"I finally understood that my parents were heroically upholding the values of the society they grew up in. For me, this book is not just an investigation into the Chinese education system: it is personal."
"Gaokao" (pronounced "gow cow") otherwise known as the National College Entrance Examination, is the modern Chinese version of an examination system that has flourished since the days of Imperial China, when the only way to social advancement in the civil service system depended on the results of rigorous national examinations.
Today, the meaning of "gaokao" has extended to describe the feverish excitement and trepidation engulfing Asian and non-Asian students and parents alike as they prepare for a potentially life-changing examination. Readers in the United States will see the resemblance to our own gaokaos, whether it be AP, SAT, GRE, Med School, Law School, etc., where success in the test is seen as the key to success in life.
Growing up in both Chinese and American cultures, Yanna Gong brings a unique perspective to her experience of educational values in both countries. Instances from her own life show how the often-relentless drive toward academic excellence is an unquestioned imperative for many Asian and Asian-American kids, as well as entire families, whose collective devotion (and neurosis) is fast becoming a global phenomenon. What, however, is the cost, both physically and psychologically? Is there a darker side to producing super students? Anyone who has admired or been appalled by the Tiger Mom or Wolf Dad will find Gaokao a must-read book.
Yanna Gong is a high school senior in Eden Prairie, Minnesota. This is her first book. Yanna is available for interviews- this amazing young woman did the research and writing of this book when she was 15 and 16 years old.