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A-Level Mandarin

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Why study Mandarin?

Exam board and specification codes: Edexcel

As Level: Unit 1 (6CN01) Unit 2 (6CN02)

A2 Level: Unit 3 (6CN03)

There are many facts you might already know:

  • China is one of the world’s oldest and richest continuous cultures, over 5000 years old.
  • China is the most populous nation in the world, with 1.28 billion people.
  • One fifth of the planet speaks Chinese. Mandarin Chinese is the mother tongue of over 873 million people, making it the most widely spoken first language in the world.
  • In addition to the People’s Republic of China and Taiwan, Mandarin Chinese is also spoken in the important and influential Chinese communities of Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Brunei, the Philippines, and Mongolia.
  • China is the second largest economy in the world and likely to become the largest in a few years’ time.

What is covered by the course?

The course is designed to further develop students’ advanced-mid level language proficiency and intercultural competence. More sophisticated linguistic forms are used with various social-culture topics.

Students of A level in Chinese course will develop their ability to communicate confidently and effectively in Chinese, and consider the study of the language in a broader context.

This A level course is including key features of grammar, syntax, and usage, along with the intensive study of a set of readings in the language.

This fast-paced course improves students’ abilities to use advanced language forms to read and discuss a wide range of abstract subjects and issues. The topics covered in this course include Modern Chinese History (20th century), Geography of China, Society, Literary texts-Films and Literary Texts- Books.

According to Edexcel exam board, Modern Chinese Mandarin contains three parts of units, this includes 3 unit in A2 level and 2 units in AS level.

Unit 1: Spoken Expression and Response in Chinese

Unit 2: Understanding and Written Response in Chinese

Unit 3: Understanding, Written Response and Research in Chinese               

How is it examined?

The exam is broken into three units which are given below:

Unit 1: Spoken Expression and Response in Chinese (5 minutes)

This unit requires students to demonstrate an ability to speak Chinese for 5–6 minutes in response to a short English-language stimulus.

Unit 2: Understanding and Written Response in Chinese (2 hours 30 minutes)

This unit rewards students for their understanding of spoken and written Chinese, their ability to transfer meaning from Chinese into English and to produce continuous writing in Chinese. The latter would be an essay linked to a short Chinese-language stimulus.

The assessment for this unit is divided into three sections which includes:

Listening and answering the questions, comprehension and essay writing.    

Unit 3: Understanding, Written Response and Research in Chinese (2 hours 45 minutes)

This unit rewards students for their ability to understand and respond in writing to written Chinese and promotes knowledge and understanding of Chinese culture and/or society through focused research.

The assessment for this unit is divided into four sections which includes: Reading, Translation, Essay writing and Research-based essay.

(New A levels qualifications in Chinese, is being developed for first teaching from September 2017 with first assessment in summer 2019 (or summer 2018 for the AS). It is anticipated that draft versions of these specifications and linked sample assessment materials will appear on edexcel website in late August once they have been submitted to Ofqual. )

Related university courses and careers?

There are many universities that provide courses which related to the Chinese language. Universities such as those listed below:

University of Edinburgh, University of Oxford, Newcastle University, University of Leeds, SOAS, University of London, University of Manchester, University of Sheffield, University of Westminster, University of Warwick, Cardiff University, and many others.

There are many careers where having a foreign language would be useful. Examples include:

Teaching, Translation, Social Services, Diplomatic Services, International Business, Tourism, Journalism and many others.

Chinese is important for your career!

  • International businesses prefer to hire people who speak more than one language. China has become a huge market, and business leaders are looking for people who can speak Chinese and operate successfully in a Chinese cultural context
  • Knowing Chinese may give you an edge when competing for an important position
  • China will play a major role in world affairs in the future. As China now has opened up to the West, there are opportunities for employment in all areas

Suggested reading:

Chinese Made Easy Books 4 & 5 and Easy Steps to Chinese Books 5 to 8. Both by Xingying Li & Yamin Ma, CME Books

Chinese for AS, Xiaoming Zhang and Kay Heppell , Cypress Books 

Chinese for A Level,  Xiaoming Zhang, Cypress Books

Advanced Level Chinese, Justin Wu

Edexcel Chinese for A2. Michelle Tate, Lisa Wang & Xiaoming Zhu by Hodder Education

Chinese A2 Examination Guide. Yu Bin and Emma Wu, by Cypress Books

Also students are encouraged to engage as much resources as possible. Such as: Magazine, newspapers, YouTube, internet and so on.