An 86-year-old man in Nanjing reportedly sat the gaokao, China’s notoriously difficult college entrance exam, for the 15th time this past Sunday and Monday.
Wang Xia graduated from high school in 1949. His first attempt to take the gaokao came in 1954. Although he didn’t pass, Wang refused to give up and sat the test another three times in 1955, 1956 and 1960.
After four attempts at the exam, Wang seemingly decided to throw in the towel and carried on with his career as a pharmacist. In the meantime, the Cultural Revolution was launched, and universities stopped enrolling students by exam from 1966 to 1976. The gaokao was reinstated in 1977, but it was required that test-takers be “unmarried, aged under 25”.
China abolished the age limit for gaokao in 2001, and the then-72-year-old Wang decided to once again try his luck in the tough exam.
After failing the exam in 2002, his spirit of perseverance and determination to obtain a college degree drew attention from Chinese media. That year, Nanjing Medical University offered him a chance to spend five years studying at the university, but as he didn’t enroll in the school in the first place, he couldn’t get a diploma.
He told reporters that he has been working as a pharmacist for almost 40 years, but so badly desires a real diploma to prove his medical skills.
With the help of a police officer, a volunteer and a crutch, Wang walks out of the exam room and heads home
“I have prepared very well for the 2015 gaokao,” Wang said with confidence about his 15th exam.
Last December, a 73-year-old man reportedly sat the postgraduate entrance exam in Haining, Zhejiang province—over 40 years since he’d first entered university.
By Lucy Liu
[Images via China News // Sohu]