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Overseas students put China to the test

Aug 07, 2014 By LUO WANGSHU
BEIJING, July 26 -- With Chinese students flocking to schools overseas, students from other countries are, in turn, spending their summer vacations in China to prepare for college entrance tests.

Lower costs and a break from their daily routines are among factors attracting them, as well as the academic atmosphere of classes that focus on improving college entrance exam results.

According to New Oriental School, China's largest private education institution that prepares students for foreign college entrance exams such as the GRE and SAT, 90 percent of students in June who took SAT courses in Beijing were from overseas.

"The majority were from US high schools and are preparing to enter college," said Cai Rui, the North America project manager at New Oriental Education Group, of which the school is a part.

She said most of these students were born and raised in China and went to the United States for middle school or high school to increase their chances of entering a US university.

"They use English as their conversational language during breaks, but still require more English instruction during training," she said, adding that Chinese is the main language of instruction.

Selina Du, born in the US of Chinese ancestry, started her SAT preparation courses at New Oriental on July 10.

The 16-year-old moved to China five years ago and attended an international school in Beijing.

Although her school has a comprehensive SAT preparation course, Du believed that New Oriental might help her achieve a higher score.

"At my school, they only made me memorize things but never told me how to choose the right answer. But New Oriental analyzes questions and teaches me how to improve my score," she said, adding that her goal is to enter New York University or the University of Chicago.

New Oriental says about 5,000 students took SAT courses on the Beijing campus during their summer vacations last year. About 2,000 of them were students from overseas.

Wang Huiyao, president of the Center for China and Globalization, a Beijing think tank, said he had noticed that more students of Chinese origin or ancestry were coming to China to take courses to increase their chances of going to universities in the country they live in.

These tests are designed by overseas education committees to examine their ability to enter foreign universities, and Chinese training schools are mastering the art of improving scores, he said.

The sector has been booming in China since the 1990s, when restrictions were eased on students going abroad to study.

New Oriental School, established in 1993, is one of many training schools helping students to study abroad and is the largest of its type in China.

In many countries, test preparations tend to be individual affairs with a tutor and student, but in China the atmosphere of the class and student interaction can be a benefit.

"In Chinese prep classes, students focus on the same goal of getting better grades and they study together," Wang said, adding that the cost in China is lower.

[From People's Daily]
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