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Tips On Chinese Exam Preparation

Preparing for your chinese exam paper is not easy, many of you probably do not know where to start. Unlike other subjects, revising for chinese requires more targeted studying, practicing and memorising. The quality of your study resources will also affect your results. Many students think that it is useless studying for a language subject however, my experience in teaching chinese tuition to primary and secondary school students taught me that revising for chinese the right way can make a huge impact on the student’s results.

Preparing for paper 1

Paper 1 refers to composition/essay and situational writing (应用文). Primary school students will have a choice for their essay while secondary school students can choose which question to attempt for both situational writing and essay. The weightage for both papers are different however, many students make the mistake of ignoring to revise for their situational writing and hence forget about the formatting and lose a lot of marks. Although situational writing has a lower weightage, it is also possible to score close to full marks for this component hence I always encourage my students to memorise and practice writing the formatting (格式) of the situational writing as those are giveaway marks.

For the content of the writing for both components of paper 1, there are a few ways to revise to boost your marks. The most recommended way I teach in chinese tuition in Singapore is to memorise certain phrases, sentences or paragraphs. In both components of paper 1, there are certain parts that can be memorised, for example, the ending paragraph of the 应用文, is basically 恭维 (flattery) and can be memorised to improve the level of sophistication compared to writing your own style. For 情景记叙文 under free essay, the introduction can also be memorised. For example, if you wish to begin by the reminiscent method or describing the scenery/setting, you can memorise poetic phrases from various sources to improve your essay quality.

Sources which you can memorise from include model essays from essay books, other student’s essays or compilation of good phrases (好词好句). Model essay books can be easily found in bookstores or libraries. You can borrow your friend’s essay if you think it is of good quality. Alternatively, if you want to save all the trouble, you can download all the documents of good phrases already selected for you at the member’s resource page.

Preparing for Paper 2

Paper 2 is the main paper of chinese and has the highest weightage. The paper is split into a few sections, some of which tests the student’s basic understanding of chinese others test the students ability to answer questions. Some sections can be improved via effective preparation. Comprehension MCQ can be improved through more careful reading and analysing of the passages. Many students get tricked by similar options in the question as they randomly choose one of the similar options while the answer can be found in the passage.

The biggest challenge students face is always the 2 comprehension passages at the end of the paper. Through practicing and reading model answers, the accuracy of the students answers can be improved. In my chinese tuition classes, I spend most of the time explaining the areas which are lacking in the students answers and hence their answering techniques will improve in a short period of time.

Lastly, for those taking higher chinese, the summary at the end of the comprhension is known to be a killer. However, there are techniques to help you squeeze in more points and shorten your words. For example, I teach my higher chinese tuition students that the answers to the compre questions can give you a clue as to which are the key points to include.

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