15:51 GMT +317 August 2019
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    A figure depicting Mario, a character in Nintendo's Mario Bros. video games, is displayed at the company showroom in Tokyo, Japan July 14, 2016.

    From Downward Dog to Mario: Chinese Schools Use Yoga, Cosplay to Relax Students

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    As all of China braces for the upcoming annual college entrance examinations, or gaokao, students about to sit one of the most important tests of their life are struggling to stay calm.

    Businesses near schools and residential communities have been ordered to keep noise to a minimum during the week before the gaokao, and construction sites will halt operation on the days of the tests.

    As the gaokao still plays a dominant role in deciding what college a student can go to, most students face tremendous pressure to do well.

    After students have spent years working hard and taking round after round of practice tests, in the days immediately before the exams their teachers and parents want them to relax as much as possible. Various events are held in schools to encourage the students and to try to help them de-stress.

    In Nanning, South China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, teachers in the city's No.4 Middle School put on a cosplay show for their students. They got dressed up like Captain America or Mario to dance and encourage their students, hoping to help them feel confident going into the exam.

    The school also provides psychological counseling to students to help them manage pressure.

    At the Railway Middle School in Chongqing, more than 1,000 students practiced yoga together on the playground. They followed five yoga instructors to stretch out their body and mind. Students are advised by the school to take gentle exercise like jogging, swimming and yoga every day in the run up to the gaokao.

    The school also provides all its students with a recommended diet plan, suggesting they eat healthily and consume plenty of protein and vegetables, while asking them to listen to peaceful music featuring traditional Chinese instruments to maintain a calm mind.

    In 2016, 9.4 million students participated in the gaokao, but this year the figure is expected to be a little smaller.

    This article was first published in the Global Times. 


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