What is Chinese?

The Chinese language is the group of languages used by Chinese in China and elsewhere, and includes many regional varieties. Mandarin Chinese, in the form spoken in and around Beijing, forms the basis for Modern Standard Chinese, usually called “common language” by the Chinese.

Students who choose Chinese will have the opportunity to connect with a language that is mentally stimulating and interesting, with one of the oldest cultures of the world. All our courses in Chinese are taught by native experienced teachers who are passionate about their subject and promote full immersion, allowing students to quickly develop their communication skills.

How is it studied?

Throughout their studies, students will develop their language capabilities, paying attention to familiar and popular themes as well as learning some of the most fundamental and interesting aspects of the culture of the Chinese-speaking world.

New students in Chinese will follow the new Edexcel A Level curriculum. (Only the AS exam for the new specification will take place in 2018. The first A Level exam will take place in 2019.) In the new specification, the cultural component plays an important part, so AS students must study one text or film, and A Level students must study either one text and one film, or two texts. Written examination is offered in a choice of traditional or simplified characters, and the spoken component will be available in both Mandarin and Cantonese.


(The course in 2017-18 will be the last year of the legacy specification. Oxford Tutorial College will also prepare students who would like to take this examination.)

How is A Level Chinese assessed?

A Level

Paper Modules Weighting Format
1 Listening, reading and translation 40% Written exam: 2 hours
2 Written response to works and translation 30% Written exam: 2 and 40 minutes
3 Speaking 30% Oral exam: 5 minute prep, plus 16-18 minute exam



Paper Modules Weighting Format
1 Listening, reading and translation 40% Written exam: 1 h. 45 min.
2 Written response to works and translation 30% Written exam: 1 h. 40 min
3 Speaking 30% Oral exam: 15 minutes prep, plus 12-15 minute exam


Exam Board: Edexcel

What do I need?

Chinese A Level builds on the knowledge and skills gained in GCSE. Ideally, you will need a good grade in GCSE Chinese or previous knowledge of the language. A passion for communication and an openness to other cultures is essential for learning a new language. A logical and systematic way of thinking will help you to approach grammar and vocabulary acquisition. We have experience in working with a variety of students and we are committed to supporting every individual student.

What should I study with Chinese?

Chinese combines well with other languages and with English Language. However, it also compliments a variety of other subjects, such as Business or Economics. It will provide an excellent skill for students who are considering careers in management, administration or international relations.

What can I do with A Level Chinese?

There are many degree courses in which Chinese can be studied alone or in combination with a wide range of other subjects: e.g. History, Business Studies, and Politics. Such courses often offer the opportunity of a year abroad to develop linguistic skills. Students will find that career prospects are enhanced by the possession of one or more foreign languages. But more than that, Chinese provides a skill that students will take with them beyond A Levels and university. It will provide them with an array of new opportunities, and will develop their ability to engage with and understand other cultures.

Questions about the course

Can I study an A Level in Chinese in one year?


It is possible to complete A Level Chinese in one year, but you should be aware that will be very challenging and you will require an advanced level of Chinese. In addition to assessments, you will need to work every day and probably add extra lessons to your tuition, since the new specifications include literature and a more demanding speaking assessment.


Do I need a GCSE in Chinese?


This is not a requirement, but you will need to have at least an Intermediate level of Chinese.