Keju(Imperial Examination System) is a kind of examination system in ancient times, through which officials were examined and selected. It was first adopted in the Sui Dynasty (581-618) and lasted through the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911). Intellectuals who wanted to be an official must take multi-tier examinations.
Formal imperial examinations consisted of three levels: provincial, metropolitan and final imperial examination.
The provincial examination was held triennially at the provincial city. Those admitted were calledJuren(elevated men). The first place is calledJieyuan, the second,Yayuan.
The metropolitan examination was held in the following spring after the provincial examination at the Ministry of Rites in the capital. Those admitted were calledGongshiand the first place,Huiyuan.
The final imperial examination was under direct supervision of the emperor of the dynasty. OnlyGongshiwere qualified to take the exam. The matriculation had three levels of excellence. The first level was granted to three candidates, conferredJinshi. The first three names set apart. The candidate ranking first was calledZhuangyuan(primus), the second,Bangyan, the third,Tanhua.
The second level was conferred theJinshistatus, the first place calledChuanlu. The third level was conferred theJinshistatus alike.