Chinese universities require entrance exams for international students

By Binh Minh   May 6, 2024 | 07:23 pm PT
Chinese universities require entrance exams for international students
Graduating students wearing face masks attend a commencement ceremony at Chongqing University of Posts and Telecommunications in Chongqing, China, June 2022. Photo by Reuters
Several Chinese universities are requiring international students to undergo proficiency exams organized by the education ministry in May, instead of simply admitting students through applications alone.

Certain universities, including the China University of Petroleum and the University of International Business and Economics, announced the news recently.

Vietnamese centers for studying abroad in China also confirmed that they had received similar announcements from their partners.

Nguyen Quoc Tu, chairman of the management board of QTEDU, a counseling agency on studying abroad in China, on April 7 said the examinations would be held in May and June, and international students wanting to enter 142 different Chinese universities for their undergraduate studies may apply for it. Most schools require candidates to sign up before May 8.

Nguyen Duy Viet, director of the Hoa Ngu study abroad company in Hanoi, said this is the first time that China has held a national entrance examination for international students.

In the past, only certain schools at the top, such as Tsinghua University, held examinations to filter down the list of applicants.

Students who have gained admission before May will not have to undergo this examination, Viet added.

Both Tu and Viet said the exams would include specialized Chinese subjects (Social Sciences, Economics-Commerce, Science-Technology and Medicine), as well as fundamental subjects (Math, Physics and Chemistry). However, different schools may have different exams.

The exams would be held both online and offline. International students outside of China may take online tests remotely, either on May 25-May 26 or June 1-June 2.


First wave (May 25-26) Second wave (June 1-2)


3 p.m.-5 p.m. (Hanoi time) 7:30 a.m.-9:30 a.m.


6 p.m.-7:30 p.m. 7:30 a.m.-9 a.m.


3 p.m.-4:30 p.m. 10 a.m.-11:30 a.m.

International students in China may take the exams in person, either on June 15-16 or June 22-23.


First wave (June 15-June 16) Second wave (June 22-June 23)


8 a.m.-10 a.m. 8 a.m.-10 a.m.


1 p.m.-2:30 p.m. 1 p.m.-2:30 p.m.


8 a.m.-9:30 a.m. 8 a.m.-9:30 a.m.

Experts said the examination is to improve the quality of international university entrants.

Tu said in the past, scholarship considerations mostly depended on one's GPA, one's HSK Chinese-language proficiency test scores, study plans, extracurricular activities, and interviews.

However, such criteria only showcased one's academic capabilities and Chinese proficiency, not their specialized expertise, according to Tu.

"The exams' results would help schools know whether candidates are a good fit for the specific programs," he said.

Both Viet and Tu said Vietnamese students may have difficulties with Chinese reading comprehension, and might be unfamiliar with how the tests are designed. For preparation, candidates should collect past exam samples and try to complete them by themselves.

China currently has around 2,700 universities. Some 140 of the schools have special investment policies from the government. Among the top 400 schools in the world, China has over 30.

In the last three years, China has not announced the number of international students in the country. However, the Chinese Embassy in Vietnam said there were over 22,000 Vietnamese students studying in China in September 2022.

Every year, the Chinese government grants 80 scholarship slots for Vietnamese students, amounting to around ¥2,500-3,500 ($346.54-485.15) in value. International students can also apply for other kinds of scholarships, either from local governments or from universities themselves.

go to top