GCE O level Higher Chinese (HCL) Oral Exam

O Level Higher Chinese Oral Exam: How to Prepare?

Starting 2016, GCE O level Higher Chinese exam has included the oral examination component,

All students doing Higher Chinese Language (HCL) need to sit for a paper 3 in GCE O Level examination.  Paper 3 for Higher Chinese Language comprises of only the oral component.

As I mentioned in the previous post, although oral examination in Higher Chinese comprises only the oral component, it not only testing the students’ oral skills, but also their listening skills and information gathering skills.

Let me explain in more details what do I mean.

Higher Chinese Language (HCL) Oral examination procedure

Let us find out what is the process of the oral examination.

First of all, when it is the student’s turn, the student will be given a 1o-min preparation time before he/she heading towards the examiners.  They will then be viewing a video clips with a given topic from a computer.

Students need to Sift out the relevant information from the video clips

Students need to give their views about the topics in the video clip.

Hence, when viewing the video clips, students will listen to the narration for relevant information that supporting their view.  Pen and paper will be provided as students need to jot down the points from the narration, and plan for their 2-min oral presentation.

Information gathered should be supporting students’ view point, it must be relevant to the topics / main idea.  So students need to listen to the narration very carefully (listening skills) to sift out the relevant information (information gathering skills).

After the 10 mins preparation, students will be heading to the examiners for the examination.  They are given 2 mins for their presentation (oral skills).

Students need to present ALL the relevant information

During this 2 mins, students will be doing their oral presentation in front of the examiners.

Students are allowed to bring with them the piece of paper they jot down the point and their planning.  They will then make their presentation by presenting ALL relevant information gathered from the video clips.

After the 2 mins presentation, it will follow with the conversation segment.  Examiners will then be asking questions based on the presentation.

Students need to answer 3 to 4 questions

The questions will be based on the information presented by the students during the 2 mins, and some higher order thinking (HOT) questions.

Examiners may be asking student some questions to clarify points that are not clearly explain during the presentation.  Hence, students need to be able to explain themselves clearly.  Besides clarification questions, examiners will also be asking some HOT questions, e.g. what are your suggestions to improve the situation?


Hence, oral examination in HCL not only testing students’ oral skills, but also their listening skills and information gathering skills.


Below is a table summary of the above HCL oral procedure.

The process What students do Things to take note
1 10 mins preparation
  • Students viewing a video clips with a given topic from computer
  • listen for information from the narration to sift out relevant information that supporting their view
  • jot down the points from the narration and video
  • plan for their 2-min oral presentation
  • anticipate questions to be asked in the conversation segment
2 2 mins presentation
  • Students make their presentation in front of the examiners
  • ALL relevant information that support the students’ point of view need to be presented
3 conversation / discussion about the topic
  • Examiners ask questions based on the students’ presentation
  • Questions to clarify some unclear point presented by students
    • Students need to explain their points clearly
  • HOT question
    • students should have anticipated some HOT questions during the preparation time


By now, I hope you will have a better understanding of the requirement of the Higher Chinese Language (HCL) oral examination.

Tips for oral presentation:

DO NOT just dictate the narration from the video clip.

DO sift out the information that support your view.

Below is a table showing the GCE O Level Higher Chinese Language (HCL) Paper 3 format and weightage.

Table 3B -GCE O Level Higher Chinese Language (HCL) Paper 3 Exam formatO Level Higher Chinese Oral Exam

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