What to memorise for chinese exams?

Although chinese is a language subject that generally does not depend on memory to do well, past experiences have taught me that memorising some stuff before going into the exam hall can make a significant difference in a student’s results, particularly students who are performing poorly due to weak fundamentals.

Memorising the right content is key to boosting your results with last minute work. You should also refrain from going overboard and memorise too much which might result in inflexible thinking and narrow frame of though. Having a good chinese tuition can help you get the necessary materials you need to memorise.

For essays

Essays are the key component in Chinese, one that students can take advantage of since there are predicatble elements in the compo paper. Memorising entire essays is a taboo as it is at its best ineffective and might even cause your essay to drift off topic if you’re not careful.

Short phrases

The best thing to memorise for essays are short phrases that might fall into the category of idioms, similes, proverbs. Every model essay is loaded with excellent chinese phrases that enhances the quality of the essay. Many examiners are also known to reward marks for appropriate and extensive use of complex phrases which demonstrates the student’s linguistic prowess.

Using 成语 or 俗语 correctly can boost your score in 2 ways. In the marking scheme which the examiner uses to grades your writing, there are 2 components under consideration: content (内容) and vocaulary/grammar (表达). Students who are prudent in the use of good phrases are seen to score higher marks for both components even though content is almost identical. This is true for all types of essays from situational to newspaper report and argumentative.

Having good phrases can carry across the meaning of your writing more effectively. However, inappropriate use will get you penalised heavily. Hence, it is important to make sure you understand the meaning of the phrases you are memorising. Make the effort to use the internet or dictionary to get a complete idea of phrases you memorise.


Quotes are a great way to add depth to your essays, they can be included anywhere in your essay and can act as a great introduction. For argumentative essays, expository essays or newspaper reflection, quotes from famous people can add persuasiveness to your perspective and greatly increase your vocaulary and content scores.

However, you should not spend too much time memorising too many quotations. You would be lucky if you are able to use just 1 quote in your essay. Some examiners are also very strict in terms of accuracy of quotes, they may even deduct marks for minor inaccuracies in your quotes.

You can find a whole list of quotes classified based on categories at www.rs66.com/a/2/90/090_1.html or head over to our resource page to download compiled quotes.


There are some types of essays in paper 1 for which format plays an important role, namely they are: 报章报道 (newspaper report), situational writing.

Newspaper report require a specific format including introduction, body, conclusion and transition paragraphs in between each of them. Forgetting the format would cost hefty content marks.

Format for situational essays are giveaways as marks are awarded just for remembering the format.

For paper 2

Paper 2 require little memory work except for comprehension open-ended and summary (if you take higher chinese). Memorising format to certain comprehension questions that require evidence from passage would also earn you marks. You can learn detailed techniques at my chinese tuition classes in Singapore.

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