10 Chinese vocabulary words every IB Chinese student should know

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The International Baccalaureate: Daunting, scary, and yet, the most highly prized diploma for any high school student aiming to go to university. Do you have what it takes? Here are 10 of our favourite Chinese vocabulary words that you NEED to learn if you want to survive IB!

国际文凭 (Guó jì wén píng) – International Baccalaureate

Of course, its always good to know the name of the course you’re doing. 国际 means international while 文凭means diploma or basically a recognition of academic achievement.

考试 (Kǎo shì) – Examination

No diploma is complete without the inclusion of these. Gruelling and tedious, you’re going to be spending hours late at night, burning the midnight oil to revise for your 考试.

拓展性论文 (Tà zhǎn xìng lùn wén) – Extended Essay

拓展性means “expanded” while 论文means “essay”. Part of IB Core, this 4000-word research paper is going to be the author of all your pain for the greater part of half a year. Best choose a topic that you enjoy – like Chinese!

知识理论 (Zhī shì lǐ lùn) – Theory of Knowledge

知识 means “knowledge” while 理论means “theory”. Theory of Knowledge is every IB student’s favorite part of the curriculum. After all, who doesn’t enjoy spending hours debating the usefulness of epistemology theories while questioning the validity of your own existence and other things you took for granted? Like, to what extent is water actually wet???

高水平 (Gāo shuǐ píng xué) – Higher Level

Your 3 (or if you’re brave, 4) higher level subjects. Expect these to be to the greater source of your misery for the next two years. Eventually you’ll be so burned out you’re going to search for solace in your standard level subjects. Speaking of which…

标准水平 (Biāo zhǔn shuǐ píng) – Standard Level

Hopefully these subjects will give you a bit of breather from time to time. But don’t pause too long! You’re still going to need a 7 in them if you want to have any chance of getting into your preferred university. Notice that 水平appears in both the vocabulary for standard and higher level; that’s because it means “level” while the words preceding it refer to the type.

贿赂 (Huì lù) – Bribe

In case you ever find yourself failing a test, clip one of these onto your paper and hand it in to the invigilator. 贿赂can come in the form of a $500 note or, in the case of my HL Maths teacher, a packet of ketchup would do just fine.

救命 (Jiù mìng) – Help

The eventual cry of despair that will instinctively escape from your mouth as the invigilator wrestles your unfinished test paper away from you and drag you out of the exam hall. Note that 救命 translates literally to “save my life” but I suppose that doesn’t really deviate much from reality either.

压力 (Yā lì) – Pressure

Your most faithful (and unwanted) companion on your IB journey. Math assessment due two weeks. History exam in one week. Economics paper in three days. 压力 will always keep you on your feet so all you have to do is not collapse. After all, it only gets worse once you head off to college.

四十五 (Sì shí wǔ) – Forty five

That golden number that all 100,000 IB students in the world worship. In the end, you’ll step over your own grave to get predicted with a 四十五. But no matter if you don’t get it; community college is always an acceptable option.

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