Soon just after going to Maotanchang, Xu decided you to definitely his teachers just weren’t horrible adequate

Brand new school’s fixation into the increasing the gaokao success rate – their most significant feature – means coaches work really intensively to help you elevator marginal pupils past the minimum results required for 2nd- otherwise 3rd-level universities. “Its attract is to get everybody else over the range,” Xu claims. “However if you have got good-enough score to successfully pass, they end focusing.” During 1st 24 months, Xu felt like he previously to develop their own fanatical feeling of self-control. The guy filled the spare time having data, testing himself between classes, towards the bathroom, regarding the cafeteria. Late at night, pursuing the lighting went from the , he sometimes made use of an electric battery-pushed light to save heading.

Because of the his 3rd 12 months in the Maotanchang, when his mommy came to live with him in a leased area around, Xu’s shot results began rising to reach the top away from his degrees – earliest certainly many. Xu’s head teacher pulled your out at the beginning of brand new springtime regarding 2013 to tell him that he got a way to feel the initial Maotanchang pupil actually getting accepted to Beijing’s prestigious Tsinghua College or university, referred to as M. away from Asia. Over the years, Maotanchang features made a reputation since an assembly-line to own next-tier colleges.


Up until the gaokao, Xu holed right up into the a lodge nearby the exam website into the Lu’an city and you will don’t appear having 2 days. “My mothers think I found myself good maniac,” he told me. “It decided not to appreciate this I refused to get smaller off my personal place. But memorizing so it matter is like knowledge into Olympics. You have got to keep pace the brand new momentum. Forget a couple of days, and you will hop out setting.” The excess force have helped: Xu obtained 643 of a potential (but never reached) 750 to your gaokao. Tsinghua’s lowest get for students off Anhui province taking the science exam is 641. The guy made it simply by several issues.

Today, this new professor informed your, college administrators was in fact very keen to possess a student acknowledge to among China’s finest universities that they was indeed providing extreme reward: almost $fifty,one hundred thousand to be split up equally certainly one of Xu’s family members, their middle school and you can – obviously – his coaches at the Maotanchang

Xu’s collarspace completion is really so notorious when you look at the Maotanchang one Yang refers to your while the “a good cult contour.” The tiny space one Xu and his awesome mother leased out last season is actually said because “ zhuangyuan space,” a mention of the better scorer on old imperial exam. Maotanchang administrators put Xu returning to university during the past school year supply a motivational address to 3 hundred specially chose pupils – the major scorers away from for each and every group. Just as the Chinese public is exhorted so you can “analysis Lei Feng” – an effective selfless model soldier just who provided their lifetime towards motherland – Maotanchang students are now actually motivated to “research Xu Peng.”

When i found Xu to your Tsinghua’s grassy university history springtime, around the prevent out-of his first 12 months, the guy nonetheless appeared out of place: an earlier villager inside the an effective threadbare blazer, arm pressed right up his hands. Many of the college students around us all were members of China’s urban elite, rich and you can economic teenagers armed with iPhones, frequent-flier cards and you can an effective nuanced understanding of “Harry Potter” and you can “The big Bang Theory.”

Xu seemed gaunt. He presented myself his pupil-ID photo, pulled the prior slide, when his deal with was round and you will fleshy. “You will find forgotten eight kilos” – 15 lbs – “while the I can not get used to your meal,” he told you. The fresh independence off school existence got changes, as well. “There are no regulations here,” he said. “I became thus perplexed throughout very first session, because no one explained how to proceed.” Xu, an engineering significant, try teaching themselves to take pleasure in new things: hanging out with friends, performing volunteer works, using week-end days regarding playground. “I am nonetheless learning difficult,” said Xu, who would like to follow graduate studies in the us. “However I’m able to fundamentally inhale.”