A trip down memory lane: Four decades of college dreams
China Daily

This year marks the 40th anniversary of China's reform and opening-up policy. One of the most important events accompanying the start of the policy was the restoration of the national college entrance exam, also known as gaokao. As this year’s exam is around the corner, let’s take a look at pictures that captured decisive moments for generations over the past four decades.

Beijing students take the restored gaokao in 1977.[Photo/Xinhua]

A photo of the personal effects of Zheng Chunfu, who was 25 and decided to take a shot at the restored gaokao in 1977. He had no reference but a few high school textbooks for preparation. He also had to work a regular job during the day. [Photo/VCG]

A group of students who took the restored gaokao in 1977 are welcomed as freshmen at Peking University in Beijing in 1978. [Photo/Xinhua]

Freshmen attend a lecture at Tsinghua University in the spring of 1978. [Photo/Xinhua]

A collector shows an exam permit of the 1988 gaokao in Zhengzhou. [Photo/VCG]

Photos of gaokao permits issued in the 1980s collected by Zhan Hongge of Shenyang, Liaoning province. He has collected more than 200 gaokao test permits, including some issued during the period of the Republic of China (1912-1949). [Photo/VCG]

A student sits in an exam site waiting for her paper to be collected during the 2000 gaokao in Beijing. [Photo/China News Service]

A candidate in Hangzhou is tested for body temperature before entering into the exam site during the SARS outbreak in 2003. [Photo/VCG]

A Chinese national flag and a flag embossed with the Beijing Olympics emblem are seen in a classroom of high school seniors in 2008. [Photo/VCG]

A student whose legs were broken in the Wenchuan earthquake is taken to Mianyang to attend the gaokao in Southwest China’s Sichuan province on June 30, 2008. [Photo/VCG]

A student prepares for the gaokao in a makeshift dorm at a factory building in An county, Mianyang city, Southwest China’s Sichuan province, after the Wenchuan earthquake on June 26, 2008. [Photo/VCG]

Two students study at the last minute to prepare for the 2008 exam in Beijing. [Photo/IC]

Family members of candidates for the national college entrance exam wait outside the exam site at the Lhasa Middle School in Lhasa, capital of southwest China's Tibet autonomous region, on June 7, 2013. [Photo/Xinhua]

Seniors have mixed feeling during their last high school class in Jinan, East China’s Shandong province, on June 4, 2018. [Photo/VCG]