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GCSE / IGCSE Chinese

About GCSE / IGCSE Chinese

GCSE qualifications are only available in the UK and certain schools in a small number of other countries such as Canada, Australia and India, whereas the IGCSE is examined across the world including the UK for international students.

GCSE Chinese or General Certificate of Secondary Education Chinese helps students develop their Mandarin Language skills in a variety of contexts and a broad understanding of the culture of countries and communities where Mandarin is spoken. GCSE Chinese has a Foundation Tier (1-5 grades) and a Higher Tier (4-9 grades).

IGCSE or International General Certificate of Secondary Education is a part of CIE (Cambridge International examination). There are three options depending on the specific situation, Chinese as a foreign language, first language and second language.

The GCSE Chinese Assessment Themes

AQA Edexcel
Theme 1: Identity and culture

Topic 1: Me, my family and friends

• Relationships with family and friends

• Marriage/partnership


Topic 2: Technology in everyday life

• Social media

• Mobile technology


Topic 3: Free-time activities

• Music

• Cinema and TV

• Food and eating out

• Sport


Topic 4: Customs and festivals in Chinese-speaking countries/communities

Theme 1: Identity and culture

•        Who am I?

•        Daily life

•        Cultural life

Theme 2: Local, national, international and global areas of interest

Topic 1: Home, town, neighbourhood and region


Topic 2: Social issues

• Charity/ voluntary work

• Healthy/ unhealthy living


Topic 3: Global issues

• The environment

• Poverty/homelessness


Topic 4: Travel and tourism

Theme 2: Local area, holiday, travel

•        Holidays

•        Travel and tourist transactions

•        Town, region and country

Theme 3: Current and future study and


Topic 1: My studies


Topic 2: Life at school/college


Topic 3: Education post-16


Topic 4: Jobs, career choices and ambition

Theme 3: School

•        What school is like

•        School activities

Theme 4: Future aspirations, study and work

•        Using languages beyond the classroom

•        Ambition

•        Work

Theme 5: International and global dimension.

•  Bringing the world together

•  Environmental issues

IGCSE Mandarin Chinese Assessment Themes

IGCSE Mandarin Chinese Assessment Themes

IGCSE Mandarin Chinese – Foreign Language (0547) (download)

IGCSE Mandarin Chinese as a Foreign Language is designed for learners who are learning Mandarin Chinese as a foreign language. The aim is to develop an ability to use the language effectively for practical communication. The course is based on the linked language skills of listening, reading, speaking and writing, and these are built on as learners progress through their studies.

IGCSE Chinese – First Language (0509) (download)

The IGCSE Mandarin Chinese as a First Language is designed for learners whose first language is Chinese. The syllabus develops learners’ ability to communicate clearly, accurately and effectively. They learn how to employ a wide-ranging vocabulary, use correct grammar, spelling and punctuation, and develop a personal style and an awareness of the audience being addressed.

IGCSE Chinese – Second Language (0523) (download)

The IGCSE Chinese as a Second Language is designed for learners who already have a working knowledge of the language and who want to consolidate their understanding to progress their education or career. Through their studies, learners achieve a thorough understanding of a wide range of registers and styles and learn to communicate appropriately in different situations.

Check the full detail and source (here)

The relationship within GCSE, IGCSE, HSK, YCT and CEF

HSK (Hanyu Shuiping Koashi) is an international standardized exam which tests and rates Chinese Language Proficiency for Speakers of Other Languages, which is administered by the Ministry of Education of China.

YCT (Youth Chinese Test) is an international standardized test of Chinese language proficiency. It assesses young foreign students’ abilities to use Chinese in their daily and academic lives.

HSK YCT Required Vocabulary GCSE Chinese IGCSE Chinese CEF
Common European Framework
HSK 1 150 A1
HSK 2 YCT Ⅲ 300 A2
HSK 3 YCT Ⅳ 600 Foundation Tier IGCSE Second Language B1
HSK 4 1200 Higher Tier B2
HSK 5 2500 IGCSE CIE First Language / AS and A level C1
HSK 6 5000+ C2

AQA GCSE specification and its vocabulary and grammar list (download)

Edexcel GCSE specification and its vocabulary and grammar list (download)

Recommended GCSE Books

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