Mandarin Chinese Pre-U

The Cambridge Pre-U is an alternative post-16 qualification, which is equivalent to A Level and is widely recognised for university entrance.

Course specifcation: CIE: Cambridge Pre-U 9778

Content of Cambridge Pre-U

Paper 1 Speaking: approximately 15 minutes (20%)

The speaking test consists of a prepared topic conversation and a general conversation. It is externally assessed by a visiting examiner.

Paper 2 Listening, reading and translation: 2 hours 30 minutes (30%)

  • Listening – includes pinyin dictation, short passages and long passages (20 marks)
  • Reading – comprises two passages of around 450 words in total, requiring answers in English (18 marks)
  • Chinese sayings (Chengyu) – requires translating and explaining the meaning of three given Chinese sayings (6 marks)
  • Translation – this section comprises a translation of a short passage (no more than 200 characters) from Chinese into English (16 marks)

Paper 3 Writing and Usage: 2 hours (25%)

  • Radical, stroke order and grammar – requires identifying three characters by their radical and providing the number of strokes and stroke order, and completing a cloze test
  • Letter writing – comprises a letter of 80 to 100 Chinese characters
  • Opinion essay – requires an essay of 175 to 225 Chinese characters

Paper 4 Chinese Culture: 2 hours 30 minutes (25%)

Students are required to answer two questions in English, one on one of the three topics in Chinese culture and the other one on Chinese literature and film.

Topics: family; young people; education; the media; work and leisure; equality of opportunity.

Key skills

  • Attention to detail
  • An analytical mind
  • A willingness to take part in discussions on a range of topics
  • An interest in the language and culture of Chinese speaking countries

Higher Education and career prospects

At university level, you can study Chinese Language and/or Culture or Chinese Studies. Alternatively, you can study a complementary subject such as International Business, Economics, Law, Politics, Psychology, and Tourism. This will allow you to work in business, education, translation or interpretation, international companies, journalism, law, tourism, politics and public relations.

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