The New UK based Mandarin Common Entrance Exam

What is the UK based Common Entrance Exam?  The Common Entrance examinations are used for assessing boys and girls who transfer to senior schools at the ages of 11+ and 13+. The syllabuses are devised and regularly monitored by the Independent Schools Examinations Board, composed of representatives from the The Headmasters' and Headmistresses' Conference, the Girls' Schools Association and The Independent Association of Prep Schools.

All candidates must  take English, Mathematics and Science.
At 13+ they may offer any of the following: French, Geography, German, Greek, History, Latin, Religious Studies, Spanish and from November 2012, Mandarin.

How will the Common Entrance Mandarin work?   It will be available over 2 levels and it is recommended starting at year 4.   Level 1 will be examinable over 30 hours and this would mean that, based on ISEB schools giving their pupils 35-60 minutes of Mandarin lessons per week, it could be completed some time in year 5.  Level 2, which schools will hopefully want their pupils to sit after Level 1,  will be based on 20 hours teaching could be completed in year 6.

How early can the Mandarin CE be taken?  Unlike French, Spanish and German, Mandarin Chinese CE can be taken any time before 11+ /13+.

What time of the year are the examinations?   3 examination date options during the year (November, Jan/Feb and June).  First paper available in November 2012

What resources can be used with the CE?  Level 1 is similar to the Mandarin Chinese Certificate of Achievement. The curriculum and wordlist is based on Primary School Chinese Books 1 and 2.  Level 2 is a more challenging paper and the curriculum and wordlist is based on Primary School Chinese Books 1,2 and 3.  The content of the curriculum is reviewed online in a fun and interactive format via a webportal called

Dragons in Europe are the authors of Common Entrance Mandarin Levels 1 and 2