Competitive examination

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A competitive examination is an examination where candidates are ranked according to their grades. If the examination is open for n positions, then the first n candidates in ranks pass, the others are rejected.

They are used as entrance examination for university and college admissions or to secondary schools. Another type are civil service examinations, required for positions in the public sector. Other examples are the U.S. Foreign Service Exam and the United Nations Competitive Examination.

China is one of the most known country with an entrance competitive examination in order to enter in the secondary school named gaokao. On 11,000,000 candidates, there was a failing rate of 25% in 2012.

France is the country that surely uses the most competitive examination. Some education professionals tend to say that the "Concours Général" (not mandatory, not as the Baccalauréat) in the last year of High School (Lycée) is the most difficult to pretend worldwide with only 250 places with all subjects for 15,000 applicants[1] (there's so a failing rate of 98,3%). There are also an entrance competitive examination in order to insert medicine studies (1 preperation year, 10 mandatory years after competitive exam, failing rate of 85%), "grandes écoles" of engineering (2 preparation years, 4 mandatory years after competitive exam, failing rate of approx. 50%), and of course "grandes écoles" of business (2 preparation years, 3 mandatory years after competitive exam, failing rate of approx. 25%). In France, the fact of having succeeded in one competitive exam is highly recognized by the society, and shows you are part of the national elite.

Competitive examinations are considered an egalitarian way of choosing worthy applicants without risking influence peddling, favoritism or other concerns.

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