Chapter 8 Dismayed
Although Fang Ping had gone to a cybercafe to look up information the day before yesterday, he only had a limited amount of time. Mainly, it was because he had limited money to pay, of course.
He did not get the opportunity to look into certain things in-depth, like things related to the martial sciences exam. Frankly speaking, the information he obtained from the Internet was not very clear either.
Without smartphones or computers at home, Fang Ping realized how difficult it was to read up on anything without visiting cybercafes.
He could not bring up certain questions to people as well. After all, some questions might appear to be common sense in other people’s eyes.
‘Seems like it’s time to invest in a computer,’ Fang Ping thought, conveniently forgetting the fact that getting a computer meant spending more money.
However, not all was lost. Fang Ping might not understand everything clearly, but a student primed to take up the martial sciences exam like Yang Jian would surely know.
Once Yang Jian finished his sentence, Fang Ping casually threw the question at him, “If I remember correctly, the martial sciences exam wasn’t exactly difficult last year, was it? If it’s you, I’m sure you can pass four stages. Unless the policy changed again this year?”
Fang Ping made his statement ambiguous on purpose. It was normal for the Gaokao policy to be slightly different every year anyway, and Fang Ping did not worry that Yang Jian would overthink as well.
At the same time, Fang Ping slipped in some flattery with the hopes of getting more information from him.
True enough, Yang Jian did not think too much about Fang Ping’s stupidity. The grin on his face widened.
Fang Ping rarely discussed martial sciences-related topics with him, therefore Yang Jian was more than glad to talk about the topic.
Unlike Chen Fan, who appeared to be completely disinterested in martial sciences, if Yang Jian mentioned anything before Fang Ping’s arrival, his effort would have been wasted.
Seeing that Fang Ping’s interest was aroused, the sides of Yang Jian’s mouth stretched into a wide grin that reached from ear to ear. He said, “You’ve overestimated me. Also, has there ever been a year where the martial sciences exam was easier?
“However, it’s true that the exam policy this year has been altered. But I’m not very sure about the details, too. I’m sure Senior Wang will give us an overview when he’s here.
“However, I’ve looked into it for the past few days and asked the teachers too. Compared to last year, there’s something different about this year’s exam.”
Fang Ping noticed Yang Jian had stopped talking at this point, he realized the future bearded buffoon was attempting to hook him in with suspense but Fang Ping stopped asking anyway.
At such a young age, one did not need to do much to keep Yang Jian talking. Even if Fang Ping refused to ask, Yang Jian would not be able to keep himself from talking about it once they started on the topic.
As Fang Ping expected, once Yang Jian noticed that Fang Ping did not intend to continue the topic, Yang Jian appeared dissatisfied. However, he continued anyway, “Let’s talk about the first stage — political background check.”
Fang Ping’s eyebrows twitched. Yang Jian continued, “In the past, one’s direct relatives had to be unaffiliated with crimes for three generations.
“This year, they’ve loosened up the conditions, limiting it to only checking one’s parents, siblings, and relatives of the sort for two generations.
“However, it hasn’t got much to do with us, unless our grandfathers have some criminal records.”
The first stage in the martial sciences exam — a political background check.
It was understandable because martial artists were not normal people. Their destructive powers were far greater than the common folk.
The government allocated the most funds into martial science university courses annually.
No one would want to spend a large number of resources on educating the next generation of martial artists, only to have them turn into criminals. Although it was not set in stone that if the parents were criminals, the children would be too.
However, if conditions were set for candidates’ selection, it was naturally better to be stricter. One could not do anything even if one was dissatisfied with the results.
“Even though they’ve loosened the conditions for political background checks, this doesn’t give us an advantage. After all, it allows more people to sign up.
“However, the changes in the exam’s second stage benefit us.”
Yang Jian said gleefully, “The second stage — martial sciences physical assessment.
“It isn’t the changes in criteria for the physical assessment that we should be focusing on; it’s the age.
“Previously, the upper limit for age was 22 years old. This year, however, the upper limit has been changed to 20 years old. Let’s see how those bastards who keep failing try again after getting retained for another year! This will drive them mad!”
To be a martial artist, age and advantage were not inversely proportional. At a young age, the bones were not completely developed yet, and neither was their emotional maturity.
If one started martial training at a young age, it was easier to get themselves hurt instead. Moreover, it could easily lead to minors doing socially unacceptable things with their superpowers.
This was mainly why the government established martial sciences universities!
After studying educational ideology for years, the students were expected to have higher emotional maturity when they entered university. Besides, if they started martial training at the age where their bodies were fully grown, they would be able to yield twice the result with half the effort. There would not be too many problematic martial artists later on too.
Previously, students who could not pass their martial sciences exam could choose to be retained in the same grade and retake the exam. It was a normal thing to do.
They possessed more experience than the newbies as they knew where their weaknesses were and could make amendments according to what actually happened.
Among the martial sciences candidates each year, repeaters consisted of half the number.
With the previous limit of 22 years old, some candidates might have repeatedly taken the exam for years.
With the sudden limit drop to 20 years old this year, it might have killed off the hopes and dream of many repeaters’ s abruptly.
After all, it was normal to have 18 to 20-year-olds studying in Year 3 Senior classes. Some of them might have exceeded the age limit after retaking the grade for one year.
Fang Ping, however, was not worried about that. He was only 18 years old; he could afford to retake the grade for two years.
After thinking about it for a while, Fang Ping asked, “What about the repeaters? Are they not responding to this?”
Yang Jian replied gleefully, “How’s that possible? I heard that it was a mess the day before yesterday. But what good is that?
“They should be taking responsibility for failing in the first place. At the ripe old age of 20, they’d just hold everyone back.
“There’s no use protesting either. After all, there are more fresh candidates than repeaters taking the martial sciences exam. If it’s in their power, everyone would choose to ban the repeaters from retaking the exam. There are no such restrictions on taking social sciences exam, however. So everyone can sit for the social sciences exam.”
Fang Ping understood what Yang Jian meant and changed the topic by asking, “Is the physical assessment in the martial sciences exam very different from the physical assessment in the social sciences exam?”
Yang Jian looked slightly baffled. He could not help throwing a glance at Fang Ping.
Chen Fan, who remained silent throughout the entire conversation, appeared to be momentarily speechless before saying, “Are you mad? Of course they’re vastly different! Fang Ping, have you gotten your head up in the clouds again?
“I’ve heard about matters related to the physical assessment in the martial sciences exam.
“What do you think you’re paying for with that ten thousand bucks registration fee?
“The physical assessment in the martial sciences exam consists of many detailed tests including checking for injuries or abnormalities in your skeletal structure.
“Those with poor vision, skeletal injuries, or huge scars on the external body won’t be accepted.
“Also, the most important assessment will be on Vitality. Without a sufficient level of Vitality, one’s body is weak, rendering every other form of advantage useless. Some have a naturally weak constitution that can’t be improved by taking supplements. These people will never be a martial artist.
“Those who grow up in a poor family background without good food normally will have low levels of Vitality. This is the reason why big cities have far greater intakes than small cities like ours.
“Meanwhile, the intake rate of small cities is higher than in farm towns and villages.
“Poor areas have fewer martial artists. After all, you might not differ from the rest. But there’s a standard to be met in the martial sciences exam each year. Thus, they are selective even among the selected, ensuring that only the best of the best are accepted into the course.”
Fang Ping nodded. He reflected on himself and thought that he should not be facing too much of a problem. His Vitality increased in value after all; he should be stronger than most.
If he was still the previous Fang Ping, it might actually turn out infeasible. Everyone was similarly average; no one had anything special to offer.
However, it was hard to judge if having a value of 1.1 in his level of Vitality was enough for him to pass. He should increase his Vitality a bit more before the exam, just in case.
Other than that, there was something that piqued Fang Ping’s curiosity. Based on Chen Fan’s tone, it sounded like there was a subject for professional Vitality assessment.
In Fang Ping’s memories, however, the concept of a person’s level of vitality originated from the study of traditional Chinese medicine. Without professional inspection using proper machines, one could only find out the result after consulting a traditional Chinese medicine practitioner.
For a large scale assessment like the Gaokao, it seemed unlikely that the inspection would be carried out by traditional Chinese medicine practitioners. It would most likely be carried out through a set of procedures using professional medical equipment.
In Fang Ping’s brief moment of contemplation, Yang Jian spoke again, “Other than these two, there aren’t a lot of other changes.
“After the political background check and physical assessment stages, a number of candidates will have been eliminated. The rest of the candidates will continue on to the third stage of the exam, practical test.
“Then, it’s time to worry about the other two hurdles — cultural studies and general studies…”
Fang Ping remembered encountering cultural studies in the cyber cafe then but he did not look into it. Now that the topic resurfaced, he could not help asking, “What’s up with cultural studies? You’re not confident in passing this?”
Based on Fang Ping’s understanding, cultural studies in this world varied slightly from the world he came from. Once he managed to fulfill other requirements, cultural studies should be a piece of cake. As long as one paid slightly more attention to it, ninety percent of Year 1 students from the First High Schools should not have a problem with it.
Unexpectedly, Yang Jian laughed bitterly the moment Fang Ping’s words escaped his mouth. “Fang Ping, it might be easy for you. But not me.”
“Last year, the lowest passing grade in the martial sciences exam was higher than the social sciences exam by 10 marks. With my current academic results, I might not even make it over the passing grade.”
“Martial artists must be mighty in both the pen and the sword. They’re not simple-minded buffoons. Therefore, it’s normal for the passing grade in the martial sciences exam to be higher than the social sciences exam. If all the martial artists are buffoons, how could they ever qualify to become capable administrators?” Chen Fan responded in a calm and nonchalant manner.
Mighty in both the pen and the sword — This was the true meaning of being a martial artist!
Martial artists were regarded as the elites of society. How could simple-minded buffoons rule over a country and manage enterprises well?
Fairy tales were all lies!
In movies, any illiterate could have picked up a secret manual and become a powerhouse overnight. Such nonsense!
A simple buffoon might achieve something in the martial sciences, yet they would never reach the top.
If one handed over a secret manual to an illiterate, what would the point of learning martial sciences be if one could not even recognize the words?
If one could recognize words but not comprehend the meaning, then what was the point of learning martial sciences?
It was highly probable to not understand any of the cultivation methods. Several cultivation methods were as complex as the Voynich manuscript — even the university students from his previous life could not have deciphered them.
Thus, it was necessary for martial artists to study these miscellaneous branches of knowledge such as medicine and ergonomics, including understanding a map of the human skeletal system and human blood arteries and veins. They were required to know everything by heart.
The discussion was only limited for Year 3 Senior students here. At the university level, those who took up martial sciences would have more subjects than those who chose social sciences, like mineralogy, nutrition…
The “general studies” that Yang Jian mentioned previously were meant to assess knowledge in this sense.
While revising for cultural studies and taking care of one’s physical health at the same time, one had to read up on knowledge as such. Therefore, it would not be far from the truth if one compared all the students who managed to enroll in the martial sciences to true geniuses; no exceptions.
A higher passing grade for cultural studies in the martial sciences exam than the social sciences exam, a strong and ideal body, and a need to look up general knowledge useful to the profession beyond everything covered by cultural studies…
After hearing about the Five Stages, Fang Ping felt dismayed.
For the first three stages of the exam, with a somewhat unreliable system in place, Fang Ping thought it should not be too great a problem for Fang Ping. He also had ways to overcome the obstacles in the stages.
But who was he kidding? This was the martial sciences exam after all!
Was it not just a physical performance assessment? Now he had to be assessed on cultural studies, and attempt to reach a higher passing grade?
Regardless, Fang Ping read through the textbooks and realized that they did not differ much from his past life except the addition of martial sciences elements in the history textbook.
However, what was up with general studies?
Fang Ping had never studied nor attempted to read up on extra knowledge.
Now that Gaokao was around the corner, could he really manage to cover everything?
MMP 1 !
With a stomach full of grievances, would it not be easier for him to transform into a salted fish?