarded for electives; this differs from province to province. The points are then converted into letters: A, B, C or D. Any score between 0 and 59 points is assigned a D, with D being 'unsatisfactory'.

General ability test

The results of the final examination are expressed as 'pass' (合格 hege) or 'fail' (不合格 buhege), or as a letter: A, B, C, D or E. D is the lowest possible score with which a student can successfully pass a subject, with E being 'unsatisfactory'.

Gaokao scores

In most provinces, the maximum overall score that can be obtained in the gaokao is 750 points. However, 2 provinces have lower maximum scores:

  • Jiangsu (480 points);
  • Shanghai (660 points).

Admission to bachelor's degree programmes

Higher-ranking universities require students to obtain 550 points or more in their gaokao exam in order to be admitted to a bachelor's degree programme. Admission score requirements may differ from year to year. Admission scores for zhuanke degree programmes are lower than the scores required for admission to bachelor's degree programmes. See also the overview of minimum gaokao score requirements for admission to higher education (2017-2020).

Higher education grading system

Higher education institutions use a 100-point system. China has no national credit system, meaning that the number of credits required for the completion of a bachelor’s programme can vary greatly between institutions, from around 130 to 240.