I believe I said in my first entry that this blog was actually mainly for myself, so that I could look back four years down the line and see how far (hopefully!) I have come. I do of course hope this may be of help to others also, and because of that I will just apologize in advance for any time that I may repeat myself, as it is bound to happen!
With that out of the way, I can talk about week 9! I got my results back from my 综合考试 and I got 91%, which was also the best grade in our class, so I am pretty pleased with that, especially in light of the stupid mistake I know I made. I even got a present - one of those ornament things you hang on the wall with the tassles on the bottom, and it has HIT etc. written on the back! Around half the class failed (less than 60% here), with some getting as low as 20%. Unsurprisingly it was mainly the students that haven't been coming to class that failed, surprisingly, I attended classes this week with less than 10 out of the 26 students in my class, after we had gotten our results! Our teacher said overall he was 不太满意，which I think is completely understandable. For those of us that did well though he was incredibly encouraging, and he both shared the areas many students did really well in, and areas which we want to work on to improve. The rest of my 综合课 this week was going back over a lot of the new words we have studied in the second book, lots of dictation stuff, finishing up with a sort of practice test on Friday. Next week we start the third and final book that we bought at the start of the semester. I assume we will move on to the second level of this book series next semester. My teacher told me to just start going through the vocab at the back of the new book and learning any Hanzi I don't know. I had a look through and there's maybe 20 or so new ones, so I will learn those along with all the other vocab I am picking up in class.
My listening exam seemed to go ok. I really struggle with hearing tones, especially differentiating 2nd and 3rd. There were a few questions where we had to mark tones, and thankfully I knew most of the words from the context, even though they were written in pinyin, and so I was pretty much able to mark the tones before even hearing the audio, and then just confirm them when I heard them. I guess that's helpful for an exam, but no good for new words! That actually reminds me of a point my teacher made when he gave us our results for 综合 which I found quite interesting - I had asked in a previous class what happens if we write pinyin instead of a Hanzi as we don't know how to write it, and I was told we get half marks (only at this stage, not later on). So I then asked what about if we try and write the Hanzi but get it wrong, and was told we don't get any marks. Once the exam was over, our teacher said during exams, just go with what we know and make it simple. He said it's better to write a simple text of 200 Hanzi than a shorter, more complicated one with lots of mistakes, as it'll really knock our score down. He said anytime EXCEPT for exams, we should be doing it the other way round - try new words, new grammar structures etc. I found this to be very helpful, because at first it annoyed me that you could get a better mark for going back to pinyin than for at least attempting to write the correct Hanzi, but now I understand the reasoning behind it and it makes much more sense.
Coming back from that rabbit trail, the speaking test also felt like it went quite well. The hardest part was actually reading broken up bits of pinyin! If it's a full 'word' then I am fine, but I always forget when I have to read the most foundation pieces, and so I mispronounced the 'un' I had to read. The two topics I had to talk about were 'My family' and 'My school'. It's hard to know how I did as I'm not really sure of the criteria by which she grades it, but comparing myself to what I heard others saying I think I was of a similar standard.
Finally, our reading/writing exam will be on the 9th of next month. It covers the first 14 chapters of the book we are using, which are mostly Hanzi I know fairly well. There are 5 sections, each worth 20 points. I can't remember them all, but there is one where we are given a single Hanzi and we have to make a word using it, then use that word to write a sentence of at least 10 Hanzi. One section with 20 Hanzi, we write the pinyin, another section which is the opposite. One section is a passage that we have to answer some questions on. The fifth section I have forgotten, but there's nothing on there that seems really difficult or far from the kind of exercises we have been doing in the book.
Well, that's it for this week. Until next week!