Certificate Exams Preparation

This is for people who require a language certificate to enhance their CV for professional purposes, or as a step onto the next level of their education. Theses courses are designed to gain the highest marks in your target exams (ISEB, GCSE Chinese, AS, A-level, Pre U, IB, HSKs or university exam). We help some local schools conduct speaking part of the test both in Mandarin and Cantonese.

It covers all elements required or desired exam boards syllabus and Beginners, Intermediate, or Advanced language program, dependent on your starting points and full elements of Intercultural Workshops.

For Chinese language exams, you need to have solid foundation of Pinyin (sound make up) and written (Chinese characters) and writing orders. Good understanding of language formation (grammars) and vocabularies. In addition, understand Chinese culture in some degree, base on outline requirements of each exam boards syllabus.

Main objectives are to enable students to develop:

  • an understanding of Chinese in a variety of contexts
  • a knowledge of Chinese vocabulary and structures
  • transferable language learning skills
  • the ability to communicate effectively in Chinese
  • awareness and understanding of countries and communities where Chinese is spoken.
ISEB Certificate
ISEB CertificateISEB syllabuses & specimen papers
ClassOne-to-one or small group
Start DateAny time
Lesson Structure1 hour session, 1-3 per sessions per week
LocationOur office or yours

It is for preparatory or secondary school pupils who have undertaken 30 to 40 hours or one to two years of study. It includs:

  • Reading & Writing - 45 minutes (70%)
  • Listening – 15-20 minutes (20%)
  • Speaking - 5 minutes (10%).

Most Independent Schools takes the ISEB achievement as a scholarship criteria.

GCSE Chinese
GCSE ChineseEdexcel GCSE, AQA GCSE, Edexcel iGCSE, The Cambridge iGCSE Second Language Chinese, The Cambridge iGCSE First Language Chinese
ClassOne-to-one or small group
Start DateAny time
Lesson Structure1 hour session, 1-3 per sessions per week
LocationOur office or yours

The GCSE combines controlled assessment of speaking and writing skills with Foundation or Higher tier external assessments for the listening and reading skills. You can take the exam both in Mandarin or Cantonese, simplified or traditional Chinese character writing. The assessment is based on the following skills:

  • Listening and understanding in Chinese
  • Speaking in Chinese
  • Reading and understanding in Chinese
  • Reading in Chinese

Possible related content:

  • Media and culture: Music, film, reading; Fashion, celebrities, religion; Blogs, internet
  • Sport and leisure: Hobbies/interests, Sporting events, Lifestyle choices
  • Travel and tourism: Holidays, Accommodation, Eating, food, drink
  • Business, work and employment: Work experience, part-time jobs
  • Centre-based option.

Exams boards and Exams:

  • The Edexcel GCSE offers Full course and Short Course in Chinese. It combines controlled assessment of speaking and writing skills with Foundation or Higher tier external assessments for the listening and reading skills. This is a good choice of exam, as it offers greater flexibility for you further progress to GCE AS and A level or other advanced level qualifications, even if you are unsure how long you can keep up your study.
  • The Edexcel iGCSE is a single-tier papers, 100% examination format via three Edexcel-marked units. If you have been learning Chinese for sometime, and wish to progress to any other advanced level qualifications, then this exam is for you. Some native Chinese speakers often opt to take the exam.
  • The AQA GCSE exam offers tiered on Listening and Reading for either Foundation or Higher, Speaking and Writing are untiered. Otherwise it is similar as Edexcel.
  • The Cambridge IGCSE First Language Chinese syllabus is designed for learners whose first language is Chinese. Some native Chinese speakers often opt to take the exam.
  • Cambridge IGCSE Chinese as a Second Language is designed for learners who already have a working knowledge of Chinese and want to develop their understanding to progress their education or career.

If you have a natural aptitude for languages and you can commit time for at lest 3 sessions a week, it is achievable within a year for a total beginner; or about 2 sessions a week within two years.

GCE Chinese AS and A-level
GCE ChineseEdexcel GCE
ClassOne-to-one or small group
Start DateAny time
Lesson Structure1 hour session, 1-3 per sessions per week
LocationOur office or yours

GCE exam split to AS and A2. You can take the exam both in Mandarin or Cantonese, simplified or traditional Chinese character writing.

The AS level 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.

  • Spoken Expression and Response in Chinese
  • Understanding and Written Response in Chinese, includs: Listening, Reading and Writting

    General topic areas:

    • Food, diet and health
    • Transport, travel and tourism
    • Education and employment
    • Leisure, Youth interests and Chinese festivals. Chinese festivals: the Chinese New year, mid-autumn festival, dragon boat festival, Ching Ming (Qing Ming)

The A2 level test students ability on understand and respond in writing to written Chinese. It also enables them to demonstrate their ability to write in Chinese and promotes knowledge and understanding of Chinese culture and/or society through focused research.

  • Understanding and Written Response in Chinese, includs: Reading, Translation, Essay writing and Research-based essay writting, both essays (250–500 characters).

    Add topic area:

    • Environment (energy, pollution and environmental campaigns)
The Edexcel GCE offers ‘Three units’ format rewards learners for speaking, reading, listening and writing.

A-level Chinese brings the language to life as students apply their learning to real-world scenarios. Given employers' demand for language skills, this could mean higher employability for you. If you have a natural aptitude for languages and you can commit time for at lest 3 sessions a week, it is achievable within a year if you have achived GCSE; or about 2 sessions a week within 18 months.

The Cambridge Pre-U in Mandarin Chinese
Cambridge Pre-U ChinesePre-U Chinese
ClassOne-to-one or small group
Start DateAny time
Lesson Structure1 hour session, 1-3 per sessions per week
LocationOur office or yours

There are three papers in Pre U exam assessment.

Paper 1: Speaking Assessed on:

  • Content of their presentation (ability to present relevant facts, express opinions and put forward points for discussion)
  • Linguistic competence (comprehension and responsiveness, fluency, accuracy of tones, pronunciation, range of vocabulary and variety of sentence structures)

Paper 2: Listening, Reading and Translation including 成语(Chengyu) Assessed on:

  • Listening: Candidates listen to pre-recorded passages in Mandarin Chinese, answering questions, write down individual words in 拼音 (Pinyin),and provide an English gist summary
  • Reading: The comprehension of two passages in Chinese is tested by questions in English
  • 成语(Chengyu): a literal translation and an explanation in English taken three 成语 from a list of 25 prescribed in the syllabus
  • Translation: Candidates translate a short passage of vernacular Chinese (not more than 200 characters) into English. The assessment focuses on the transfer of meaning rather than literal correctness.

Paper 3: Writing Assessed on:

  • Candidates complete exercises testing radical and stroke order skills as well as the use of grammar markers, aspect markers and measure words
  • Letter writing: Candidates write a letter of 80–100 characters. The task will be in English but may require candidates to respond to a stimulus in Chinese. Assessment focuses on communication of the required elements, the accuracy of characters, accuracy of grammar and structures and appropriateness of language.
  • Opinion essay: A choice of six titles, one on each of the six Topic Areas, is provided. Candidates have to write one essay in Chinese of 175–225 characters. Essays will be assessed for accuracy and linguistic range as well as development and organisation of ideas. A colloquial style will be sufficient for top marks.

Paper 4: Chinese Culture Assessed on Candidates are assessed on their knowledge and understanding of their chosen cultural options and their ability to answer aquestion in a clear and focused manner:

  • Candidates prepare two options:
    • one from Topics in Chinese Culture
    • one from Chinese Literature and Film (texts in this Section to be studied in English).
  • In the examination, candidates answer two questions, in English, one on each of their chosen options.
  • The recommended length for each answer is 600- 750 words.

    General topic areas from 2015:

    • Family
    • Young people
    • Education
    • The media
    • EWork and leisure
    • The environment

It provides an alternative A level equivalent qualification, a stepping stone for university courses in Chinese and Chinese studies. As well as allowing learners to develop their language skills, the syllabus fosters an awareness of Chinese culture and history.

A big advantage of taking Pre U is that there will be very a few native Chinese students taking the exam, hence, your exam results will be comparable with other non-native Chinese learners.

中文大学预科国际文凭 - The International Baccalaureate Diploma in Chinese - The IB Chinese
IB DiplomaIB Diploma
ClassOne-to-one or small group
Start DateAny time
Lesson Structure1 hour session, 1-3 per sessions per week
LocationOur office or yours

An option of taking Mandarin as one of the 2 languages that form part of the Diploma syllabus. Mandarin is an option in the ‘Second Language’ subject groups. Depending on the students experience/level, Mandarin can be studied at one of 3 levels:

General topic areas from 2015:

  • Ab initio: for beginners who have no previous experience of Mandarin. Standard level only
  • Language B - for students who have had some previous experience of learning Mandarin They may be studied at either higher level or standard level.
  • Language A2 - students who have a high level of competence in the language they have chosen. They include the study of both language and literature, and are available at higher level and standard level.

Standard level is 150 teaching hours. Higher level is 240 teaching hours.

汉字能力考试 (HSK) - The Chinese Proficiency Test
汉字能力考试 (HSK) HSK - Hanban website
汉字能力考试 (HSK) HSK - SOAS website
ClassOne-to-one or small group
Start DateAny time
Lesson Structure1.5 hours session, 1-3 per sessions per week
LocationOur office or yours

It is China's national standardized test designed and developed by the HSK Center of Beijing Language and Culture University to assess the Chinese language proficiency of non-native speakers (including foreigners, overseas Chinese and students from Chinese national minorities). It is recognised in China, but most UK qualifications such as Chinese GCSEs or A levels (equivalent) are better received in China.

  • HSK (Basic) is a standardized test designed for beginners. There are two levels: level 1 and 2. It is for leaners who have acquired 400-3000 basic Chinese words and HSK grammar level 1 and 2 outlines.
  • HSK Elementary-Intermediate is suitable for persons who have mastery of 2000-5000 Chinese words and HSK grammar level 3 and 4 outlines
  • HSK Advanced applies to those who have mastery of 5000-8000 Chinese words and HSK grammar level 5 to 6 outlines.
HSK past papers: Past papers - SOAS website