China's National Judicial exam tests students over their choice of saving one's mother or girlfriend during a fire. Getty Images

The annual National Judicial Exam in China has stirred controversy after a question appearing in the exam encouraged participants to save their mother over their girlfriend in the event of a fire. Several hundred trainee lawyers and judges were tested with the difficult choice on the compulsory annual test.

The question appeared under a section "crimes of omission", where students were given test scenarios and graded on their answers.

Some scenarios appearing on the test included a husband not wishing to rescue his wife during a divorce proceeding and permitting friends to drink coffee laced with poison.

"If a person is capable of saving his mother but saves his girlfriend instead, is he committing a crime of non-action?" read the question, reported The Global Times.

Following the exam, it was revealed that the question where a man chose to save his girlfriend over his mother was an act that amounted to a criminal offence as children are obligated to save their parents over other relatives, confirmed China's Ministry of Justice.

The National Judicial Exam is a compulsory test to determine if the examinees are qualified to practice law in China.

Social media users varied in their own choice of the correct answer for the question.