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Mandarin Chinese Cambridge Pre-U **FEES PAYABLE** at Marlborough College

Course description

The study of Modern Languages has at its core the opening up of minds to new worlds through personal engagement with linguistic and cultural difference.

Knowledge of foreign languages can transform personal relations and experiences, and enhance professional opportunities. The perceived difficulty of modern language learning has meant a sharp national decline in numbers over the last decade, a trend which Marlborough has strongly resisted.

The study of modern languages in the Sixth Form enables the creation of a profound and lifelong knowledge of, and interest in other cultures. Within a continued style of cooperative and interactive learning students learn about the countries concerned from an adult perspective, covering topics such as tourism, family relationships, technology and health in the Lower Sixth, and social issues, the environment, politics and an exploration of individual cultural topics in the Upper Sixth.

Course content

The aims of this syllabus are to enable pupils to develop the language skills needed for effective, sophisticated communication in Mandarin Chinese and to provide them with an opportunity to gain an insight into Mandarin Chinese society and culture

Weekly one to one tuition with native speaker Assistants accelerates oral competence and, in addition to participation in departmental trips and exchanges, students are encouraged to spend time abroad during the course and immerse themselves in the language and life of the countries they are studying.


All examinations are taken at the end of the Upper Sixth.

COMPONENT 1 - Speaking 

  • Discussion of an unprepared newspaper article followed by broader discussion.
  • Prepared topic discussion.  For this students will have researched a topic related to Mandarin Chinese history, current affairs or culture (including art, cinema, literature and traditions).

COMPONENT 2 - Reading and Listening 

  • Reading passages with some questions in English and some in Mandarin Chinese.
  • Re-translation from English into Mandarin Chinese of about 75 words.
  • Recordings with some questions in English and some in Mandarin Chinese.
  • Guided summary (max. 100 words) of a recording of 250 words.

COMPONENT 3 - Writing and Usage 

  • Discursive essay of about 400 words in Mandarin Chinese. There is a choice of 5 subjects based on prescribed topic areas.
  • A series of grammar tests.

COMPONENT 4 - Topics and Texts

  • Essay of 350-500 words in Mandarin Chinese on a Cultural topic. They will have prepared two texts/films within the same topic with an emphasis on broad cultural knowledge rather than on literary/film criticism.
  • 450-600 words in English on a single, prepared literary text. There will be a choice between a commentary and two essay titles. This part of the examination will promote literary appreciation through detailed textual analysis

Future opportunities

Many pupils go on to study Modern Languages at university which reflects the importance of the subject at Marlborough, and the life skills which they acquire.

Further information

Throughout their time at Marlborough language societies will lay on enrichment activities, and in the Lower Sixth all linguists perform in an outdoor drama festival, where confident and accomplished performances in a foreign language showcase advanced language competence.

How to apply

If you want to apply for this course, you will need to contact Marlborough College directly.

Last updated date: 18 November 2016
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