Then came the unforeseen obstacles.
Hubei, the Chinese province where the outbreak began, experienced its worst floods in decades this week, forcing officials to briefly postpone the gaokao for around 500 students. One student in Wuhan, the provincial capital, described the dual threat of the exam and floods to a local reporter as “kind of a test of mental strength.”
And in the southwestern city of Kunming, a 4.2-magnitude earthquake that struck on Wednesday morning forced about 100 students to flee their exam rooms, according to Global Times, a state-run tabloid. They returned a few minutes later.
Reporting was contributed by Yuriria Avila, Brooks Barnes, Alan Blinder, Gillian R. Brassil, Dan Bilefsky, Julia Calderone, Michael Cooper, Kimiko de Freytas-Tamura, Hailey Fuchs, Shane Goldmacher, J. David Goodman, Kevin Granville, Kimon de Greef, Maggie Haberman, Mohammed Hadi, Barbara Harvey, Shawn Hubler, Makiko Inoue, Mike Ives, Annie Karni, Emily Kassie, Gina Kolata, Anatoly Kurmanaev, Isabella Kwai, Jasmine C. Lee, Michael Levenson, Cao Li, Peter Luhanga, Apoorva Mandavilli, Giulia McDonnell Nieto del Rio, Barbara Marcolini, Alex Leeds Matthews, Sarah Mervosh, David Montgomery, Morris Moreno, Benjamin Mueller, Judith Newman, Richard C. Paddock, Elian Peltier, Elisabetta Povoledo, Adam Rasgon, Stanley Reed, Motoko Rich, Mitch Smith, Farah Stockman, Jim Tankersley, Maria Silvia Trigo and Elaine Yu.