What Do Students That Score Level 7 Do To Prepare?
The elusive 7 – the number so many students embarking upon IB Chinese strive for but fear is beyond reach. While Chinese may seem a daunting subject due to its drastic differences to English, scoring a level 7 on the final exam is a feat many students are indeed capable of. Here we provide you with some insider’s guaranteed tips and tricks towards fulfilling your goal of achieving a level 7:
Like any language, the best way to learn vocabulary and familiarize yourself with its grammar is to read as much as you possibly can. Websites such as Chairman’s Bao, Purple Culture, Slow Chinese, magazines such as 讀者, collections of short stories or even just a local newspaper or all great resources to use. Many websites even let you pick articles of varying difficulty to cater to your level of Chinese. As you read the articles and stumble across words you’re not familiar with, make a note of them and collate a bank of all the new vocabulary you’ve learned, as well as how they’re used in sentences. Reading is also a great way to learn more complicated sentence structures you can use to enhance the fluency of your writing and comprehension.
All students should know that while Google Translate may be the immediate go to translation website, it’s translations are often inaccurate. Students should instead download translation apps like BravoLol which lets you know if a vocabulary word is an idiom, and provides multiple translations of Chinese words.
Especially formats and topics you don’t feel too comfortable with so that you feel confident responding to a variety of text types and prompts by the time exams come around. By practicing responding to previous questions, you’ll soon learn that there is significant overlap between the prompts, making you better able to predict the potential exam questions. Studying the mark schemes will also give you a general idea of key points to include within each topic and prompt. Get these essays marked by your teacher and ask for comprehensive feedback, so that by the time exams come around, you can just study a bank of responses you’ve collated, knowing what to improve on and targeting possible exam questions.
As bizarre as this may sound, watching Chinese TV shows (preferably with both Chinese and English subtitles) is a great way to enhance your listening skills and accustom yourself with conversational Chinese for your orals. Of course, make sure you’re watching these shows in restricted quantities!
The topics that can come up in an oral can be quite unpredictable, causing most students to feel unprepared and especially nervous. It’s important to remember that orals are definitely doable if you put in the time and effort. For example, prepare a skeleton for each potential speech with rough guidelines outlining what points to mention and how these points will be outlined. Then, practice giving speeches with each possible talk and recording them as you go so you can play them back and listen for any errors in intonation or break in clarity. It’s always a good idea to ask your teacher to listen to them and to give you feedback on how you can improve your speaking. Remember, always start slow, emphasizing the intonation of each word until you’re familiar with them well enough to speak quickly yet accurately.
Get your hands on as many past papers as possible. At the end of the day, the way to maximize your performance on an exam paper is to know what to expect. Accustom yourself to all the possible types of questions they could ask you so that you’re prepared to answer them without any doubt on what the questions may mean. Practicing reading comprehension can also help you improve your strategy, training yourself to look for keywords in the questions and the corresponding passage so you can save time.
The articles you get in your reading paper and the prompts in the writing paper will all fall within the five topics of the IB syllabus – Cultural Diversity, Customs and Traditions, Health, Leisure, Science and Technology. There are some major topics you’ll be able to prepare for given that they have a high likelihood of coming up, such as Chinese New Year and Environmental Protection. Having key knowledge of these topics that you can fall back upon in the exam – especially writing – such as sophisticated sentences and information about the meaning behind Chinese festivals will definitely make the exam experience easier for you. Therefore, create a bank of notes for each topic, focusing on questions that are likely to come up, so that you are well prepared to write out a well-crafted, effectively formulated and informative piece in Paper 2. For example, you’ll probably have notes left over from scripts you wrote for your interactive orals and individual orals – don’t create more work for yourself, use the notes in those scripts instead!
Following these tips and working consistently during the two years is guaranteed to show you progress throughout your IB Chinese career. Remember, while Chinese may seem like a difficult language to master, getting a level 7 is definitely possible if you don’t let your weaknesses deter you, but instead focus on improving them. Most importantly – try and enjoy what you’re learning, because while you are sitting an exam, at the end of the day you’re learning how to communicate with and make yourself accessible to an entirely new culture – the perfect conduit for new connections and ideas.
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