Man takes university entrance exam for 26th year in a row after refusing to give up on dream

Liang Shi is hoping to score top marks to give him a place at Sichuan University, after missing out since 1983

Liang Shi is studying to take the gaokao exam for the 26th time in China Credit: Weibo

A 55-year-old Chinese man has taken a gruelling university entrance exam 26 years in a row after refusing to give up on his dream of attending a top school. 

Liang Shi is hoping to score top marks to give him a place at Sichuan University, after missing out since 1983, when he first took the exam. 

“My grades were low at the time, but my desire to attend college was strong, and that is why I haven’t given up after all these years,” Liang said, speaking to China News, a state-run wire service.

His highest score over the decades was more than 400 out of 750, enough to clinch a spot in a second-tier university, but it was not enough for Mr Shi. 

“I will continue to take the gaokao until it becomes obvious that my dream cannot be realised,” he said. 

He has been nicknamed “gaokao Dingzihu”, meaning “nail household” - a dig at people who do not leave their homes and ignore the world around them.

He has missed out since 1983 Credit: Weibo

Some observers have made comments that his age could hold him back.

After learning his most recent score in June last year, people questioned whether his “failing memory” let him down and prevented him from memorising the required textbooks like the younger students. 

After failing to complete the science portion of the exam, Mr Shi transferred to study art and human sciences this year.

“I just turned 55, and I’m still young,” he said. “And I am having no trouble learning history and geography so far.”

He has also hit back at people who say he is using the saga to advertise his business, a building company in Chengdu, the capital of southwestern China’s Sichuan province.

“I simply take people’s scepticism as motivation and use my test results to prove them wrong.”

Another man who has sat the exam repeatedly is only halfway to Mr Shi’s run, having sat the exam 13 times to gain entrance into the prestigious Tsinghua University in Beijing.

People on social media have shared how inspired they are by Mr Shi’s perseverance. 

“Although I am not as old as he is, he did what I always wanted to do but did not dare,” said one.

Another added: “I hope he gets into his dream school this year, or else I’ll have to read the same news next year.”