by Xinhua writers Zhou Yan and Ren Liying
BEIJING, June 5 (Xinhua) -- Chen Siyu was strolling out of the school eatery one spring afternoon in 2011 when she saw an unusual motto on the side of a classroom building. It read, "Run. Don't walk."
She ran all the way to the classroom and concentrated on her studies.
That summer, Chen was admitted to Beihang University, one of the best polytechnic universities in china.
The motto that inspired her is one of many similar mantras espoused at Hengshui High School, a school that is as notorious for its exacting approach to exam cramming as it is for its students excelling.
Last year, 104 of its graduates were admitted to Beijing and Tsinghua universities, the country's top two. In the past two decades, at least 80 percent of Hengshui High School graduates have secured seats at noted universities in the big cities.
In a few weeks, they will be joined by the cream of this year's crop.
More than 4,000 Hengshui High Schoolers will sit the national college admission test, or "gaokao," scheduled for Saturday and Sunday, and they will no doubt rise to near the top of the 9.39 million candidates competing for places at nationwide universities.
The success, however, has not come without controversy. The school is criticized for its rigid rules and heavy workload for teenagers. Amid concern that China's education system focuses too much on exams, Hengshui High School is seen as the worst "gaokao sweatshop."