Course Description

The new Level 3 Advanced GCE in Mandarin Chinese has been developed to inspire all students who have an appreciation of the language, literature, film and culture of the Chinese-speaking world. The course will enable students to develop an advanced knowledge and understanding of the Chinese language, the culture of China and other Chinese-speaking countries, and practical transferable study skills. This course will help to prepare students for higher education and enhance their employability. Inspiring and engaging themes of study provide clear links to some of the most fundamental and interesting aspects of the culture of the Chinese-speaking world. Students have the opportunity to study popular literary texts and films which include contemporary and more classical titles, together with authentic source materials from China and the wider Chinese-speaking world.

Entry Requirements

5 or more standard GCSE passes or higher (grade 4 or higher).

Achieving a grade 6 or higher in GCSE Chinese or in another language is desirable.

Course Content

Theme 1 – Contemporary Chinese social changes
The family

  • Family structure and the generation gap; family planning and an aging population

Education and work

  • School life and student issues; career opportunities; work-life balance

Theme 2 – Chinese culture

  • Festivals and customs (Chinese New Year, Dragon Boat Festival, Mid-Autumn Festival, Ching Ming Festival)

Cultural activities

  • Film; television; music and reading; and related Chinese culture

Theme 3 – Chinese society evolving
Communication and technology

  • The internet and social media

Economy and environment

  • Economic development; environmental protection

Theme 4 – The impact of reform and the opening up of China since 1978

  • The gap between rich and poor; the ‘super city’; migration to the cities Sino-British relations
  • Trade; cultural exchange; educational exchange

Literature and Film
Students must study two discrete Chinese works: either two literary texts, or one literary text and one film. The works must be taken from a list of prescribed literary texts and films. The literary texts listed include novels and short stories.
All of the films are feature length.

Individual research project
With support and guidance from their teacher, students select and research a topic of their choice which will relate to the cultural and/or social context of the Chinese-speaking world. They are then assessed on their project as part of their speaking examination. This is a real opportunity for students to become experts
in a topic that excites and enthuses them.


Assessments place an emphasis on spontaneity and grammar, as well as providing plenty of opportunities for students to apply their knowledge independently and creatively. Clear mark schemes encourage students to develop ideas and use language to persuade and analyse and give critical responses in their writing and speaking.

Paper 1 – Listening, reading and translation Exam: 2 hours
80 marks
40% of the qualification

Paper 2 – Written response to works and translation Exam: 2 hours and 40 minutes
120 marks
30% of the qualification

Paper 3 – Speaking
Exam: Total assessment time: between 21 and 23 minutes, which includes a single period of 5 minutes’ formal preparation time
72 marks
30% of the qualification

Future Opportunities

Mandarin Chinese has the advantage of being both a practical employment skill and a subject which is perceived to be highly academic, meaning that it is much sought-after by both universities and employers. China’s recent transformation has led to a booming economy and a new status as a rising global superpower. As such, there is a huge demand for people who can speak both Chinese and English. Languages students choose to deploy their skills in a range of rewarding professional contexts including journalism, law, business, politics and diplomacy as well as more language-specific careers including linguistic and cultural research, interpretation and translation.

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