Last week was our speaking and listening midterms, and on Thursday we have our reading/writing exam. We also had another comprehensive exam (our teacher is giving us 3 to make up our midterm, one on each of the 4 chapter units that make up our book). The comprehensive seemed to go quite well, although there were less questions, so mistakes will be more punishing than usual. I was pleased to see that there was also more extra content than usual, and so I felt like the extra study I do by myself is really paying off. One set of questions had us complete sentences using whatever word appeared in brackets, and 除非 showed up, which we have never studied before. Thankfully I've looked at this in my own time and so had no issues with it.
Speaking went really well. Our midterm is a spoken test, which to me is what one would expect in a SPEAKING exam, yet isn't the case for our final. We had to read a short passage, read a list of pinyin words, and then talk about whatever topic was on the test paper we randomly picked. I actually wasn't thrilled with my topic - a friend takes you to the airport as you are flying home, what would you say to them? It had to be at least 10 sentences, so it wasn't overly difficult for our level, but I just found the topic a bit strange. Again here I felt the advantage of living off campus and using Chinese everyday, and so being able to diverge a little bit from the standard book answer. Most of the other students live on campus, and they have lots of friends from their own nations, and therefore only really speak Chinese in class for now.
Listening was so-so. The final 20 questions were all comparing the written pinyin + tones to the audio and saying whether it was the same or not. This is my least favourite thing about listening. I find I can usually understand the stuff at our level without too many issues, but I really, really struggle with distinguishing tones. Thankfully I think this will be the last time that we have to do that, as these questions seem to fizzle out of our listening book now. That being said, they are replaced with having to mark the tones on words in the middle of sentences, and I don't think I'm going to find that much easier!
Regarding my progress at this point, some days I feel really encouraged, and yet at other times I feel hugely discouraged. We had some Chinese friends round last night and I was shocked at how much I understood and was able to communicate, for the first time I really felt like I have made a huge jump. Then earlier on the bus a lady didn't understand when I was saying 'I'm a student here'! So lots of ups and downs, but generally I'm feeling really good and excited to push more and more!