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This examination, passed when correctly answering five of ten questions, was so easy in contrast to the other ones that it was said that "with 30 sui of age, a classicist candidate is old, but a candidate for the examination of Presened Scholars is young". The examiner brought up on theme dealt with in the Classics, and the exminee had to quote literally from the original text, yet without commenting on or explaning it.Because this type of examination was usually an oral one, it was also called kouyi 口義.The examination was therefore called "Department examination" (shengshi 省試).
There were two types of examinations, namely regular ones (changke 常科) and irregular ones (zhike 制科).
The latter were held on extraordinary occasions proclaimed by the emperor, and aimed at selecting "outstanding talents" (fei chang zhi cai 非常之才).
The examination system was the regular path (zhengtu 正途) into officialdom, in contrast to irregular ways (yitu 異途) like the purchase of a student status.
The first standardized method for the selection of candidates was introduced during the Wei period 曹魏 (220-265).
The participation was also allowed to persons already working in an office.
The regular examinations were held for the Cultivated Talents, Classicists, Presented Scholars, experts in law (mingfa 明法), in writing (mingshu 明書), or in arithmetics (mingsuan 明算). 712-755) added to these an examination in Daoism (daoju 道舉) and "apprentice" examinations (tongzi ju 童子舉) for young students.
Similarly, all important families within the empire were ranked according to "moral" criteria into one of nine ranks.
Sons of these were thus eligible for an official post with the same rank.
examination modes), were the germs of the infamous examination system that was only abolished in 1905.
Promotion of "experts" (keju 科舉) and examination (kaoshi 考試) were unfied in one system (keju kaoshi 科舉考試).