A Complete Guide to IB Chinese in Singapore by Our Top IB Chinese Tutors

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The Complete Guide to IB Chinese (SL) in Singapore

The International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme (IBDP) is known as one of the most rigorous educational programme. The syllabus strives to develop students who have an extended breadth and depth of knowledge and are able to excel and flourish under the rigorous programme. Under the IBDP course, students are to study 6 subjects, one from each subject group, together with other components such as the Extended Essay (EE) and Theory of Knowledge (TOK). This rigorous, and foreign programme may be something that students and parents have not traditionally been exposed to, which may result in anxieties and worries. However, not to worry – here at MindFlex, we have put together an ultimate Guide to IB Chinese, together with some resources and tips that will definitely be helpful for IB students.

1. An Overview to IB Chinese

IBDP students are expected to study one course from each subject group, Group 1 to Group 6. Under Group 2, students are to take a language subject other than English. Most students in Singapore opt for Language B, where they study a language they have been exposed to prior to the IBDP course, either at the Standard Level (SL) or Higher Level (HL). HL Chinese is likened to taking Literature in Chinese, and is only opted by a small group of Singaporean students. Most students in Singapore, instead, opt for SL Chinese as their Language B subject. Hence, in this article, we will only be focusing on the SL Chinese syllabus and exam format. 

At the IB level, IB Chinese focuses heavily on language acquisition and providing students with necessary skills and understanding to communicate successfully in Chinese. Students are expected to further develop their ability to communicate through the study of the Chinese language, themes and texts, and to develop skills beyond the Primary/Secondary level. 

As with all language subjects, students generally find it hard to study for it, resulting in lowered motivations in doing well in IB Chinese. Instead, what students tend to do is to focus on their other IB subjects instead, and attempt to do last minute revision right before their IB Chinese examinations. This, of course, is not a healthy learning habit. Instead, IB Chinese students need to be consistent in their language mastery and build upon their foundational skills in order to score well in IB Chinese. The honing of Chinese language skills requires immense determination and proper practice – which might be absent in some students. Here at MindFlex, we have a large pool of 5,000+ experienced IB Chinese Tutors who are qualified to help IB Chinese students.

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2. Objectives of IB Chinese (SL)

The primary objectives of the IB Chinese course is to: 

  • Develop international-mindedness through studying the Chinese language, cultures and ideas, as well as linkages to global significance
  • Enable students to communicate in Chinese, in a variety of contexts and situations 
  • Encourage awareness and appreciation of different perspectives of people from diverse cultures
  • Develop understanding of relationships between language and culture
  • Develop awareness of importance of Chinese in other areas of knowledge
  • Provide opportunities for intellectual engagement and development of critical and creative-thinking skills

By the end of the course, students are also expected to be able to:

  • Communicate clearly and effectively in different contexts and situations
  • Understand and use the Chinese language in expressing themselves
  • Express and respond to ideas with fluency and accuracy
  • Identify, organise and present ideas on different topics/situations
  • Understand and analyse a variety of written, audio, visual and audio-visual texts

More information can be found under the IBO syllabus.

3. IB Chinese Exam Format

The IB Chinese assessment comprises both External Assessments and Internal Assessments. The External Assessment makes 75% of the grade, and comprises Paper 1 (Writing) and Paper 2 (Listening & Reading). The Internal Assessment, at 25%, includes an Individual Oral Assessment.

IB Chinese Infographic

Here’s a summary of the new IB Chinese (SL) syllabus!

3.1. External Assessment (75%)

Paper 1 (Productive Skills):
30 marks, Writing
The paper will consist of 3 questions based on the themes of the IB Chinese syllabus. Students are to pick 1 out of the 3 questions and write an essay.

Paper 2 (Receptive Skills)
65 marks, Listening & Reading
In Paper 2, the paper is split into different sections – Listening (25 marks) and Reading (40 marks). 

3.1.1. Challenges Faced in External Assessment

In the External Assessment, IB Chinese students usually struggle with organisation and time management. Many struggle with organising their ideas in both the Paper 1 and Paper 2 sections, and are unable to phrase their thoughts into clear, concise and coherent sentences in Chinese. Furthermore, given the time constraint posing as an additional stress factor, students often find it hard to put their thoughts onto paper in time, hence, often sacrifice the quality of their essays in order to complete the essay in time. In addition, given that the IB Chinese syllabus focuses a lot on real-life and global issues, many students struggle with content mastery; which is made even harder as students have to be aware of various terminology in Chinese.

3.1.2. How To Score in External Assessment

With any language-based subjects, it is crucial for students to build a good foundation through consistent usage and practice of Chinese. Students should strive to expose themselves to Chinese-related materials weekly, if not daily – which can be done through simple things such as watching Chinese news, reading Chinese papers or conversing with family or friends in Mandarin. Additionally, to improve on idea generation for the Essay component, students are encouraged to practise writing essays of different themes and topics, or to read up on more model essays in order to be exposed to more question types and writing styles.

3.2. Internal Assessment (25%)

Individual Oral Assessment
30 marks
Students will be provided a visual image related to 1 or more themes under the IB syllabus. Students are expected to comment on the image provided.

3.2.1. Challenges Faced in Internal Assessment

Students often overlook the components in the Internal Assessment due to its low weightage. However, this should not be the case! If prepared well, students can score well and it can effectively help in achieving 7 points for their IB Chinese. In addition, students are often unable to organise their thoughts during the Oral Assessment, resulting in them panicking and not being able to process and articulate their thoughts into words effectively.

3.1.2. How To Score in Internal Assessment

Similar to the External Assessment components, the Oral Assessment also focuses a lot on general affairs surrounding the themes covered by the IB Chinese syllabus – hence it is definitely beneficial for students to consistently be exposed to general affairs and read up more on the themes. By familiarising with relevant information and sentence structures of different topics and themes, students will definitely find it easier to generate ideas during their Oral Assessment. Read on for more tips on how to generate ideas easily!

4. IB Chinese Tips and Resources

With the huge amount of challenges listed above, together with the other content-heavy IB subjects to juggle, taking IB Chinese, even at Standard Level, definitely seems daunting. Here at MindFlex, we have compiled a short list of tips and resources to score for IB Chinese. 

4.1. IB Chinese Tips

1. Familiarise Yourself With The Content

Given the IB Chinese’s focus on application to general affairs and themes, being attuned to such themes might not come naturally to most students. Hence, MindFlex recommends staying consistent in content mastery, which can be done through disciplining oneself to pay attention to news of such themes. This can be done through reading or watching the news in Chinese every single day. In addition, it can definitely be useful if students are able to read extensively! Students can aim to read at least 1 or 2 Chinese novels, on top of daily news reading. Reading can be done in the form of hardcopy books from the library, or on apps such as Libby, which is an online book borrowing app by NLB, targeted at making reading easy and accessible, on-the-go and at any time of the day.

2. Start A Content Bank

With so much emphasis on content mastery in IB Chinese, it can be beneficial if students are able to consolidate all the content they have been exposed to, into one place. This can be done through starting a content bank, either in a physical notebook or on a note-taking app such as Notion. This way, students are able to note down any key points or arguments when reading up on certain issues, allowing them to internalise the content. This will provide students with a bird’s eye view of all the relevant content, making it much easier when revising before examinations.

3. Sticking To A Study Plan

At this age, students are unfortunately exposed to multiple distractions ranging from friends, technology and extracurricular activities. Coupled with the intense rigour of the IB syllabus, students might find it hard to focus on studying, especially for their SL subjects such as IB Chinese. Hence, it is necessary for students to craft a study plan and, of course, stick to it. It is also worth noting, though, to create a study plan that is both feasible and realistic – it is definitely too impractical to plan a schedule that is all study and no rest; similarly, it is not feasible if you plan to study only an hour a day.

With a study schedule, students will be able to schedule their time better, allowing pockets of time to catch up with rest and social life. With this sense of structure and discipline, students will also be more likely to stick to the plan, and remain on top of the IB Chinese curriculum.

Students can plan a study schedule using their school planner, or get started with these free printables.

4. Seek Additional Help Early

We understand how hard the Chinese language may be for some, especially those who come from English-speaking backgrounds and are not exposed to Chinese on the regular. Students from such families have to spend extra time and effort learning the language in school – and might find themselves discouraged easily whenever they do not see large improvements. Hence, it might be beneficial to get external help! With IB Chinese Tuition, students will have an allocated amount of time every week for targeted, personalised help in Chinese. With tutors, students will receive more in-depth guidance that schools might not provide. 

Here at MindFlex, our IB Chinese Tutors are extremely well-versed with the IB Chinese syllabus, and we have a range of different tutor options to suit your needs and budgets! Part-Time Tutors are the most affordable option, and they have experience in taking the IB Chinese examination, hence will be able to give first-hand tips and tricks on how to improve and do well in the IB Chinese examination. If you’d like a more qualified option, we even have native speakers who are highly trained and qualified to guide students in their Chinese!

4.2. IB Chinese Resources

We understand how hard it might be to find IB Chinese resources, especially since the IBDP curriculum is still relatively new and unorthodox in Singapore. Hence, we’ve compiled our top 5 resources that we believe will come in handy!

1. Study Guide to Chinese B Individual Oral Assessment

This book is ideal for IB Chinese students as a guidebook for the Individual Oral Assessment. It is compiled by frontline teachers with years of IB teaching experience, and is catered directly towards the frameworks of the 5 teaching themes of IB Chinese. Through this book, it aims to help students form diversified ways of thinking and gain a deep understanding of the Chinese culture and language.

IB Chinese Oral Guidebook

With this guidebook, students can achieve IB Chinese mastery.


2. IBDP Chinese B Listening and Reading

This guidebook, with several series/volumes, features articles reflecting Chinese daily life and are all specifically curated according to the five themes stipulated in the IBDP. Through this series of books, students can improve their Chinese reading and listening comprehension and gain a better understanding of Chinese society and culture. All reading and listening exercises included are written according to the requirements of the new 2020 IB syllabus.

IB Chinese Listening and Reading

With this, students under the new 2020 IB Chinese syllabus will be exposed to helpful resources.

3. Quizlet

Quizlet is an online learning flashcard tool which aims to help make learning more engaging and interactive. Apart from utilising flashcard sets already on the app, users can create their own sets – allowing it to be more personalised and catered to the user’s needs. Quizlet is available on both the Apple App Store and Google Play

In addition, view these ready-made Quizlet IB Chinese flashcards on IB Chinese SL and Conjunctions.

Quizlet App

Get targeted flashcard practice for IB Chinese with Quizlet.

4. IB Chinese Tuition

If students are finding it hard to improve their Chinese language skills alone, it might not be entirely their fault! Some students learn better when guided, and there’s no better way to seek guidance than from a reputable IB Chinese Tuition! MindFlex has sieved through the vast number of IB Tuition options in Singapore and we’ve collated a list of IB Chinese Tuition Centres for you to try out.

5. MindFlex IB Chinese Home Tutors

We understand how packed IB students’ schedules are, and fitting in an extra few hours for lessons might be tough – not to mention the travel times that might be incurred if the tuition centre is far away. With MindFlex Home Tutoring, however, learn with a peace of mind, at the comfort of your own homes. While there might be misconceptions that the quality of Home Tutoring might not be on par with other establishments – that is in fact, inaccurate! Our Home Tutors are experienced and qualified, and students can pick their IB Chinese Tutor based on their preferences and requirements. For example, we have Part-Time IB Chinese Tutors whose rates start from $40 an hour, who have had rich experiences taking the IB examinations themselves, hence are qualified to provide recent experiences and tips that can definitely come in handy for students. We also have a wide range of ex-MOE and current MOE IB Chinese Tutors who have a wealth of experience and are more than qualified to guide students in their IB Chinese.

5. Conclusion

As with any other language-based subject, students might find it hard to study for the examinations as there is no ‘perfect’ answer. Rather, what is crucial in language subjects such as IB Chinese is the foundational skills and content mastery, as well as enough practice in the language itself. Without building a solid foundation and instilling passion in the subject, students will easily find themselves losing motivation and desire to study and do well for the subject.

However, IB Chinese need not be a dread – with the right coaching and guidance, students should find IB Chinese a breeze. Here at MindFlex, our qualified tutors are dedicated and ready to put in the hours to personalise lesson plans in order to target students’ weaknesses, helping them improve through multiple teaching methods.

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