Beijing’s smog is so thick that even China’s almighty Gaokao, Chinese students’ annual 3-day drill, cannot ignore it. China’s college entrance exam, what commonly referred to as Gaokao, is known for being difficult. Its math and science exams in particular. Gaokao has also been accused of testing on knowledge that is useless or has no application outside of the exam room. This year, however, the examiners in Beijing decided to go practical (Beijing has its own Gaokao exam questions).
Below is an actual question from this year’s Beijing Gaokao mathematics exam that is worth 13 points.
Q: The chart below is an air quality index of a city from March 1 to 14. Air quality is good if the number is smaller than 100. Air is heavily polluted if the number is larger than 200. Someone randomly picks a day from March 1 to 14 to travel to Beijing and will stay for 2 days.
I) What is the probability of this guy arriving in Beijing on a day with good air quality?
II) What is the probability of this guy having only one day of heavily-polluted air during his 2-day stay?
III) Judging from the chart, which 3 days have the biggest air quality variance? (No need to prove)
In reality, residents in Beijing only saw blue sky for 4 days out of the 31 days in January. March was much better, but an air quality reading of 100 is nowhere close to good.
Interestingly though, Chinese netizens’ reaction to the question seemed to focus on how simple it was. Most shouted in envy: “Beijing students are so lucky!” Many called such easy questions as Beijing’s “protectionism.” One netizen 在水一方2_77009 commented: “They [Beijing students] already have the advantage of being able to go to China’s best universities with lower scores. Now they are tested on such easy questions in Gaokao. So unfair to students else where!”