Everything You Should Know About Higher Chinese in Primary and Secondary School

Higher Chinese is an elective provided to students at the elementary and secondary levels. Higher Chinese education is intended to assist individuals with talent, enthusiasm, and fluency in Chinese to increase their standards by studying at a higher level and expanding their cultural understanding.

What are the examination formats like?

Higher Chinese includes around 20% more words in each chapter than the standard PSLE Chinese, and these words are also more complex. Composition and comprehension tests are the only ones given to students of Higher Chinese (no oral and listening components)

Writing is emphasised for secondary students doing O level Higher Chinese. Hence, Paper 1 has two compositions (writing an email and 1 essay). For Paper 2, comprehension and summary will be tested.

When is Higher Chinese available?

It depends on the school, though most schools teach Higher Chinese at the Primary 5 level as an elective. However, some institutions, such as St. Hilda’s Primary school, provide it as early as the second grade.

What are the prerequisites for Higher Chinese?

Most primary schools would let you enrol in Higher Chinese if you earned at least 70 points in primary 4 standard Chinese.

For the Secondary level, 11-30% of the cohort with an A* mark in Chinese or at least a Merit in Higher Chinese PSLE will be entitled to take Higher Chinese. In addition, students who scored in the top 10 per cent on the PSLE are qualified for Higher Chinese.

Is the workload in Higher Chinese greater?

Upper-level Chinese students from SAP schools like RGS, VS and SCGS were required to memorise vast quantities of texts and phrases to prepare for exams.

In Paper 2, they must cope with lengthy comprehension sections and the summary portion, which demand a robust vocabulary to paraphrase the themes. In addition to the difficulty of guessing the near passage, pupils also struggle in this area.

Consequently, there are more topics to cover than standard Chinese; your child must be psychologically prepared for this.

What are the advantages of learning Higher Chinese in elementary and secondary school?

Primary pupils applying to a SAP / IP secondary school will benefit from taking Higher Chinese in primary school, especially PSLE. In addition, you will have a more robust foundation in the language, making it easier to continue taking Higher Chinese in secondary school. All students are required to study Higher Mother Tongue in IP secondary schools.

Should you enrol in Standard Chinese or Higher Chinese?

Yes, you should take Higher Chinese if you or your child have a strong interest in the Chinese Language and Culture and want to enrol in an IP or SAP school.

For instance, if your child likes watching Channel 8 or U programming, reading Chinese articles on social media, or reading Chinese fiction novels and literature, they have already mastered the fundamentals. However, indicative of a greater degree of skill in the language is whether or not your youngster is eager to contribute to online Chinese journals or blogs. Therefore, consider enrolling your child in a Higher Chinese programme.

If you or your child have a weak foundation in Chinese at the elementary level and dislike learning it, there is no use in forcing them to study at a more complex level and making life unpleasant. Remember that your child must manage 7-9 topics at the O level and that Higher Chinese is a difficult subject that may be avoided.