In this talk, which explores the relationship between Taiwanese academically elite students’ culture and their schooling experience. The main purpose of this study is to reveal the core logic of the exam-oriented educational system’s operation in contemporary Taiwan. In so doing, I first demonstrate that the thriving extracurricular club activities in publicly funded elite high schools are part of a wider subcultural milieu and are characterized by the collective pursuit of “dual excellence in both study and play,” which has been shaped by educational policy changes implemented since the late 1980s. Some particular subcultures—earlier associated with problematic, low-achieving youth groups—were gradually legitimized among academically elite youth during this transformation process. Exam success is no longer sufficient for high-school students to secure distinction within their peer group: Excellence in leisure activities is also pursued in this post-martial-law era. My findings suggest that students’ extracurricular club activities and academic pursuits exist in a symbiotic relationship. The collectively shared cultural need to pursue leisure accomplishments intersects with educational institutions, as students adapt strategies characterized by rote learning to their club activities. First- and second-year students’ outstanding achievement in extracurricular club activities leads to them being willing to dedicate themselves to intensive rote academic learning in their third year, as they prepare for university entry exams, thus contributing to the reproduction of the logic of educational competition. Students from elite public high schools seem to have more leeway and time to pursue leisure accomplishments. I argue, however, that both their leisure and academic activities proceed in a compressed manner. The thriving extracurricular club activity in public elite high schools is an arena extended from academic examinations for accommodating status competition, which functions to support students’ compliance with an examination-oriented educational regime marked by rote learning and intensive competition.