Mandarin Chinese Upper Intermediate B2.1 - LA556

Location Term Level Credits (ECTS) Current Convenor 2019-20
Canterbury Spring
View Timetable
5 15 (7.5)


This module is for students who studied LA555 or have equivalent proficiency in Mandarin.


Mandarin Chinese language can be studied at any academic level provided that prerequisites are met.

If you have studied Mandarin Chinese before but you have not taken one of our lower level module, you will need to take a placement test. The test is used as a guide to assess your knowledge of Mandarin Chinese.

Placement Test:
Please submit the mark sheet and the questionnaire to the Convenor of the relevant module (their details are on the downloadable documents). The Convenor will contact you for further information if necessary.



The curriculum will focus on living in China. Students are encouraged to listen to the news and watch the popular programmes in Mandarin Chinese to understand current affairs and issues around the world and in China. Topics for listening, speaking, reading and writing with a proficiency equivalent to lower B2 level on the CEFR, will include:
• important Chinese festivals and traditions: explaining the traditions of the festivals; giving details of the symbolic meanings of the traditional festival activities and the variety of food eaten during the festivals; comparing Chinese traditional festivals and Western festivals.
• reporting stolen items.
• understanding weather forecasts and discussing extreme weather conditions.
• applying for a job: writing a satisfactory CV.
• grammar useful for communicating with Mandarin Chinese native speakers at lower B2 level, for example: imperative sentences, passive construction, etc.
The cultural aspects around the above topic areas will be taught through seminars and the means of Mandarin Chinese language course books, video and audio materials as well as through the sharing of experiences between the tutor and students.
There will be a balance between communicative activities, and understanding of vocabulary and grammatical structures. Students will be expected to use the range of resources available to them in the library and on the Moodle page for self-study.


This module appears in:

Contact hours

3 seminar hours per week over 10 weeks, 30 seminar hours in total. 10 hours per week independent study over 12 weeks including Reading weeks, 120 total independent study hours. Total study hours for the module: 150 hours.


Core textbook: £15.99 approximately
*Students who have taken LA555 and bought the textbook for it do not need to buy an additional core-textbook.

Method of assessment

This module will be assessed by 80% In-Course Test and 20% Course Assignment.
In-course tests 80%:
• Listening 20%, 30 minutes
• Reading 20%, 45 minutes
• Writing 20%, 45 minutes
• Speaking 20%, up to 5 minutes
Students will have a conversation of up to five minutes with the examiner. The conversation topics are related to the topics covered in this module.
Course assignment 20%: Cultural research and writing.
Students will research a cultural topic drawn from the topics studied in this module and will write a text in Mandarin Chinese of 500 characters demonstrating cultural knowledge and expressing their own opinions. Students will also need to complete a self-reflective sheet.

Indicative reading

Core-textbook: Zhang, G., Li, L. & Suen, L. (2014) Chinese in Steps, Vol. 3, London: Sinolingua London Ltd. ISBN-13: 978-1907838125

See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

Learning outcomes

Use Mandarin Chinese, in 4 skills (Listening, Reading Speaking and Writing), with a proficiency equivalent to lower B2 level (Independent User) on the CEFR. See the table below for reference.
• read and hand write approximately an additional 300 Mandarin characters at a level equivalent to lower B2 on the CEFR;
• demonstrate a familiarity with Mandarin Chinese vocabulary equivalent to lower B2 level on CEFR;
• demonstrate a strong understanding of information from a wide range of situations and identify general messages and specific details in the target language, provided the speech is articulated in a generally standard accent;
• communicate on a good range of topics with varieties of expressions in the target language;
• demonstrate a deep understanding of the life and multiple cultures of the target language countries.


Students who complete this module successfully can progress onto LA538 which is level 6 Lower Advanced C1.1.

University of Kent makes every effort to ensure that module information is accurate for the relevant academic session and to provide educational services as described. However, courses, services and other matters may be subject to change. Please read our full disclaimer.