AOT
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Hi Guys,

I have been studying Mandarin for just over a year now and hope to take either a GCSE or IGCSE in the subject. I would appreciate some guidance on which exam boards are best and what grades are realistically attainable, for example should I be easily capable of an A* in the GCSE but very pleased with a C in the IGCSE.

Any help is much appreciated.

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Rubato
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Hey I took Edexcel Mandarin (GCSE) and got an A*. I don't know about the other exam boards but with edexcel, the reading and listening papers are both multiple choice with the final question requiring proper answers. The grade boundaries also tend to be quite low and the papers are not that challenging so you do have a shot.

In regards to the writing, you have 3 tasks - 2 of which will be sent off to the exam board. You will have sufficient time to prepare so it's really just a matter of memorising your piece and you will be allowed to take in a list of words with you. You're also allowed a dictionary which is really useful for checking your spelling.

The oral is probably the hardest part. I had to do a presentation with questions and a picture based discussion. The latter is harder as you get asked more questions and I had random questions sprung on me. I also found that my teachers ( I had quite a few throughout the years) spoke extremely fast so I recommend listening out for certain words you recognise so you get the gist for it. If you screw up 2 of your orals, you are allowed another chance so I wouldn't worry too much.

That being said, I took Mandarin for 4 years however I wasn't very motivated and only took it as I thought why not. 1 year seems a little short to be considering a GCSE but with enough motivation and hardwork you could definitely pull it off. Getting a high grade shouldn't be too hard as GCSE languages are hardly challenging and tbh, you can get a good grade through guessing like I did with French. I would probably take a GCSE as from what I understand IGCSEs are harder but I would ask someone who took it.
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Magnesium
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I did the iGCSE and got A*. There are subtle differences inbetween the two in terms of coursework and speaking.

From the board I did, the speaking was actually optional and it was a separate part of the iGCSE you didn't have to do. Having said that - i did it anyway. The speaking topic you are given is random and has a few more topics of choice compared to GCSE. It includes Home, Family, Environment, Politics, Government, Education, Leisure etc. Be aware that these are picked at random in the exam and you will not know what topic you are getting beforehand. You are also asked to bring in a picture with a prepared speech about it to talk for around 2 minutes. You're not allowed to retake (at least according to my school)

There is no coursework. Topics for the writing are also random and are giving in the reading and writing exam. There are two random essays - perhaps a letter or just a normal essay and they are a few hundred words long each and you're not allowed to go over this limit otherwise the examiner will stop reading after the word limit. The most you can do here is revise your vocab and make you know how to both recognise and write.

The listening I found was the easiest, the tape was extremely slow

I'm fluent in Chinese but this is just my two cents I learnt around a 400-600 word vocab list for this iGCSE
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YAPC
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(Original post by AOT)
Hi Guys,

I have been studying Mandarin for just over a year now and hope to take either a GCSE or IGCSE in the subject. I would appreciate some guidance on which exam boards are best and what grades are realistically attainable, for example should I be easily capable of an A* in the GCSE but very pleased with a C in the IGCSE.

Any help is much appreciated.

I did Edexcel GCSE Mandarin a year ago and got an A*. I got overall 294/300. An A/A* is definitely achievable and the course is easier than you think. The listening was multiple choice and it was really slow . The only hard part was the end bit where we had to write answers but we had to write it in english instead. The writing wasn't easy, but you get the topic and time to practice your essay, so it was a piece of cake . The speaking was generally good, but I lost a few marks due to hesitation.
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AOT
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Thanks guys for all the quick responses. I am a new member so didn't expect so many replies so soon after posting. Thanks a lot for your advice. I am incredibly motivated and will ask my teacher when I get back to school.

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