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“Taken the Examination More than Twenty Times”: The Chinese Examination System

Discussion of primary sources for teaching the Chinese examination system.

Bram Hubbell
Bram Hubbell
2 min read
“Taken the Examination More than Twenty Times”: The Chinese Examination System
Painting from the Ming Dynasty of the examination system at Kaifeng during the Song Dynasty. Source: Wikimedia Commons.
From page 38 of the AP World History Course and Exam Description
From page 38 of the AP World History Course and Exam Description

The examination system is one of the most unique features of the Chinese dynasties. We often highlight how the Chinese introduced a systematic and meritocratic system for staffing the government bureaucracy. Although the tests were standardized, it didn’t mean that everything ran smoothly. During the late Tang Dynasty, a collection of stories about the examinations was published. Many of these stories highlight the more humorous side of the examinations.


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