Language Centre

Chinese (Mandarin) Pre-Intermediate Course

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Key information

1 term per sub-level; 10 weeks per term
Attendance mode
Part-time, online/blended learning

Course overview

Course aim

The course is a natural progression from the Elementary Chinese course. The course consists of three terms (each term consists of 10 weeks) with a continued focus on developing the practical listening, spoken and reading skills of the course participants, but gradually moving on to use the Chinese language to express one’s ideas and viewpoints with a wider range of vocabulary on various topics.

By the end of the course, the participants should be able to engage in discussions of non-specialist current topics. It is also hoped that the participants should develop the ability to read traditional form of Chinese characters, as the textbook comes in both simplified and traditional forms.

Course participants will have the freedom to develop their own vocabulary depending on their interest and will develop the skills to gather information from authentic sources in Chinese. This course is delivered by the Language Centre


The course is taught in English and Chinese and covers the four skills of listening, speaking, reading and writing. There is a good balance between understanding the systems of Chinese grammar and vocabulary, developing the skills of comprehending and producing Chinese in speech and writing, including guided practice in language usage with authentic communicative activities.


The Pre-Intermediate 1 level is based on the textbook: Contemporary Chinese (Textbook 2). Units 10-12.

The Pre-Intermediate 2 and Pre-Intermediate 3 levels are based on:

  • the textbook: HSK Standard Course 3, Author: Jiang Liping
    - ISBN-10 : 7561938187
    - ISBN-13 : 978-7561938188 ·
  • and the workbook: HSK Standard Course 3, Author: Jiang Liping
    - ISBN-10 : 7561938152
    - ISBN-13 : 978-7561938157

Course materials, if not supplied, are not included in the fee but can be purchased from SOAS bookshop, email:

We strongly recommend waiting until your course is confirmed before purchasing the textbook.

Entry requirements and progression route

To be able to join Chinese Pre-Intermediate you need to have completed the Elementary level course in Mandarin Chinese at SOAS Language Centre or have an equivalent knowledge of guided learning hours (approximately 120 hours). The progression route from Chinese Pre-Intermediate 1 is to Chinese Pre-Intermediate 2; from Pre-Intermediate 2 to Pre-Intermediate 3. Upon successful completion of Chinese Pre-Intermediate 3 you will be able to progress to the Intermediate level course in Chinese Mandarin.

Please note, that each term, courses are subject to quorum requirements.

For course dates and information, please see our timetables.


Chinese Pre-Intermediate 1 

(Unit 10-12 P124-P162 Contemporary Chinese Book Two)

By the end of the course, you should be able to:

  • be more confident to use verb complements (directional, resultative etc) to fully express the effect of action verbs
  • talk about recreational activities like theatre and hiking etc
  • explore more verb complements (potential, degree etc) to show the impact of action verbs
  • recount a past event, eg, retrieving of lost property etc
  • use "ba” structure to express an effect or change imposed on a definite object
  • talk about common computer related issues
  • start to discuss environmental issues
  • use “bei” to express passive voice
  • have a bit more cultural understanding on Chinese Operas, hotels, emergency measures and environmental protection

Chinese Pre-Intermediate 2

(Chapter 1-5 P1-P45 HSK Standard Course Book 3)

By the end of the course, you should be able to:

  • further application of resultative complements on talking about immediate and future plans
  • travel preparations
  • further application of directional complements on describing movements
  • expression of the successive occurrence of two actions
  • rhetoric questions/sarcasm
  • expression of existence, description of house interior/shop displays etc
  • description of personalities and characters
  • the accompanying action, multitasking
  • further expression of preference
  • talking about gradual changes
  • differences between the present and the past
  • Chinese proverbs and cultural discussions

Chinese Pre-Intermediate 3

(Chapter 6-10 P46-90 HSK Standard Course Book 3)

By the end of the course, you should be able to:

  • make surveys using potential complements
  • talk about actions which happened in the immediate past
  • talk about long term hobbies
  • talk about goal setting and detailed scheduling
  • express the recurrence of an action
  • use the interrogative pronouns to refer to the same indefinite person, object, or manner
  • express “the more, the more” in Chinese
  • comment on different lifestyles
  • compare lifestyle choices
  • join Chinese proverbs and cultural discussions
  • understand more about Chinese character formation

The above is an indication of content that may be covered over the duration of the course but it could vary depending on the level and progress of students in the class.

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Important notice regarding changes to programmes and modules.

Related information

See the full list of Language Centre short courses in Chinese on the Chinese homepage.

Back to the Language Centre.