Aim of the course

The study of Mandarin as a Perse Elective in the Lower Sixth allows students to build upon their skills in the language from GCSE, and develop confidence to apply their knowledge in a higher education or working environment. During the year-long course, students gain a HSK qualification (汉语水平考试), which is an internationally recognised qualification in Mandarin proficiency.  Generally, a minimum level of HSK 4 is required for oversees study and work in China. Furthermore, the HSK qualification will demonstrate competency in the most sought-after transferable skills and will set students apart from the field in their future applications.

The HSK is divided into levels of competency, ranging from 1- 6, with 6 being the highest level. From March 2022, there will be an additional advanced examination option for students to gain levels 7-9. Students can therefore sit a placement test at the start of the academic year to determine the level most appropriate for them. For more information on the HSK levels and the requirements of the assessments, please refer to:

Be inspired

We encourage students to use mobile phone applications, listen to podcasts, read newspaper articles, and watch programmes and films in Mandarin. Students are provided with a list of helpful extension and enrichment resources at the start of each academic year and these are reviewed on a regular basis. In the Summer term, Year 9 and 10 students are given the opportunity to participate in Project-based learning. Previous projects have included China’s education system and the Gao Kao (高考), The Great Wall of China, and the history of the Three Kingdoms. These extracurricular activities aim to inspire, enrich and engage our students, encouraging them to be inquisitive about China and Chinese culture.

Special activities are planned to celebrate the most popular Chinese festivals and the department welcomes visiting speakers to share their knowledge and experience of China with our students. In recent years, we have offered calligraphy lessons from guest presenters.

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