Well, the second semester is over! I really can't believe how quickly 18 weeks has gone by, it seems like just yesterday that I was heading in to register for the new semester! All I have now is 4 weeks for a third semester, and then on to the summer break. So, exams...
口语 - It's really strange to me that we sit a speaking exam which is completely written. I have a general complaint about language exams anyway, as I just don't think a two hour exam can really be indicative of how well you grasp a language, but I feel that this is even more true in a speaking exam with no speaking! All that to say, I find writing far easier than speaking, and I think the exam went fairly well. I only have my comprehensive grade at the moment, so I'm not sure how I did, but I think I passed without too many issues. This exam had a section where we had to look at the character and write the pinyin, then vice versa. There was a section of correcting incorrect sentences. Then a section of completing a dialogue. I think also one more but I can't remember what it was. The hardest part for me was the sentences - most of them were fine, but there were a couple where I wasn't entirely sure what the mistake was, and so I might have inadvertently corrected something that didn't need to be corrected. An example (as best as I can remember) - ...介绍得热情。 I figured the mistake must either be an incorrect use of 热情, or an incorrect use of 得。 So I had to choose whether to go with 热情地介绍，or 介绍得很清楚。I went with the latter, and still don't know which I should have gone with, or if neither of those was correct!
阅读 - No significant problems here. I know I made some small mistakes here and there but I don't think there was anything huge. Some of the questions were linking characters together to form words, writing the pinyin for characters and then making our own words (I messed up a tone or two here), various comprehension questions, and then a true/false set of questions based on a longer text.
听力 - Absolute nightmare. I hate listening. Not listening to Chinese in general, but listening classes, books and audio! For this exam we were in a big lecture hall with rows that increase in height as you walk up steps towards the back. I was near the back and the audio reverberated around the whole room, making it very unclear. Other students I spoke to from various places around the room had the same complaint. There was a little bit of guesswork here, and being as the questions all came from the book we had studied, a few that I know I got correct from memory! As usual the 'mark the tones on the pinyin' section was the worst. Pretty sure I passed, but not expecting a particularly good score!
综合 - Surprisingly hard this time, but I managed to get a 91.5 and remain at the top of the class, so I am thrilled! First section was 20 words that we had to expand on (given something like 礼仪，and you have to think up something that fits - 外交礼仪），write the opposite to the given word (given 清楚，need to write 模糊), measure words (hardest was 心意，which thankfully a classmate reminded me right before the exam was 片), say whether various sentences are correct or not, organize sentences (given a load of words and you have to put them in the correct order), few comprehension questions, then finally write 120+ characters on your first birthday in China. Hardest here by a mile was organizing the sentences. They were really, really difficult for some reason. I told my teacher I was quite disappointed at how I handled that section. I knew I had a couple wrong, but as all the words are given to you, I should have sat there trying different combinations until I got it or there was no time left.
Anyway, all in all exams went pretty well. As this has been a long post I'm not going to write an end of semester report, but I will do at the end of the next semester (a first year report).