Academic Group 2 Subjects

Tips for Mandarin B SL

中文,虽然学的会有点吃力,但是我认为将来找工作会有优势。(Mandarin, even though learning it would be tough, but I think there would be an advantage when seeking jobs upon mastering the language). Mandarin is becoming an even more important language in this era. Apart from being the most widely spoken language in the world, it is also the working language of international organisations, such as the UN.  This article provides tips for studying Mandarin B SL in IB.

Students have different reasons for choosing the subject. Some students choose it because they are simply fascinated by the language! I took Mandarin B SL because I had been learning the language since childhood. However, even though I did Mandarin at SL, it did not imply that I could slack. I still had to work consistently and keep up with the work. Everyone’s learning style/speed is different. For me, it was doing past papers, but for you, it may be creating flashcards to remember new vocabulary or idioms.

Let me explain why Language B/Mandarin is different to Maths or Sciences in IB. In group 4 or group 5, you tend to have to finish a chapter/the syllabus 1st before you can start attempting past papers. However, even though there are chapters in the Language B syllabus, one can start it anytime. I made the mistake of overloading myself with past papers. I would say 2-3 past papers a month for each component makes sense. There are 2 components; Reading comprehension and essay (From before 2020) and in the first examinations from 2022, there would also be a listening component. 

Preparing for the Reading Comprehension

To revise for the reading comprehension, I would suggest you read news articles. Most Mandarin Comprehension exams tend to be news articles from different Mandarin-speaking countries (Singapore, Hong Kong, Mainland China and Taiwan). By learning from articles, you will have a better overview of what the exam would be like.  I mainly recommend BBC Chinese or a Singaporean Chinese newspaper called 联合早报

Preparing for the Essay

To prepare for the Mandarin B SL essay, I recommend writing practice! Write multiple essays and get them marked by the Mandarin teacher. The essays tend to have a repeating format, with similar questions being asked. By doing multiple essays, your mind will be familiarised with the format, making your life easier. Here are some Mandarin essays I wrote during my time in the IBDP.

Preparing for the Oral Examination

For the oral, I suggest that you should speak to as many Mandarin-speaking people as possible. Record your speech and ask your teacher for feedback. For learning any language, a proficient person is your best help! Try to get as much feedback from your teacher as you can. In the oral, you will be required to describe things in a picture. Hence, make use of every opportunity you are given to describe your surroundings in Mandarin.

Preparing for the Listening Component

Finally, listening is a new component added to the first language exam in 2022. There aren’t many past papers to practice. However, you can watch Chinese videos discussing the topics covered in lessons. This way, you can hear how Chinese is used in discussions. You can write down specific phrases from these videos to create your own library of vocabulary to help you with the oral!

In conclusion, I hope that I have given you a better understanding of how Language B studies are conducted in the IBDP and how you can revise for them. I would like to wish you 祝你好运、学业顺利(Good luck and hope your studies go well)!


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