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Mandarin Cambridge Pre-U at Finham Park School

Course description

Because the course is so wide-ranging there is never a dull moment. You will be challenged linguistically, intellectually and emotionally as you discover China’s journey to modernisation and deepen your understanding of how this fascinating language works.

Chinese is one of the big four global languages, including English, Spanish and Hindi. 1.3 billion Chinese people speak it every day, but that’s just the population of the People’s Republic of China. There are Chinese communities in every large city and just about every University in the world as well as Chinese-speaking countries like Malaysia, Singapore and Taiwan to explore. The opportunities for developing business links and friendships can be life-changing.

Course content

You will study the history, current affairs, and culture of China, including art, cinema, literature and traditions of the Chinese world. You will also have the opportunity to study Chinese films and literature, including novels and short stories.

The course is aimed at giving you a broad range of skills which are sought after by universities: great language skills, the ability to critique films and literature and a deep appreciation of how to seek out a range of historical perspectives, synthesise the information you have discovered and give an informed opinion.

Entry requirements

GCSE 5 grades 9-4 including English and Mathematics. GCSE Mandarin at grade 6 or above. It would be helpful also to have an interest in history, film and literature.


There are 4 exams at the end of Y13, as follows:

In the Speaking exam (20%) students have a conversation about a pre-prepared topic, then move onto discussion of the course topics.

In the L/R/T exam (30%) students answer comprehension questions on Listening and Reading passages, explain Chinese idioms and translate up to 200 characters into English with the help of a dictionary.

In the Writing and Usage exam (25%) students answer questions on structure of characters, write a letter and draft an opinion essay
In the Chinese Culture paper (25%) students answer questions on a Film/Short stories/Novel, then answer questions on the Foundation of the People’s Republic
of China.

Future opportunities

At University you can study Mandarin as a single or joint honours subject, or do modules of Chinese as an add-on to any other degree. You can also do a Chinese studies degree, which will continue to give you a broad spread of language, history, politics, art and more.

At Newcastle University, for example, Pre-U students may be allowed to skip the first year of their Chinese studies degree programme and have the opportunity to graduate with a higher level of Chinese than those who started from scratch, a great option if you would like to pursue a career in Translation or Interpretation.

But the opportunities do not stop there. Chinese opens doors wherever it goes, so you may find that it helps you get the inside track during a business deal, socialise with fellow students or colleagues or convince GCHQ or the Civil Service to teach you
more languages, perhaps even send you around the world!

How to apply

If you want to apply for this course, you will need to contact Finham Park School directly.

Last updated date: 17 November 2017
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