Learning Chinese can open doors in almost every area you can imagine. From travelling or working in areas related to the travel industry,y through to a vibrant career in entertainment or science! NCEA Chinese provides an environment for New Zealand students to thrive while learning to communicate in Chinese and appreciate all Chinese culture can provide.

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Why Study NCEA Chinese? Can You read this? Image by 이정임 lee from Pixabay
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Why Study NCEA Chinese?

With the exciting number of subjects that Kiwi students can take in high school, it can be hard to work out which subjects will be best. Even if you don't know where you want to be once you leave high school, the New Zealand curriculum places a lot of value on languages. This is now a topic specifically taught from primary school.

As the New Zealand curriculum says:

Languages are inseparably linked to the social and cultural contexts in which they are used. Languages and cultures play a key role in developing our personal, group, national, and human identities. Every language has its own ways of expressing meanings; each has intrinsic value and special significance for its users.

Chinese is the most widely spoken language globally, with over 1.31 billion speakers – and this number continues to grow.

The Chinese economy is also one of the world's fastest growing economies, providing untold opportunities for those who understand the culture and can communicate fluently.

Of course, passing NCEA Chinese can also provide you with an immediate financial incentive. Several New Zealand tertiary institutions offer scholarships for students gaining Excellence credits. Students gaining NCEA Chinese at a scholarship level can potentially be awarded up to $30,000.

Fortunes and good luck chinese symbols
NCEA Chinese Scholarship can make your fortunes and wishes come true. Image by Jing from Pixabay

NCEA Chinese Scholarship Guide

NCEA is a fantastic system that allows for students to work to their strengths and interests while still gaining a well-rounded education. While most high school students have come to grips with the way NCEA works, many parents still struggle with the different levels. They can be taken at different times, and then there is scholarship.

Students finding NCEA Chinese engrossing can look at working towards sitting NCEA Chinese Scholarship, which is above and beyond NCEA Chinese Level 3 (typically taken in Year 13).

The two main benefits of working towards NCEA Chinese Scholarship are:

  • Financial reward
  • Increased knowledge

For gaining just one NCEA scholarship subject, a student will get $500; for gaining three or more at an "Outstanding Performance" level and being in the top 10 students throughout New Zealand, the financial reward can be up to $30,000.

In addition, many of the Universities in New Zealand are looking to entice students with exceptional knowledge and work ethic, so they may offer incentives for students who choose to attend their institution. At the very least, achieving NCEA Scholarship in Chinese will open University doors worldwide and make getting into your chosen course a lot easier.

Think of NCEA Chinese at the Scholarship level as being an imaginary "Level 4". You are expected to have the same knowledge that you do to achieve an Excellence in NCEA Chinese. Still, you have just the extra knowledge and more in-depth understanding. Neither Excellence nor Scholarship will be achieved without focus, dedication, and the ability to study well.

Studying NCEA Chinese is more than just hitting the books
NCEA Chinese Study Guide Image by naturepost from Pixabay

NCEA Chinese Study Guide

Studying any language requires consistency. Unfortunately, you cannot "cram" vocabulary lists and expect to communicate in Chinese. Even more, because Chinese doesn't use the Latin alphabet, there is no chance that you might accidentally pass by being able to guess a few close words.

While flashcards can be a controversial technique for memorisation, the basic idea of timed repetition is sound. You need to be exposed to the vocabulary, written and spoken, often and regularly to remember it.

This means finding as many ways to consume Chinese content as possible. Yes, this also means that you can justify watching epic Chinese cinema and saying that you're studying – as long as you're watching in the original Chinese without English subtitles (Chinese subtitles are OK).

NCEA Revision Tips: How to Tackle Chinese Exam Questions

Your internal assessment for NCEA Chinese will mean standing in front of a mirror and watching yourself deliver a presentation. To pass your NCEA Chinese exam, you can take this further but recording yourself speaking and getting your tutor to provide feedback.

The key thing to remember about passing NCEA Chinese at all levels is being asked to demonstrate how well you communicate. It is not enough to just be a walking Google Translate app; you need to show how you understand the cultures and explain the differences. If a question is talking about what to bring to a party, do you know what would be acceptable and what would be offensive? Having a strong cultural awareness allows you to offer answers that show your ability to read in-between the lines.

Learning Chinese can expose New Zealand students to a vibrant culture that is both similar and wildly different from what we know. Being able to show that you understand these similarities and differences highlights that you can communicate with nuance.

So, to improve your ability to revise for NCEA Chinese, read and watch what you can. Look at new papers and media outlets that publish in Chinese, watch the Chinese shopping network, read Chinese language music blogs. As you are consuming Chinese content, notice the similarities and differences between your own cultures – and if you can, write your own blog about your learning journey (in Chinese, of course).

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Past exams for NCEA Chinese show you the in-depth knowledge you can use. Image by 愚木混株 Cdd20 from Pixabay
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NCEA Chinese Past Exam Papers

Working your way through the last few years of NCEA Chinese exam papers, the NZQA is usually the first thing students think to do when exam season looms. However, if you can start working through these in Term 2, you will find that these provide an amazing learning resource.

Not only are you provided with the resource booklets to practice your reading skills, but you can also download all the audio files that were used and the transcripts that weren't available during the exam.

Go through and listen to the audio files to test how much you know and understand. After you have listened to the whole file a few times (each file will play through three times), and taken notes each time, listen again while reading the transcript.

  • Which areas were you spot on?
  • What areas did you get completely wrong?
  • What interesting information did you miss?

Those are the areas that you should be focusing on for study, and this is the point at which you should be bringing a tutor is to help you improve your understanding and comprehension.

As you read the resource booklets, this also provides you with an excellent opportunity to find what sort of texts you find easiest to read and what type of text you might need to spend more time looking at. Do you find it easy to read formal news articles but struggle with informal letters? How about image-heavy advertisements?

While this will give you a great indication of where you can spend your time reading, don't forget that you are studying NCEA Chinese to be able to communicate and enjoy Chinese, so don't neglect the areas you find interesting just because you already feel confident that you can read them. Maybe use those as a treat after battling through a heavy text.

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Previous NCEA Chinese students have shared their exam work. Image by An Wang from Pixabay

Accessing Previous Students Marked NCEA Chinese Exams

The NZQA website provides "exemplars". These are the same exam from past years that you can download, but they are the actual exam a student has completed which has been graded. The assessor who marked the exam also provides feedback as to how they came to the grade and what the student could do to achieve a higher mark.

This information is absolutely invaluable, whether you are working with a tutor who can mark your practice exams or not. Exemplars provide clear guidelines for the different achievement levels, so you can get a good indication of how your own work might be graded and where you need to improve.

Practising with Exams from a different level

Because you can access past exams from any NCEA Chinese level, you can use lower-level exams early in the year to build your confidence. Be wary about relying on past exams outside of your year level.

Each NCEA Chinese level has a slightly different focus. For example, NCEA Chinese Level 1 focuses more on personal aspects. At the same time, NCEA Chinese Level 2 looks at familiar but external topics. NCEA Chinese Level 3 extends a student's knowledge and encourages a wide variety of topics and the ability to express options.

Embracing The NCEA Chinese Experience

We are lucky to live in a global world and in a country that encourages us to enjoy and appreciate various cultures. Studying NCEA Chinese provides valuable education that will allow students to thrive in tertiary education, in travel, and in whatever career options they may choose.

As the Chinese Proverb says:  Be not afraid of growing slowly, be afraid only of standing still.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Alison