The GCSE Mandarin exam consists of four examined components: speaking, listening, reading and writing. Having a GCSE Mandarin tutor can help a student excel in all four areas.
The Mandarin GCSE course aims not only to give students a strong foundation in Mandarin Chinese but also to expand their knowledge and understanding of Chinese culture. Most students are encouraged to learn a foreign language up to GCSE level. Typically students focus on European languages such as French or Spanish but with over one billion native speakers and a thriving global economy, most leading English schools have responded to demand and recognise the importance of giving students the opportunity to study Mandarin.
GCSE Mandarin is becoming increasingly popular amongst students and families with an international outlook and forward-thinking mindset who want to set their child up for success. Attaining a good score in GCSE Mandarin demonstrates to prospective universities and future employers that a student is diligent, analytical and has strong attention to detail. GCSE Mandarin, therefore, equips the most ambitious students with the tools to take on any career they choose and prepares them to succeed in a multi-lingual global society. A GCSE Mandarin qualification will be a particular asset for those wanting to pursue a career in diplomacy, business, technology or engineering.
It is worthwhile identifying which exam board your child’s school offers as the content and structure of each exam will vary slightly.
The exam boards offering GCSE Mandarin are:
All exam boards divide their GCSE Mandarin exams into four sections but the required learning and breadth of vocabulary differs for each.
GCSE Mandarin aims to help students develop their Mandarin language skills for practical communication. It enables them to better understand the culture of Chinese-speaking communities. Students will gain a strong knowledge of Pinyin, a system that uses the Latin alphabet to illustrate the pronunciation of a character. Also highlighting the five pronunciation tones used across the language. Students may benefit from the help of a GCSE Mandarin tutor, they will give support in the most difficult areas. They will build further confidence in the areas they are strong in.
The writing and reading parts of the course allow students to develop an ability to recognise reoccurring radicals, the strokes that make up Chinese characters, and their respective word associations. As such, GCSE Mandarin provides a strong foundation for students who may wish to pursue the language at A Level or beyond.
The content of the course is based on the following key contemporary and cultural themes:
In preparation for their GCSE Mandarin exam students will, for instance, gain an understanding of the cultural significance of the Lunar New Year and the traditions and food that accompany its celebration each year. Your GCSE Mandarin tutor will be able to help deepen your knowledge. Therefore enabling you to get higher marks as you are able to showcase further understanding.
Students will be assessed on their ability to communicate accurately and effectively for a variety of purposes and contexts. As the course progresses students will gain an ability to take part in conversation, to respond accurately to verbal information, to express themselves in a varied and relevant way, and write short texts in a coherent and stylistically appropriate manner. However, GCSE Mandarin will suit students who are intellectually curious, focused and have a desire to explore other cultures.
The writing element of the GCSE Mandarin exam can be the most challenging area for many students. It is often completely unfamiliar to them. In order to recognise, understand and write Mandarin characters accurately, students must dedicate sufficient time to reviewing their learning. This could be on a daily or weekly basis as needed. Mandarin is a complex and highly detailed language. Having help and support can really help to build confidence, which is essential for bettering writing techniques.
Students studying in English schools are more likely to have an instinctive awareness of the intonations and expressions used in Italian or French than Mandarin. Therefore, being exposed to Mandarin through conversing with a native speaker can be really helpful. However, by having a GCSE Mandarin tutor, students will get an immersive experience that will better their mandarin speaking performance.
Another useful technique to get immersed in Mandarin is to watch a Chinese film or TV show with English subtitles. You could find a language buddy to practice engaging in role play or conversation. This will be a huge benefit to your child.
It is important both students and parents are aware of what is expected of them in the exam. Setting out clear notes about what themes, characters and grammar structures they need to be aware of or use in the exam will ensure your child can sit their exam confident in their own abilities. The examiner will set out clear parameters for how they expect written pieces to be structured and presented. These are marks that can help their boost a score.
Setting aside time to devise a clear and structured revision timetable gives them the best possible chance of success in this subject. However, learning Mandarin can be more challenging than other foreign languages. Therefore, being able to approach their studies in a focused and methodical way will give your child confidence and guidance. This will make revising for GCSE Mandarin both manageable and genuinely productive.
A GCSE Mandarin tutor can help to pinpoint any areas of weakness. They will help to priorities the order in which they are revised. They can build confidence with continuous practice of all areas of the language.
We understand that there will be no changes or adjustments to the GCSE Mandarin examinations this upcoming year. Therefore students and teachers should prepare as normal.
Learning a language as rich and complex as Mandarin is an exciting but challenging endeavour for any student. Bespoke and targeted support with an experienced tutor can help your child make the most of this experience. Therefore, giving them the confidence to unlock their language skills and potential. Our GCSE Mandarin tutors are experienced, qualified teachers, Heads of departments and Examiners. They know the GCSE Mandarin syllabuses back to front. They will explain the latest mark schemes, help your child to unpick difficult characters and master tricky pronunciations.
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