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heifeng

Chinese Exams

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heifeng

Maybe there are other threads, but I thought I would try to list various Chinese Exams offered here in China. Since the Advanced HSK is changing next year, I know I am probably not going to 'relearn' how to take the exam, when I can just learn how to take other exams (well actually I mean focus on continuing to challeng myself and learning Chinese, not just learning 'how to take the exam' of course). In my quest to find some other exam prep materials and ways to torture myself to make sure I don't get too comfortable with my current language level, I have come across the following links. Feel free to add other exams and usually exam oriented links.

HSK & C.TEST

(our old favorite, right)

BCT

(The good ole 'Bussiness' Chinese Test hehe...yes I know how to spell business...the just don't)

PUTONGHUA CESHI 一、接受普通话水平测试报名的人员为: 7. 自愿申请接受测试社会其他人员。

Here's an exam to test how standard one's putonghua really is! Stop getting judge in comparison to other foreign student, now get results based on CHINESE Chinese speakers. (My Japanese friend is suppose to take this exam this month, she has a 9 on the HSK and is a little shy when it comes to speaking. She had great tones and 'generally' good pronounciation, but because of the shyness isn't a big 'talker'. I'll update the board if I ever find out a devious way to make her tell me what her results are once she receives them....I recently bought some books on preparing for this exam and it has from very nice langdu (MP3 here for this book 普通话测试辅导与训练, isbn 7-301-11079-0 北京大学出版社.

)...which you can also find online...

another useful link

CATTI

China Accreditation Test for Translators and Interpreters

The nice thing is that this website also lists training centers too...

Anyway, hope someone find this information helpful:mrgreen:

Edited by heifeng
fixed broken link
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simonlaing

Hi Heifeng,

Thanks for the summary. I was wondering if you knew anyone who had taken the tests other than the HSK.

I also read an article that some finance companies managers were prevented from getting the top positions because they could pass the chinese test. I am thinking it was probably the BCT.

Also I am interested in the translator/ interpretor test do you know how hard it is ? Is the test they give to the Chinese interpretors the same as the Westerners. I also heard only the top 2% pass it or something strange like that.

Thanks,

have fun,

Simon:)

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heifeng

Oh yeah, I also found this website

I also read an article that some finance companies managers were prevented from getting the top positions because they could pass the chinese test. I am thinking it was probably the BCT.

Wait, was it because they could or couldn't pass it?

I was wondering if you knew anyone who had taken the tests other than the HSK.

To be honest, I am not really familiar with any of these non HSK tests yet or aware of others who have taken them ( I did take the C.Test though)~ I just started looking at some other 'options' to torture myself. I am thinking of just randomly visiting some training centers one day to understand a bit more. It's interesting because for one of the translation training schools they listed student's course scores online...it definitely didn't look like everyone was passing.

Oh yeah, but my friend is taking the putonghua ceshi the end of this month....other than her I don't know anyone else who has taking the exams I have listed here.

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heifeng
Also I am interested in the translator/ interpretor test do you know how hard it is ? Is the test they give to the Chinese interpretors the same as the Westerners. I also heard only the top 2% pass it or something strange like that.

Hi, yeah apparently it's under 10%.

There were a series of free lectures here offered over the weekend, and I believe they also have some open lectures this Saturday morning as well.

Also, in regard to the CATTI, it is the same test for foreigners and Chinese, with both the 综合(English Comprehension) and 实力(translation) sections as far as I know. Also, you can register at the above school or online. I asked about any special permission to register and the office checked for me and just said I would need my passport...

Anyway, in regard the the Putonghua exam, my friend's score isn't out yet, but she said it was quite interesting because the exam itself is under 20 minutes and you alone sit in a room with a microphone (connected to a tape recorder or something) PLUS there are too kaoguan sitting in front of you scoring you. Slightly nerve wracking I suppose and definitely different fromt the HSK... [Also for reference among the foreigners that she knows, the highest score was from a Korean student who has lived in China since he was 8 and scored in the upper range of the 2nd bracket, basically b/t 87-92 points....]

ok, I will keep updates coming on any interesting information I find out.

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heifeng

To those interested, here is my My follow up on this thread.

So I said I would report with my classmates' score on her 普通话测试. She obtained an 80.7, which according to this site says:

乙等 朗读和自由交谈时,个别调值不准,声韵母发音有不到位现象。难点音较多(平翘舌音、前后鼻尾音、边鼻音、fu - hu 、 z - zh -j 、送气不送气、i- ü 不分、保留浊塞音、浊塞擦音、丢介音、复韵母单音化等),失误较多。方言语调不明显,有使用方言词、方言语法的情况。测试总失分率在20%以内。

This actually sounds about right to describe her b/c she does have some common pronunciation problems that Japanese students tend to have (especially -n vs -ng). But, besides this her tones are very good and her general language ability is quite high. On the HSK I think she generally scores a high 9 on the speaking section.

I will probably take this exam with her early next year or maybe by the end of this year so that I can continue to diagnose pronunciation problems.

-----

In other news I have signed up to take the CATTI this November and will see if I fall into the passing 10% or non-passing 90%. I am taking the 英文口译三级 exam which is easier than the level 2 exam in content (it has less formal/official content and passages are shorter). I am currently taking a weekend training cram course with Chinese students and here are my following impressions so far...

1) Some Chinese students in my class may not be great in terms of day to day English conversation (it's much more efficient for us to chat in Hanyu), but due to all of their vocab memorizing drills, they are really quite good at pulling out MANY MANY english words from their memory when it comes to interpreting. (Most of them are not English majors and the age range is 20-40, but most students are in their mid 20's.) Thus I think that as western students many of us need to practice enhancing our vocabularies over a broad range of subject matter. This is something that all my classmates have in common, no matter how well they are able to actually speak, they all have very extensive vocabularies in English. (according to my teachers read read read newspapers and retain all that vocab!)

2) I think that the 实力 portion of the exam is fair in difficulty for both Chinese and English speaking students for the following reasons.

A) For example, even though I can translate into English and make it sound 'good' I am not really at any extra advantage because you need to have pretty decent Chinese listening comprehension to be able to accurately interpret anyway. The same goes for the Chinese students with their English => Chinese skills. My impression from the class I am in is that my general Chinese listening comprehension is better than their English, (For E=>C we generally have to resort to looking at handouts a bit more than JUST listening to broadcasts). However, I feel my Eng=> Chinese pace isn't as good as my classmates Chinese=>English. So, in a way we are all in the same boat . The only slight issue is that b/c the class is designed for Chinese students when we translate into English the teacher doesn't really bother to explain the Chinese and focuses more on how to properly organize the English translation. (This is ok for me though b/c it really tests my listening comprehension, so I am still thinking about the Chinese while the other students are thinking about the English, so no big deal I suppose). Likewise when I listen to the English and translate into Chinese the teacher focuses a bit more on the English meaning/comprehension. This is slightly more of a problem for me since I need to take more detailed notes on how something should be formally expressed in Chinese, but this is where you learn to make friends quick and help each other out or the boat will definitely sink.

3) Memory. A major part of this exam also lies on your ability to remember and NOTE take. I am sure we all have experienced listening to something in Chinese, and we are convinced that we understand it, but then we forget it and are completely unable to repeat it. ( one teacher said a professional interpreter should be able to remember 5 minutes worth of speaking) Well, this is a major obstacle that needs to be conquered for this exam (but not 5 whole minutes....not yet ehhe). here are the exercises we use:

A) you need to learn how to note take, using the most efficient method ( including whatever language works for you and 符号). Now when I watch Chinese TV I just look at my notebook and take notes and see if I can 复述what was just reported.

B) Main points. don't focus on the words but the ideas since that is what you will have to translate. Also get the correct numbers down (we do alot of number exercises...no more...ahh..oh 千万, no no no I mean 亿type pauses are unacceptable)

B) Pace: My teachers told me to echo chinese TV programs and say what they say right after they say it to build up my speaking speed, rhythm, and sound more like a native speaker.

C) Repeat. You'll need to record yourself speaking quite a lot. Cringe inducing, yes, but very helpful. (besides we should be use to doing this if we've taken the HSK, no?)

Overall: I am enjoying my class quite a bit, although it is quite intense 14 hrs on the weekends. However I have to spend quite a bit of time studying on my own, which is a critical part of studying for this exam too. Many things that I know how to translate when I 'see' them in Chinese into English due to my experience doing translation work still cause me to draw a blank when I need to interpret into Chinese quickly, especially standing infront of a classroom with students when we do speech translation exercises. Although I have experience in some interpreting work, it is limited to a range of subject matter and only in a small (friendly~ usually hehe) meeting setting. Thus I cannot emphasize enough building up your vocab and reading a newspaper and practice practice practice. Interpret and 复述in front of your TV/radio no matter how much it freaks out your roommate I suppose.

Even if I don't actually pass the exam, so far the good news is that after studying for the CATTI for a bit the HSK advanced listening has suddenly become quite simple! (knock on wood) I think I just throw out my HSK 听力强化书now...:mrgreen:

Anyway I hope this proves somewhat interesting to those who have considered studying for any exams to stay outta a Chinese rut...:mrgreen:

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simonlaing

Thanks Heifeng,

Your post was informative and interesting . Keep us updated on how you do on the test and how it goes ok? Also can you only take this test in Beijing or would Shanghai or Nanjing have these classes and test too do you think?

Thanks again,

have fun,

Simon:)

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trufflepig

Great info. Cheers.

Another thing you might want to consider if its adding strings to your bow is getting NAATI qualified. Naati is the standard for australian and new zealand interpreters.

There's different levels of qualification, both translator and interpreter tests and i think from memory you can take the test twice a year at the Oz consulate in shanghai. (if youre in australia or nz you can sit the tests i think twice a year with everyone or pay more and arrange a test for whenever you want). And while many western companies respond to the HSK as the HS-what? they nod their heads when you have foreign qualification - sad fact and not always universal of course but often true.

Naati is the minimum standard for working in the public sector in australia and australian offices overseas.

I bought a test kit years ago which i think have with me somewhere - if someone can tell me how to put cassette onto MP3 - i can upload the files to rapidshare.com or somewhere and post the link.

Beware you have to pass an ethics test too :(

more info http://www.naati.com.au/

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heifeng

(thanks for the link above)

-----

So recently while studying for the above exam, i've discovered some general studying tips that (~I~ think) are quite helpful/challenging, so I thought I would share them:

My friend and I (the one I mentioned above who is also going to take the Japanese translation exam next year) meet up as much as possible, buy a newspaper and read to each other paragraph by paragraph, sometimes taking notes sometimes trying to memorize. Basically, we are trying to improve our pronunciation, vocab, langdu, listening comprehension, memory, note taking, and repeating (in Chinese) skills. Here is what we have learned:

1) Reading something in the newspaper by yourself can be relatively easy, but listening to someone else reading you an article (especially an article out of your 'area of familiarity' ) plus you being able to accurately and formally relay the main ideas plus important details can be quite difficult. Plus you really discover how well you can understand someone else's Chinese, and how well they understand yours once you shift gears from everyday convesation type topics... Also this helps to diagnose each other's pronunciation problems....either that you both just get sucked into the same pronunciation problems i guess hehe

2) You really remember the new words you hear this way b/c it will irritate the heck outta you that you don't know what that word means when you hear it. It's helpful to keep a newspaper scrapbook. You can always highlight those words so that they stare back at you from your scrapbook.

3) You'll discover that sometimes more of the words you try to memorize the less you remember of the complete article` yet, when you try to relay just the meaning you may discover your Chinese seems quite unformal. Also you may find you remember the first sentence or two find...by the 5th your a bit hazy, and by the end you have no clue what you heard anymore...sigh. My impression is this is still a case of too much vocab being "生" so you hear it and 'get it', but still forget it, or you try to repeat it and suddenly it's overly simplified. So vocab acquisition, practice using it==very very important!

Anyway, this was method one, and more challenging and more effective for retaining new vocab than just going through a newspaper by yourself. (But you probably want to reread all the articles AFTERWARDS to see how much you really 'missed' when having it read to you, and look up any additional words...

--------------------

method 2:

If you have the 听力强化 tapes for the advanced HSK (or event the chuzhong level I suppose) you can just listen to the tapes and memorize and take notes WITHOUT looking at the text book with the ABCD possible answers., then stilll try to answer the questions they ask you afterwards in your own words and give a summary of what you just heard. If you have another tape, you can also record yourself giving the summary and since you should have the text of everything that is one the tape you can easily refer back to it and compare. However, I suggest listening the the SECTION II of the 听力 exam portion since these passages are usually longer, and are usually reports or interviews. (The first section just tends to be shorter dialogues.) Anyway, this way you don't just have a bunch of tapes and books that you never use anymore...

Anyway, cheap, challenging studying methods.:mrgreen:

Of course, if anyone else has suggestions, or would like to share any such experiencese, these would very much be appreciated too.

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heifeng

So, this is more information, that may or may not be useful.. (if no one ever reads this thread at least it serves as a bookmark of useful links to me :mrgreen:)

However if you specifically want to improve your Putonghua, you can look here, www.bjradio.com.cn or specifically this link here. They have a training center and apparently do accent correction...etc etc. It was the info that I received from the putonghua office i talk about below:

And if you want to get yelled by a mean chinese lady, but in the process get a free Putonghua evaluation (depending on how slick you are) call this number: 首师大测试站电话:68903424 68902814

To make a long story short I wanted to inquire about this whole exam since I might take it next year and need to actually start preparing. My personal goal is just ultimately score in the solid 80's after I work on my tones more, etc etc...,which according to this would be"中小学及幼儿园、校外教育单位的教师,普通话水平不低于二级乙等(80分),其中语文教师不低于二级甲等(87分)。"

So anyway I call and ask about the exam. Immediaty the lady says you won't pass the exam you would only get a score of 70 something and asks if I'm from Xinjiang. OMG! I actually don't mind getting some really direct criticism (since my other teacher gives it to me all the time anyway, and given my totaly disregard for tones lately, in comparison to my friend who had the 80.7, this sounds about right) but I then had to explain, yes I KNOW I wouldn't 'pass it' and I am trying to find some Putonghua resources (I also want to学好普通话,让普通话伴我天下行嘿嘿嘿), hence I am calling your office. . :mrgreen: Anyway, the whole conversation was quite funny I suppose in a 哭笑不得 kind of way...but after a diaperless baby peed on my shoe on the bus today I think I'm leaning more towards 哭 :oops:

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roddy

I'm definitely reading it, and wish you the best of luck!

I'm not sure if it's that training center or another, but there's one somewhere in Beijing where apparently all TV presenters have to go every year or so to get tested. Could be that one, or it might be at the TV and Film Uni at Jimenqiao, i forget.

Now go clean your shoe, stinkfoot.

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heifeng

Apparently according to 中药 baby pee is suppose to have some type of medicinal value...I don't it will cure me of tone dimentia and xinjiang accentitus but we'll see :mrgreen:

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imron

Yep I read them as well. Always good to know what's out there if I ever get around to finding the time to study.

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roddy
this book 普通话测试辅导与训练, isbn 7-301-11079-0 北京大学出版社.

Picked this up on your recommendation as I need a bunch of pronunciation exercises. Seems very good, lots of . . . well, pronunciation exercises. Pinyin for most, but not all. Came with 4 cds, almost three hours worth. Not bad for 30Y. I'd probably recommend BLCU's 汉语语音教程 over this as that's geared up to foreign learners rather than people from '方言区' like this, but it does have better quality audio and the info on the problems people with different dialects have is kind of interesting.

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heifeng

Yeah! Roddy jumped on the 'torture myself with pronunciation practices' train. The only bad thing about that book is the cd's don't cover the langdu, so you can download them from this link

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roddy

They don't? That might be a problem if I ever open the book. Thanks for the tip.

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heifeng

Ok, I finally found this link where I recommended another book. Anyway, this is another pronunciation book that comes with tapes, (not part of the 12.50 yuan though) and is used at some schools to help 纠正发音

Does the book you refer to address foreign students from many backgrounds and have langdu passages? I found that some books, for example the HSK 前强化-口式(高等)tends to address Japanese and Korean pronunciation problems, but that was it. Overall, I have never seen any advice I have received from teachers in pronunciation textbooks. However, I have had some great teachers with very good experience that could point out the 'western' students pronunciation problems right away. (Aside from tones it was usually an issue of speaking too much from our throats and not letting the sounds really come out form the front of our mouths... etc.). Many of my teachers definitely recommend reading outloud.

Oh, yeah FYI during the putonghua exam, my friend was able to randomly draw two langdu readings, and then from the two, pick which one she wanted to do. (She avoided number 7 or something, whichever one it was with alot of numbers).

Secondly, her exam didn't include that one 'optional' section for fangyan speakers.

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cdn_in_bj

Sorry to jump in here, but why is it called "langdu"?

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roddy

I think it mentions western students, Japanese, Korean, and Thai. It doesn't go into a great deal of detail though, it's more just a case of 'students from country X may have trouble with sound A. So be careful.'

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imron
Sorry to jump in here, but why is it called "langdu"?
[pop=read aloud/lǎngdú]朗读[/pop]

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